Although many people tend to think that ranking factors change drastically from one year to the next, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the same factors that were though to contribute to page rank a couple of years ago still apply in 2013 such as links and page authority. Here’s a look at some of the most important factors as determined by authority sites like Moz, Search Metrics and Netmark.
Page authority, according to Moz, is the highest correlating factor when it comes to page rank. Page authority is gained when other high quality sites link to and reference your content. So what does that mean? You need to create amazing content that provides a lot of value to the end user.
The number of links to your site is also a key factor. Google looks at the number of domains that link to a particular page on your site, the number of domains that link to your domain and the relevance of the page that links to your page or site. In order to get the most value out of backlinks, they should come from authoritative sites with content that is relevant to your own.
The relevance of social signals is still being debated by SEO experts, but the data shows that there is a significant correlation between the number and quality of social signals and page rank. Google+ 1s are thought to be given more weight than Facebook likes, but both along with signals from Pinterest and Twitter can help improve a site’s visibility in the search engines.
Although Google has recently announced that it is cracking down on over-optimized anchor text, a few weeks after the Penguin 2.0 update, data still showed that anchor text plays an important role. Both exact match and partial match anchor text were highly correlated to rank within content.
As with anchor text, domain names there were optimized with exact match or partial match keywords still seem to rank higher than sites that do not employ this technique.
Keywords also remain important, especially within the title tags, Meta description, body and H1 tags. Keep in mind that keywords should only be used sparingly, in a natural way. Don’t force keywords into your content or anywhere else on the page.
The takeaway from all this is that Google is focusing on the experience for the end user and whatever makes that experience better will improve rank. Sites should move away from more traditional means of ranking like optimizing anchor text and using exact match domains and more toward improving the experience for the user. This involves authorship for transparency when it comes to content creation, structured data and social signals from users to indicate the relevance and usefulness of content. If you keep the end user in mind when designing your site and creating your content, then you should have no problem ranking well and avoiding Google penalties. For additional information on SEO Moz 2013 ranking factors please click here.