SEOmoz has an excellent poll on search engine ranking factors. The poll includes a host of well-known, and some not-so-well-known, SEO experts. And, no, I’m not one of them.
The contributors were asked to determine whether certain criteria are important for ranking purposes at the search engines. It’s worth studying. I highly recommend that you take some time to look the list over. The macro-topics include:
- Keyword Use Factors
- Page Attributes
- Site/Domain Attributes
- Inbound Link Attributes
- Negative Crawling/Ranking Attributes
Within each of these general topics, experts were asked to judge the weight of more specific questions such as whether keyword usage within the title tag is a heavily weighted factor. In all, there are 53 out of the hundreds of criteria that could be judged on the list of topics discussed by the panel. What were the top 10 positive factors that affect search engine rankings?
- Keyword use in title tag
- Anchor text of inbound links
- Global link popularity of website
- Website’s age
- Link popularity within the site’s internal link structure
- Topical relevance of site’s inbound links
- Link popularity of the website within its topical community
- Keyword use within body text
- Global link popularity of the site linking into your website
- Rate of inbound links to the site
I wouldn’t take this list as gospel. Some of these are questionable. The method itself is questionable. SEOmoz arrives at its conclusions by giving weight to each panelists opinion and aggregating them. In other words, there was some variance of opinion as to which factors were most important and the level of importance of those factors deemed important. But it does serve as a great introduction for new webmasters and a solid reminder to veteran webmasters as to what factors you should pay attention to when building your website. Of course, some of this is out of your control as webmaster but if you focus on those factors that are within your control then you can somehow affect your ranking either directly or indirectly depending on the tools you use.
SEOmoz also includes a measure of how variant the views are. In other words, if there is a high degree of differences of opinion on a particular factor, that is noted. That’s why I like the panel’s observations. While it is somewhat flawed, it does offer some great food for thought. I will end this post with the list of top 5 negative factors influencing your site (according to the panel):
- Server is often inaccessible to bots
- Content similar or duplicates existing content in the index
- Site links to low quality and spam sites
- Duplicate title and meta tags on several website pages
- Keyword overuse – called stuffing or spamming
Well, I’ll have to say I agree with that list entirely. I wish you lots of luck in your web building.