October 16, 2013

What goes into Google’s search rankings recipe?

Above is how Google’s overall algorithm breaks down in a study by Moz.

We break down the factors that Google gives the most weight to

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists. This article originally appeared at Moz and is republished with permission.

By Matt Peters
Chief Data Scientist, Moz

matt-petersEvery two years, the SEO site Moz runs a Ranking Factors study to determine which attributes of pages and sites have the strongest association with ranking highly in Google. The study consists of two parts: a survey of professional SEOs and a large correlation study.

According to our survey respondents, here is how Google’s overall algorithm breaks down — see the chart above. We see:

  • Links are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm (approximately 40%).
  • Keyword usage on the page is still fundamental, and other than links is thought to be the most important type of factor.
  • SEOs do not think social factors are important in the 2013 algorithm (only 7%), in contrast to the high correlation I’ll outline below.

Page Authority, social signals correlate strongly with higher rankings

We’ll dive into the data in a minute, but here are five key conclusions:

  1. Page Authority correlates higher than any other metric we measured.
  2. Social signals, especially Google +1s and Facebook shares, are highly correlated.
  3. Despite Google’s Penguin release, anchor text correlations remain as strong as ever.
  4. New correlations were measured for schema.org and structured data usage.
  5. More data was collected on external links, keywords, and exact match domains.

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