Back in 2007 we featured a list of the most important ranking factors for Google’s search algorithm. Six years on, some things are still just as important as they were back when Google started off – links, title text, good content – however, a lot else has changed when it comes to ranking organically on Google.
Moz, formerly SEOMoz, undertake a study of Google’s most important ranking factors for websites every 2 years and recently published their 2012 report. The survey includes a study of the correlation between ranking and various website aspects and a collection of the opinions of SEO professionals. In the 2013 survey they spoke with 120 professionals and used their views in the study. So let’s take a look at the most influential ranking factors in 2013.
1. Page Authority
Page authority represents the perceived importance of a page based on the number and quality of links that point to it. A web page’s authority is perhaps one of the most important factors that determines its ability to rank well on Google’s organic search results. This should not be confused with domain authority, as this is simply based on a single page’s link profile and not that of it’s parent domain.
2. Anchor Text
Despite Google’s update being designed to penalise the use of exact match keywords as anchor text, use of exact and partial match keywords as anchor text still holds power within Google’s algorithm. The SEO professionals believed that having a good mix of branded and non-branded keywords was more important than having a vast number of links.
3. On Page Keyword Optimisation
Optimisation of a website’s meta data still holds a high influence over ranking in Google’s algorithm. Therefore you should be using your keywords in your meta data and in particular your title tag, which is also key to the user experience.
4. Exact Match Domains
In the past year, as a part of their numerous Panda and Penguin updates, Google began to devalue exact match domains. This meant that many sites who had purchased domains containing the keywords they wanted to rank for saw a fall in their keyword rankings. However research has shown that the exact match domains, and to a lesser extent partial match domains, still hold power with Google.
5. Social Media Interactions
The power of social sharing as an influencing factor on ranking is growing, meaning that the the virality and shareability of content is more important than ever. +1’s on Google+ are the most influential, closely followed by Facebook shares. The least influential social share comes in the form of a tweet.