The Search Engine Ranking Factors 2009: lets build links

Tue 25 August 2009 09:00, Bas van den Beld

The Search Engine Ranking Factors 2009: lets build links

Most search marketers will not have missed it, but if you did, SEOMoz has released their Search Ranking Factors 2009.

Every two years SEOMoz askes dozens (in this case 72) of search engine optimizers from all over the world a lot of questions to get an insight in how they are working. The results of this extensive survey result in a report which indicates how SEO's are working. And this year we can see some cowboys contributing to the survey. Lisa Myers, Joost de Valk and Jon Myers and others were amongst the contributing Search Experts.

This years report again provides us with a lot of information we can absorb. We won't be repeating the entire survey here, but some highlights are well worth mentioning.

When it comes to ranking factors the search marketers agree that links are still the most important ranking factors.

In the top five of ranking factors "Anchor Text from External Links", "Raw Link Popularity" and "Diversity of Linking Domains" are named to be of high importance. "Link Acquisition from Link Brokers" and "Linking Out to Spam" on the other hand are named as very negative ranking factors.

So its time for the linkbuilders to get to work and get the right links with the right anchor texts!

Looking at linkbuilding tactics "Linkbait + Viral Content Creation" and "Blogging and Engagement with the Blogosphere" (Searchcowboys!) is regarded as highly effective.
Finally the experts were asked to "help provide insight into critical (and sometimes contentious) debates in the SEO field". When asked about the “Brand/Vince” update" 51% of the experts chose the answer "The algorithmic changes/update affected algorithmic factors that  unintentionally (and non-universally) appeared to preference some SERPs towards well-known, public brands."

Interesting is also that 74% feels Google Analytics data is used only in aggregate form to help with pattern identification and broad user behavior analysis.
To conclude. As many blogs have already noted not a lot has changed if the results of the survey are compared to those two years ago. You could say that is a little surprising with the amount of changes search engines (Google) have made over the last couple of years. Just think of the evolving Universal Search. One could conclude that with a lot of changes the way to optimize doesn't necessarily has to change too. The report however is a must for every SEO to read.

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Comments (6)


  • That is some very interesting data; I think you don't need research to know what the search engines will consider bad and what will make them happy.

    At the end hard work and link building will do the trick, using tools like to find similar sites to exchange links with or find competition is the only way to go and will be approved by the search engine forever.

    Di 25 aug 2009, 09:29

  • Nice post and summary of the document Bas. Think it will prove a useful resource for SEO's in the coming year.

    @Gibs thanks for mentioning your tool, going to have a good luck at it, looks interesting.

    Di 25 aug 2009, 18:35

    • Peter Young

    Nice summary of the SEOMoz doc, not sure I 100% agree with everything but there is always some good indicative data to take from the reports.

    One thing I would have to ask though is where were you on the contributing list though :)

    Di 25 aug 2009, 19:05

  • I think its very valuable content which can be used to help get a lot of people started in search.

    @Peter: Would have loved to contribute, but hey, I wasn't asked :).

    Di 25 aug 2009, 21:18

  • @bas THere should definitely be a lobby started for next year - for more of a pan european 'flava' - Bas Included :)

    Di 25 aug 2009, 21:36

  • @jon Thanks, tell me what you think.

    Wo 26 aug 2009, 08:27


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