How Search Engine Ranking Factors Have Changed Over Time – 2009-2011 Comparison


Sasha Hanau

Technical SEO

I spotted this presentation from Rand Fishkin (the CEO & Co-Founder of the web’s most popular SEO Software provider; SEOmoz) which looks at how the SEO industry believes the weighting of various factors for rankings have changed since 2009. I thought we should post it here as it is a hugely valuable resource for both search marketing agencies and in-house search marketers. Have a read to find out what the SEO professionals think positively impacts your search engine rankings (SERP positions).

SEOMoz asked 132 SEO experts for their comments and also analysed correlation data from tens of thousands of Adwords keywords. One should note that no one can say for certain how Google’s algorithm works but the people contributing to this research are likely to really know their stuff and have their finger on the pulse with changes.

It’s an excellent presentation and worth reading. In an industry that is constantly changing it is essential we keep up to date with best practice and learn from other’s experience. It should be noted that the data is ‘preliminary’ and unfiltered however it poses some very interesting questions, for example:

  • Do no-follow links actually have an impact your rankings?
  • Could focusing on building on follow links only have a detrimental impact on your site’s rankings?
  • Does more detailed content (i.e. long documents) rank better than shorter docs? What about blogging?
  • Are links still more important to rankings than keyword based on-page factors?
  • Does having keywords at the top of a page or document make an impact on rankings?
  • Does social media play a role in rankings?
  • Should I be tweeting or sharing – which is more influential Facebook or Twitter?

If for any reason you can’t read the whole thing (it does take a bit of time and brain power) make sure to check out the overview (slide 49). (I thoroughly recommend reading the entire presentation though).

Thanks to SEOMoz and Rand Fishkin for a great piece of research.
You can download the presentation by clicking here.