• http://www.mblair.net/ mblair

    Kudos for SEOmoz. I enjoyed the original compilation and this one improves upon it significantly. These kinds of team efforts are exactly what the community needs more of.

  • CaptainObvious

    Great post and a good synopsis of primary strategies.

  • http://www.fortuneinteractive.com SEMLogic

    This is a very good compilation of SEO factor best practices from professionals in the community. I especially like the Easy-Medium-Hard breakdown. This is obviously the kind of information that is very important for SEO professionals to convey to clients. It’s great that you’ve pulled this all together in one place like this. Great work!

    “Best practices” lists and rules of thumb can be very useful. In my research, I’ve found that the influence of these various on-page and off-page factors varies from landscape to landscape. (A landscape is comprised of the competitors returned for a specific search query in a specific search engine.)

    Because search engines grade on a curve, which factors win the day can vary quite a bit. I have often found landscapes in which even the top ranked pages are abysmal even in the basics. If search engines used an absolute grading scale, the first page of results should be empty in such cases because no one made the grade.

    The goal is to be the curve buster by majoring in the majors not in the minors. What determines whether a particular factor is a major or minor is that landscape. In other words, what weighting there is among the “Top 10 Positive Factors” (and others) for that landscape tells you what you need to major in to do well for a particular keyphrase. It is not always going to be the same from keyphrase to keyphrase. Having that information enables you to better prioritize your efforts and spend less time guessing.

    That’s the essence of SEO Competitive Intelligence. That is the next important step beyond knowing the top positive factors.

  • http://blog.outer-court.com Philipp Lenssen

    I think the backlinks text depends a lot on your site name, as well as the title tag… it’s very much interrelated. If your site is called “Foo Bar” then a lot of people will use “foo” or “bar” or “foo bar” as anchor text when talking about your site. And if your RSS item title is “Foo” then a lot of automated tools will use this as anchor text. A strong related domain name, say FooBar.com, goes a long way as well in helping the relevant anchor text.

    In the end, creating accessible HTML the way it’s meant to be, and putting up interesting content — all SEO aside — is enough, and then you can let the web & the search engines do their magic based on that. And what else does “link popularity” mean but “people think your content is interesting”?

  • Steve Amundsen

    Thanks, Danny, for bringing attention to the SEO ranking basics that SEOmoz posted. I read with much interest the comments by the various submitters on what they think is the most important factor for high rankings in the search engines.

    I found it very interesting that even among these “experts” there seems to be a wide variation of what “works”. What was missing from this analysis IMHO, is that a website is not competing for rankings from the search engines themselves, but from the actual SERPs. Good, solid, competitive SEO intelligence applied is the real key. Sure, a lot of factors are analyzed and weighted, but the bottom line is we just have to be a little better than the website we are trying to outrank. Bruce Clay has said it best: “The least imperfect wins.” That means that if we are doing a lot of the “important” things better than our competitors, we win. It is a simple mantra, and I have seen it work many times for my clients.

    To suggest that the very most important thing for obtaining high rankings is the keyword in the title is a gross generalization. Case in point: search in Google for “SEO Blogs”. The second, fourth, fifth and eighth ranked sites don’t have that keyword in their titles. A quick search on “search engine optimization tools” also reveals that the only site that has that keyword in the title is the number one ranked site. And these sites are built by the “experts”.

    Is having the keyword in the title important? Yes. Is having the keyword in meta tags, H tags, and in well-written content important? Yes. Does Google look at and index keywords in assigning relevance? Yes. Are keyword backlinks from relevant sites important? Yes. What is really the most important? A website that converts. Good SEO cannot exist in a vacuum of ranking factors. If we are really doing a professional service for our clients then we cannot forget that the “bottom line” justifies our fees and makes our clients happy.

  • http://www.phatz.com christian griffith

    Am I a conspiracy theorist?

    I can’t help but believe that with all the human intelligence under the hood at Google, these basics are continually monitored and consistent patterns acted upon.

    Certain industries must be noted:

    Thinking of industries such mortgage companies, I believe the benefits of ‘domain legacy’ would far outweigh those of simple title element (the correct terminology for what everyone is calling ‘title tag’) manipulation. Furthermore, I have to wonder if industries with a history of implementing spammy techniques are more carefully scrutinized by the search engines.

    It would certainly make sense.

    This would then lead to the idea that ranking algorithms could possibly be dynamic depending on the content focus of the site. This dynamic element could be based on a variety of possible factors…

    The funny thing is, SEOmoz’s post, while very good, is geared toward beginners who most likely have a new, or newer, site and thus won’t benefit from many of the concepts for a decent amount of time anyway.

    I can’t help but think that we are so busy trying to build our link base, authority and content archives for our own sites and status that we forget to break new ground in discussion – instead we hash out and repeat the same old concepts time and time again.

    the disease of the “top ten…”

    …I’m guilty of it too.