The Most Relevant Search Engine Factors for 2011
The indicators used by search engines in order to rank web pages’ popularity and relevancy are constantly changing. Factors such as exact match domain and links using the keyword as exact anchor text were essential a couple years ago; now they are still very powerful but their importance has decreased.
According to a study carried out by Seomoz, the most relevant Search Engine Factors for 2011 are:
1. Page Level Link Metrics. It is still the major factor but has decreased in value since 2009. However, Page Authority influence remains high. The biggest surprise is that links with partial anchor text are becoming more relevant that exact match anchor text links. According to the study, no follow links are also important for SEO purposes.
3. Page Level Keyword Usage. Including your target keyword or key phrase in the first words of your main content body and repeat them with moderation has a positive correlation with good Google rankings for the given keyword. However, keywords are in general less influential than links. Content is still king and sites with more content tend to rank better, while long titles and URLs are likely to be bad for SEO.
2. Domain Level Authority Features. Linking root domains using partial anchor text has positive correlation with good SEO results. Linking root domains seems slightly more influential than linking specific pages.
4. Domain Level Keyword Usage. It has been a significant drop in the importance placed on both, keywords used in the root or sub-domain name and exact-match domains. However these factors are still powerful.
5. Page Level Social Metrics. The number of Facebook shares is becoming more relevant and the experts suggest that there is a correlation between this factor and the Google ranking. Actually Facebook shares seem to be more influential than Facebook likes. Rand Fishkin, Seomoz CEO, believes the correlation between social metrics and Google ranking requires in-depth analysis and further testing.
6. Domain Level Brand Metrics. The most important factors are Search Volume for the Brand, Quantity of Mentions for the Brand on News Sites, Mentions of Brand on Social Sites.
7. Page Level Keyword Agnostic Features. These elements describe non-keyword-usage, non-link metrics features such as length of the page, load speed, etc. Long URLs, long titles, hyphens in the URL and slow website loading are considered negative factors.
8. Page Level Traffic/ Query Data. The most important factors are CTR from Google and Bounce Rate. A high bounce rate indicates a poor user experience and lack of quality of the web-pages.
9. Domain Level Agnostic Features. The most influential factors are the Uniqueness and Freshness of Content across the website and Bounce Rate for the site.
Five things that you must avoid
1. Getting links from site hosting malware.
2. Over-optimize your website.
3. A high percentage of inbound links using keyword rich anchor text. It is healthy to use your company name in the anchor text.
4. Getting links from banned sites.
5. Using long domain names, URLs and titles because all these factor have negative correlation with search engine rankings.
I just want to remain you that this data is the result of analysing and comparing the opinions of 132 SEO experts around the world with correlation data from over 10,000 results in Google. It would be interesting to know Matt Cutts’s view on this report.
It seems that Google in their attempt to improve users’ experience is given added value to websites that are perceived relevant to users. That is why factors such as bounce rate and CTR are becoming essential.