Every two years, SEOmoz ask dozens of search marketing professionals to share their opinions on several (possible) search engine ranking influencing factors, and they’ve just released this years edition. It’s funny to see that, although I hear and read about ‘links getting devalued as a search engine ranking influencing metric’ more often, 80% of the top 5 factors (according to the 72 contributors) are still link related.
The top 5 ranking factors:
1. Keyword focused anchor text from external links (73%)
2. External link popularity (quantity/quality of external links) (71%)
3. Diversity of link sources (links from many unique root domains) (67%)
4. Keyword use anywhere in the title tag (66%)
5. Trustworthiness of the domain based on link distance from trusted domains (e.g. TrustRank, domain mozTrust, etc.) (66%)
Additionally, Google (unintentionally) underlined the outcome of SEOmoz’ research, and the importance of links. About two weeks ago, they decided to give the world a preview of what it calls its “next-generation infrastructure”, with the code name Caffeine. Within two weeks, this page is ranking at #3 for ‘caffeine’, without even mentioning it anywhere on the page. Although Google tried to make sure that the effectiveness of link bombing would decrease, this again shows the importance of external anchor text and page content of linking pages. Even in Caffeine.