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The Art of SEO by Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Analyzing Ranking Factors

SEOmoz conducted a survey of leading SEOs to determine what these SEOs thought were the most important ranking factors (http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors). Here is a high-level summary of the top nine results:

  • Keyword use in title tag

  • Anchor text of inbound link

  • Global link authority of site

  • Age of site

  • Link popularity within the site’s internal link structure

  • Topical relevance of inbound links

  • Link popularity of site in topical community

  • Keyword use in body text

  • Global link popularity of sites that link to the site

Here is a brief look at each of these:

Keyword use in title tag

The title tag was clearly considered the #1 ranking factor. The words in the title tag say a lot about the topic of a page (or they should), and it is a useful element for the search engines to key on. One reason is that it is a highly visible element on the web page and therefore is likely to be used, well, as a title for the page.

It is also generally accepted that search engines place the most weight on the words that appear at the start of the title. For that reason it is always a good idea to put your most important keywords at the start of the title tag, but make sure to avoid keyword stuffing (a concept that we will discuss more in Keyword Targeting in Chapter 6).

Anchor text of inbound link

When one web page links to another, the anchor text used for that link is also used as a strong signal by the search engines. Webmasters and publishers who choose to link to other ...

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