The Most Important SEO Ranking Factors

SEOmoz Ranking Factors
On a regular basis, we all seem to engage, in one way or another, on efforts to boost our search engine rankings. Be it through on-page or off-page optimizations, such as, link building, creating keyword rich content, social bookmarking, etc., there just seems to be an unlimited amount of things to do. We use a variety of tools for effective SEO, and at the end of the day, the question of what’s really worth focusing on and what to avoid, seems to be a legitimate concern.

Every two years, SEOmoz surveys top SEO specialists in the field and publishes a report of Search Engine Ranking Factors. This week, the 2009 report was released and the results were based on the participants ranking more than 100 factors about the hottest issues in the SEO field.

Based on this report surveyed by SEOmoz, the following are the most important ranking factor for SEO.

Top 5 SEO Ranking Factors

  • Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links 73%
  • External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links) 71%
  • Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains) 67%
  • Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag 66%
  • Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.) 66%

Top 5 SEO Negative Ranking Factors

  • Cloaking with Malicious/Manipulative Intent 68%
  • Link Acquisition from Known Link Brokers/Sellers 56%
  • Links from the Page to Web Spam Sites/Pages 51%
  • Cloaking by User Agent 51%
  • Frequent Server Downtime & Site Inaccessibility 51%

As far as SEO link building tactics is concerned, the most important factors that were found to be most effective, are linkbait and viral content creation, blogging, classic high-quality content, PR and paid links (which consensus is moderate). The five most important factors in determining the value of an external link are TrustRank, authority, anchor text, PageRank and link position.

It is also interesting to see in this report that reciprocal linking, commenting on dofollow blogs, buying old domains and redirecting them, directory links, forum link buildings, etc., were all found to be of either minimum or very minimal value.

In this report, you will also see the list of all contributors, which I found to be interesting for future reference.

There you have it. Like a lot of things, obtaining great results on the SERPs is not solely based on anything specific. While there are the most important, the less important are, still important, and should not be ignored. Having a comprehensive list of SEO factors that are considered to be important is an excellent starting point, obviously when combined with action, measurement and analysis.

View the full report of the most important SEO factors and reassess on your efforts to see if you are doing it right or not.


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

3 thoughts on “The Most Important SEO Ranking Factors

  • Posts like this are musts for people who are new to the business. I am a huge fan of SEOmoz. I am a regular visitor there. Rand Fishkin really publishes some top notch industry information. I find it extremely enlightening to compare what other people are saying matters with what my experiences have been. I think you have to have experience working with many different domains before you really get a handle on things. Until then it is just way too confusing. There are too many variables for you to see what it really going on.

    I know for a fact that there are techniques that aren’t even part of that survey that have huge impacts on ranking depending on what kind of website and what kind of keyword you are studying.

    Every time I re-read that list it makes me question my own studies and deepens my understanding of what is going on all that much more. Reading about it is not the same as seeing the results in action firsthand.

    • Hi Kathy. I agree with you. There are countless variables to rank well on search engines. After all Big G says that they have well over 200+ factors so I’m pretty much sure that these are only the most important, or should I say, at the very least the “must have”. and as you said, and well, reading is one thing, seeing it in action is another. Thanks for digging this post out. This was one of those that I lost a lot of comments when I decided to move from blogger to wordpress 🙂 Its now alive again, thanks to you

  • Thanks for highlighting the top 5 ranking factors.

    You see, not too long ago I learnt about point #1 – I simply used to hyperlinking to another content with any random keyword.

    I just picked up some new stuff you highlighted under “negative factors”.

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