SEO Industry Takes A(nother) Stab At Deciphering SEO Ranking Factors

More than 130 search engine optimizers around the world have shared their opinions on the most important (and least important) factors that influence natural search engine rankings. Those opinions are included in SEOmoz’s just-published 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors survey.


Due to changes in how SEOmoz conducted the survey and presents the results, it’s quite difficult to compare this year’s results to the last survey in 2009. Some of the factors that survey participants deem to be highly influential in current search algorithms are:

  • keyword is the exact-match root domain
  • keyword present in the title element/tag
  • uniqueness of the content on the page
  • uniqueness of content across the whole site
  • search volume for the brand/domain
  • authority of users tweeting links to a page
  • quantity of unique domains linking to the domain
  • CTR from Google to the page for the keyword
  • quantity of unique linking domains that contain a link employing keyword as the exact anchor text

That’s by no means a list of the primary ranking factors; rather, it’s a list of the most-cited factors in each category of this year’s survey. Readers should not look at the list above and assume that each of the factors there are more important than factors not shown above.

In fact, before diving into the survey, you should probably read Rand Fishkin’s introductory blog post that explains how the survey was put together this year and the additional data that’s available (such as predictions on a variety of SEO factors).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention two other recent publications on the topic of SEO factors:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | SEO: General | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Nancy E. Wigal

    Thanks for posting this. It certainly appears that the Google Panda change has indeed impacted content. And you make a good point to not take this as gospel truth. However, it’s interesting to analyze pages and sites against this quick list to see how they compare to the bullet list, however roughly.

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