Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Search Ranking Factors Study from Moz Confirms the Importance of Quality Links

Moz, the SEO software company, recently published its biannual study on search: The 2015 Search Ranking Factors.

The study rates over 90 Google search ranking factors. It is based on two resources:

1. The opinions of industry experts--over 150, according to Moz.

2. And an "extensive correlation study" to determine the website elements most often associated with high rankings.

To "enhance the study" with even more data, Moz partnered with SimilarWeb, DomainTools, and Ahrefs.

The study provides a helpful tool for SEO specialists and online business owners alike--if only to reinforce the information we've expressed over the years here on the Organic SEO Blog.

Unfortunately, Moz offers tons of data to scrutinize--much of it replete with SEO jargon. For the layman, the study itself might seem inscrutable.

The simple interpretation of the data is that inbound links are the primary ranking determinant for Google. But remember, "link building," as Google has said before, might not be the best way to "earn" links. As we've said before, "Don't just build links--inspire links."

How do you earn links? Take the "natural" approach of organic SEO.

Build an appealing website with engaging content. Of course, remember the distinction between good and bad links. And definitely do not focus on link building to the detriment of creating great content.

Beyond links, keywords still play an important role, helping the Google discover, as Moz puts it, "content relevance" and "on-page optimization of keyword usage." The key to keywords, so to speak, is using them judiciously with a focus on poignancy. Keywords count--but only when they're used in the right way.

We're reminded of the famous quote of Raymond Carver:

"That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say."

Raymond Carver: his quote is a good lesson for any writer, and especially those writing content for websites.
A surprise from the Moz study is the relatively low value of "social metrics" although it is important to remember just how many links social media generate.

For more, check out the study itself. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. And here is the infographic summary of the results:

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