Moz, a leading resource when it comes to all things SEO, released their biennial Search Engine Ranking Factors data.

This time around, Moz provides us with enhanced results of its studies and surveys, given the extra real-world correlation data derived from the examination of over 17,000 keyword search results by Dr. Matt Peters, the in-house scientist at Moz, and his data science team, in addition to the usual surveying of over 100 industry professionals that goes down.

Moz has released some of this information in dribs and drabs previously, but the complete version of the results is now available all in one place. 

2013 Search Engine Correlation Study

“This year, Moz surveyed over 120 leading search marketers who provided expert opinions on over 80 ranking factors.” The 2013 Correlation Study can be seen below, in the form of an interactive chart that allows one to sort by category and focus in on specific results.

Reminder: We do not know exactly what the factors are in the over 200 signals that Google claims to use in its algorithm. However, through research and the examination of websites and landing pages that Google rewards in search, we can gain some pretty valuable insight into what those ranking factors could be.

Therefore, when viewing the Search Engine Correlation Data Chat at the end of this blog post, please keep in mind that the correlation data presented is a hint as to the ranking factors that search engines actually use. 

“Correlation is not causation but it sure is a hint.” – Edward Tufte

Search Signals by Category Breakdown

Page Link Authority Features

Page Authority predicts ranking ability from links and, at 0.39, it is the highest factor in the Moz study. 

Page Level Keyword Usage

The Moz study shows that the title tag, the body of the HTML, the meta description and the H1 tags all had relatively high correlation. 

Domain Level Anchor Text

Despite Google’s attempts to clean up over-optimization over the past two years, anchor text correlations for both partial and exact match are still quite large across the data set produced by Moz. 

Domain Level Brand Metrics

The correlations for domain name mentions are relatively high in the Moz study, falling between 0.17 and 0.20 for mentions of the full domain name. 

Page Level Social Metrics

Some of the Moz study’s highest correlated factors were social signals. Even more so, Google+ can be seen edging out Facebook and Twitter.

Page Level Keyword Agnostic

The elements in this category show a negative correlation (-0.10) to page response time. 

Domain Level Keyword Usage

Even though the ranking ability of exact- and partial-match domains (EMD/PMD) has been heavily debated by SEOs in the near past, the Moz study finds EMD correlations to be relatively high at 0.16 and as high as 0.20 if the EMD is also a dot-com.

Page Level Anchor Text

Again, despite Google’s mission to crack down on over-optimization, the Moz study is showing high correlations with both partial and exact match anchor text to the URL, with a 0.29 correlation with the number of root domains linking to the page with partial match anchor text.

Domain Link Authority Features

High correlations can be seen among the metrics that capture a diversity of link sources (C-blocks, IPs, domains). Additionally, subdomain correlations are larger than domain correlations at the domain/subdomain level. 

Domain Level Keyword Agnostic

Even though none of these factors were highly significant, a negative correlation of  -0.09 was found in the Moz study regarding the length of the domain name.

Search Engine Optimization Analysis

With ever-changing search engine algorithms and new online trends popping up all the time, it is now more important than ever to ensure that you are regularly analyzing your search engine optimization situation. Here at lotus823, where we specialize in search engine optimization services, we preach and practice that fact.

When’s the last time you conducted a search engine optimization analysis to check into the various factors that the Moz study speaks to? Well, now’s the time! Need assistance? Give us a shout!

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