Google Ranking Factors: Great Experiment from Moz

August, 26, 2015
Author: Diana Kostogladova Category: SEO, Google Ranking Factors

Recently, Moz published key take-aways of the annual research on how various factors affect website ranking in Google search results. 

As a part of the research, Moz studied almost 170 various factors and their relation to ranking results in Google as well as considered expert opinions from 150 lead SEO specialists. Besides, the research covered data not only from Moz, but also from partner companies, such as  SimilarWebDomainTools and Ahrefs. This fact highlights the scope of the research. 

Key research results are provided below:

influence of ranking factors in Google's algorithm

Consequently, major Google seo ranking factors that have a great impact on website position in SERP are as follows: 

1. Links features (at a domain level): number of links, domain PR, domain trust, etc. (8.22 of 10*)

2. Links features (at a page level): page PR, page trust, quality of a referring domain, number of outbound links, anchor text, quality of a referring source, etc. (8.19 of 10)

3. Factors that depend on keywords and content optimization (at a page level): content relevance, keywords use on a page, content quality and quantity, etc. (7.87 of 10)

4. Factors that don’t depend on keywords (at a page level): content length, readability, uniqueness, load performance, data structuring, HTTPS, etc. (6.57 of 10)

5. Behavioral factors and traffic/search queries: search results, clickability, behavioral factors, number of users, number/variety/CTR of search queries at page and domain levels: (6.55 of 10)

6. Brand visibility on the web: brand and domain offline activities, brand/domain reference across media channels, etc. (5.88 of 10)

7. Keywords use in a domain name: partial/exact match in a domain name, etc. (4.97 of 10)

8. Factors that depend on a domain (not related to keywords): domain name length, SSL-certificate, TLD-extension, etc. (4.09 of 10)

9. Social signals (at a page level): links quality/quantity on Twitter, Facebook/Google + page links (3.98 of 10)

* - Each area is measured by points: from 1 (don’t affect) to 10 (affect significantly).

SEO specialists gave their opinion on factors that will have significant impact on Google algorithms next year. The majority of experts believe that they will cover mobile marketing, page/website relevance analysis, quality and quantity of immense responses in search results, behavioral factors. There were different experts’ views on the impact of website design and usability, data structuring, load performance, HTTPS protocol and relation to mobile apps.

In their opinion, the effect of the following factors will remain at the same level: paid traffic, social signals, thematic links, internal links, URL structure, referring domains authority.

The influence of effective paid and anchor links will decrease significantly:

impact of factors on google's ranking algorithm

Diana Kostogladova, IM Action SEO Project Lead: «As it can be seen from the research results, links continue being important. Google specialists say that links have less prominence than they are given. However, I believe that their role in SEO cannot be underestimated. Google may renounce links as a ranking factor, but this will happen at a distant date. It should be mentioned that Google algorithms identify links quality, and give more prominence to alternative ranking factors, such as behavioral factors.  I agree with SEO experts that paid and anchor links are becoming a thing of the past. As a fact, their use can lead to negative consequences.  Taking into account the latest news on mobile marketing, it is necessary to listen for lead SEO experts’ opinions. This research covered only the English-speaking segment (Google search results USA) and is likely to have peculiarities in other regions». 

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