The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors: SMX Advanced 2015

By Scott Garrett | Jun 2, 2015
More Articles by Scott

How Will SEO Ranking Factors Change in 2015?

Get the inside scoop from SMX 2015.

Outside, it was a typical rainy day in Seattle, but inside the Bell Harbor Conference Center, the atmosphere was filled with an electrifying buzz of all things PPC, SEO and SEM. It was day one at SMX Advanced 2015 and the first SEO session of the day was on ranking factors.

The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors session was moderated by Danny Sullivan, Mr. SMX himself, and presented by Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, Cyrus Shepard, director of audience at Moz, and Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics Inc. The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors is a living document or fancy graph that lives on Search Engine Land. As search engine algorithms get released and updated, the table changes, but the core ranking factors remain consistent. This year has been full of algorithm changes, especially mobile-related ones, so I was excited to see what these experts thought.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the session:

Cyrus Shepard from Moz

  • Moz’s Correlation Study – Correlation is NOT causation, but it is a hint

SEO Ranking Factors

  • Below are some of the ranking factors that Moz’s study looked at and their correlation ratings…
  •  Links
    • Continue to have a high correlation (relative to other ranking factors) between quantity and search result ranking

Link Correlations Over Time

  • Social Shares
    • Have a high correlation but more than likely are not a ranking factor. However, social sharing has a secondary benefit of getting links. Facebook and Google+ are dominant and LinkedIn has the lowest correlation. The importance of social shares remain with their ability to spread awareness and garner links, but they are more than likely not a direct ranking factor.

Social Shares

Marcus Tober from Searchmetrics

  • Searchmetrics’ study took out brand keywords and Wikipedia to avoid basis
  • Their study found that keywords in the domain continued to have a very low correlation with increased rankings in search results
  • Their study also looked into the effects of ranking factors on mobile devices and compared them to that of desktop
    • The number of backlinks continued to have a positive correlation with ranking. Overall, mobile has a significantly less number of backlinks compared to desktop, largely because mobile still has “m.” domains, which do not often get links.

    SEO Ranking Factors

    • File size – The smaller the better (especially for mobile)

    SEO Ranking Factors - SMX Advanced

    • Number of image has a negative correlation, which is especially important for mobile
    • Lastly, Marcus stressed the importance of not looking at keyword, but looking at the topic of the page and your site – Connect the topics to get to the consumer intent to drive consumer engagement

    Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting

    • Stone Temple Consulting conducted a massive study of rich answers on Google and Bing
      • Found that when looking specifically for rich answers they showed up about 20% of the queries

    SMX Advanced SEO Ranking Factors

    • But how do I get get rich answer boxes?
      • Create dedicated pages to:

    SEO Ranking Factors

    • Getting a rich answer box result can be a great way to jump to the top of the search results

    Overall, these three speakers stressed the importance of providing quality content on your website to build trust and establish authority within your industry before you think about getting links. It’s important to think beyond the keyword. First think about giving value to searchers.

    I will be blogging through out SMX Advanced, so follow me @ScottGarrett89 for all the updated news.

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