New Search Engine Ranking Factors – Is the Game Changing?


This week search engine and social optimization software provider Moz released the results from its 2013 edition of Search Engine Ranking Factors study. The company, formerly known SEOmoz, conducts this study every two years in order to help the Internet marketing industry understand what components have the “strongest association with ranking highly in Google.”

Moz gathers this data by surveying a large number of SEOs and through correlation-based analysis. According to Matt Peters, a scientist with Moz, the key takeaways from the study are:

–       Page Authority correlates higher than any other metric we measured.

–       Social signals, especially Google +1s and Facebook shares are highly correlated.

–       Despite Penguin, anchor text correlations remain as strong as ever.

–       New correlations were measured for and structured data usage.

–       More data was collected on external links, keywords, and exact match domains.

For us, here at SugarSpun, the factor that jumps out the most at us is the growing impact that social is having on search. We obviously believe that it is critical part of digital marketing, but seeing it in the form of physical data gives it, and us, that much more leverage. Or, as we bakers like to say, it’s just the icing on the cake. 😉

The study specifically showed that social signals were some of the “highest correlated factors”:

Moz Social Correlation Chart

Incidentally, the SEOs that were surveyed did not believe that social signals played as big of a role in regards to the overall algorithm:

Moz SEO Social Chart

Moz deduces that the correlation data could be largely due to links.

What’s even more interesting is that Searchmetrics, a leading search analytics technology company, and Internet marketing company Netmark, which was recently named as one of the top search engine optimization companies by, each released ranking studies as well that showcase the same growing trend with social signals. You can see these similarities in Netmark’s chart below:

Netmark Social Ranking Factors

Searchmetrics produced this very helpful infographic that not only shows the growing power of social signals, but it also shows how they fit into the bigger picture of search engine optimization.


Ultimately, all the studies show that search is clearly that moving beyond ranking factors such as anchor text and exact match domains. In other words, search is evolving just like everything else to accommodate this social-centric world.

Below, you can see Moz’s predictions regarding the future of search:

Moz Future SEO Chart

The question now is, are you adapting your digital strategy to meet the demands of these changes?

Images courtesy of Moz, Netmark, and Searchmetrics.

Abby Johnson

Abby brings a unique perspective to the mix because her background consists of both traditional broadcast and public relations to now the world of online. She is very skilled at looking at the big picture and understanding how to get the message across to a particular audience.

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