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BizReport : Search Marketing : April 04, 2007

Top 10 SEO ranking factors

SEOmoz have just released version two of their Search Engine Ranking Factors Guide. A panel of thirty-six search industry experts contributed to this year’s study in which they voted, and commented, on various ranking factors that make up Google’s ranking algorithm.

by Helen Leggatt

The guide lists what the panelists voted the top 10 most positive and controversial search engine ranking factors, plus a list of 5 negatives. Positive factors remain largely the same as SEOMoz's 2005 study, with “keyword use in title tag” remaining the most important factor.

A new factor appearing within the top 10 of positives is “age”. There has been some controversy over whether age plays a part in the ranking of a website and the study would suggest that it certainly does. Lucas Ng, a study panel member and online marketing analyst at Fairfax Digital, said, “Old sites with ye olde registrar are tremendously respected by Google,” whereas other panelists, such as Ben Pfeiffer and Michael Gray, felt that it was the age of links that was important.

Second on the list of positives is “Global Link Popularity”, which appeared at number 9 in 2005’s report. Sites of reputed authority, such as Wikipedia, continue to benefit from the associated link popularity, or as some prefer to call it, link authority.

The top 10 positive factors were as follows:

1. Keyword Use in Title Tag
2. Global Link Popularity of Site
3. Anchor Text of Inbound Link
4. Link Popularity within the Site's Internal Link Structure
5. Age of Site
6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site
7. Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community
8. Keyword Use in Body Text
9. Global Link Popularity of Linking Site
10.Topical Relationship of Linking Page

Five negatives were also presented:

1. Server is Often Inaccessible to Bots
2. Content Very Similar or Duplicate of Existing Content in the Index
3. External Links to Low Quality/Spam Sites
4. Participation in Link Schemes or Actively Selling Links
5. Duplicate Title/Meta Tags on Many Pages

The full results of the SEOmoz report can be read online, it is highly recommended for anyone trying to understand the factors affecting search engine ranking. The expandable lists of comments by experts in the SEO world, such as Aaron Wall from SEO Book, Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land and Mike McDonald from Web Pro News, make interesting additional reading.

Tags: search engine ranking, search engines, SEO, SERFs

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