The Future of SEO: 2015 Ranking Factors Expert Survey Deep Dive

Every two years, Moz conducts a survey to question some of the brightest minds in SEO. The questions that are asked are comprehensive and are phrased so one can learn more about the workings of Google’s search algorithm. This year’s panel of experts came up with a unique set of answers that were able to give us a perfect insight of how things work on the World Wide Web. These questions help us predict the future of search engines and how Google’s algorithm will change in the coming years. 150 individuals were asked to predict how the following factors would change over the course of 12 months.

Majority Of The Individuals Predicted The Following Factors Would Increase:
  • Usage Data
  • On-page topic modeling
  • Analysis of a site’s page
  • Quantity/Quality of instant answers provided in SERPs
  • Readability/usability/design
  • Click stream data from outside search engines
  • Site speed
  • Influence of structured data in SERPs
  • Association with mobile apps
  • Mobile friendliness
Majority Of The Individuals Predicted That The Following Factors Would Remain The Same:
  • Quantity of paid results on SERPs
  • Social signals
  • Presence and prominence of advertising over content
  • Topical relevance of links
  • URL structures/ formatting
  • Raw domain authority based on incoming links
  • Internal links
Majority Of The Individuals Predicted That The Following Factors Would Decrease:
  • Influence of anchor text
  • The effectiveness of paid links

The above results clearly show a majority of the individuals expected an increase in factors that paid attention to user experience, such as mobile friendliness, perceived value, and increased usage data. Such surveys help webmasters and marketers develop an understanding about which aspects they should be focusing on with their time and money.

On Page Keyword Features

This feature describes the keywords used in parts of the HTML. Most individuals agreed the usage of keywords in the title and in the overall content played a huge role in capturing the target audience’s person’s attention.

Domain Level Keyword Features

This feature discusses the use of keywords in the root domain name and how it influences search engine rankings. Many individuals argued it played no significant role in influencing rankings. An exact match root domain, however, can alter better rankings long term.

Page Level Ink Based Features

This feature focuses on link metrics for the individual ranking page; this includes the number of links, and page rank. Many experts predicted high quality links would continue to influence rankings.

Domain Level Brand Features

This feature highlights elements that help feature qualities of branding and brand metrics. Many individuals agreed this trend would change frequently according to the people and trending topics.

Page-Level Social Features

This feature explores the relation of third party metrics, such as social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, for increasing ratings. Most individuals agreed social popularity plays an important role in achieving a better ranking. The more people that Tweet your content, the better chances you have of a good position on Google’s search algorithm.

Page Level Keyword Agnostic Feature

This element focuses on the impact of non-keyword usage and non-link metrics for individual pages, such as slow speed and length of the page. Individuals like Melissa Fach claimed it did not necessarily concern Google as many websites republish the same old boring content but are still able to get good rankings on Google.

Domain Level Link Authority Features

This feature plays an important role in describing link metrics about the domain-hosting page. Many individuals argued the quality of unique linking domains played an important factor in the overall search rankings.

Domain Level Keyword Agnostic Features

This feature focuses on the entire root domain, such as the length of domain name in the characters. Most people agreed only certain factors influenced ratings, such as page speed. Otherwise, people hardly notice errors on a page.

Such surveys help people from around the world to learn more about Google’s algorithm. While many remain ignorant about the latest trends, Moz’s survey’s helps investors and webmasters decide where to invest their time and money in the coming year.