Moz conducts a survey semi-annually to get the opinions of many of the smartest search marketers in the world. At the same time, they conduct correlation studies for the purpose of better understanding how search engine algorithms work. That data is compiled for gaining insight into any factor that could assist or injure the visibility of a website to the search engines.
In August of 2015, the moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study was released, and it’s is the biggest study ever conducted by Moz. The bottom line is that links to anchor text, page level and domain still remain the uppermost Google ranking factors. In addition, the survey shows that the lowest factors for ranking are on-page markup, TLDs, and social metrics.
For many years now, Moz has conducted these studies aimed at correlating the inherent relationships between on-page factors, social media and search results. The data for the moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study was compiled in the early part of May 2015. During the study, only U.S. English language search results were considered, however Moz does plan on extending their future studies.
The moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study included more than 150 search marketers that are leaders in their fields. Their expert opinions regarding close to 100 ranking factors make up the survey results. Although those factors are not proof positive of exactly what is used by the search engines for ranking websites, they do show the specific attributes of higher ranking web pages, leading to optimum SEO practices.
The main goal of the Moz analysis is to provide an estimate of the comparative influence of specific factor types, i.e. social vs. on-page vs. links. The moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study computes numerous differing evaluation metrics between ranking factors and search position. In addition, the study measures overall SERP prominence of each factor. Mean Spearman correlations are the preferred metric for the moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study. In the study, every individual query is treated as independent from the rest and then is computed with the Spearman correlation. The result is then derived from averaging all of the queries.
Dr. Matthew Peters heads up the Moz Data Science team. For the first time, he has formed a partnership with a number of data partners, including Ahrefs, Domain Tools and Similar web, for the purpose of enhancing the moz 2015 search engine ranking factors study. The study results are now providing considerable insight into present and future internal workings of SEO. The data that was gathered represents what the survey respondents felt best represented the range of factors worthy of consideration when determining what is utilized by Google in their search algorithm. Those results have been ranked on a sliding scale based upon their relative influence level. They have been rated from one to ten, ten being decidedly influential and one being not very influential at all.
Starting with the factors on the high end, link authority features at the domain level ranked highest, followed by page level link metrics, content and keyword based metrics, keyword agnostic features, traffic query data and user usage. Going down the scale, domain level brand metrics, level keyword usage, keyword agnostic features, and lastly page level social metrics ranked lowest.