Moz has released the results of its 2015 Ranking Factors study, which aims to identify the page attributes most closely associated with a high ranking in Google.
The two-part study consists of a survey of professional SEOs and a large correlation study.
This particular study analyzes more data points than in any past year, the company says, collecting over 15,000 data points and measuring 170 attributes such as:
- Keyword usage
- Load time
- Anchor text
- and More
One of the key findings coming out of the study, Moz points out, is that links continue to be more closely associated with higher rankings than almost any of the attributes studied.
Other key takeaways of Moz’s Correlation study include:
- Lower correlations between on-page keyword use and rankings.
- Using HTTPS has a very low positive correlation.
- The correlation between exact-match domains and rankings is more likely a result of the keyword rich anchor text than an algorithmic favoring of these types of domains.
- Little correlation between domain extensions (.com, .org, etc.) and rankings in Google.
- Anchor text was closely tied with high-ranking results, along with the number of unique referring domains.
- Number of social shares tends to show a positive correlation with rankings.
- Time until domain registration expiration was moderately correlated with higher rankings.
- Pages with lower bounce rates, higher page views, and better time-on-site metrics were tied to higher rankings.
The correlation study was only one part of the overall Ranking Factors study. Also included in the study is a survey with 150 professional SEOs.
Moz sought their opinions on the strength of factors believed to be used in Google’s search algorithm.
Here are some key takeaways from Moz’s survey results:
- Links are thought to have the highest positive correlation, followed by keyword usage and content.
- Keywords in the page title and body copy are thought to be strongly related to higher rankings.
- Use of images is not considered to be strongly related to higher rankings, neither is HTTPS.
- Factors like content freshness and length are thought to only have a moderate correlation to higher rankings.
Keywords in the root domain, especially exact-match domain names, are considered to be strongly related to higher rankings.
- Total amount of unnatural links is believe to be the strongest negative ranking signal, followed by thin/duplicate content.
For more findings like these view the full 2015 Rankings Factors study.