SEO is not static and companies know they need to stay on top of breaking trends to remain at the forefront of the content marketing pack. Failing to do so will cost them their Page 1 rankings in search results, as well as the majority of clicks, website visitors and conversions that comes as a result. However, marketers must perform a delicate dance to stay on the leading edge, while also capitalizing on existing practices that generate results.
In one example of this fine line, Moz‘s 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors finds links and keywords remain some of the most important factors to search marketing success, while highly anticipated algorithms like Authorship do not show bottom-line benefits yet.
Links and keywords still king
The study combines results from a survey of SEO professionals and a correlational study of search ranking factors. It revealed that domains with strong links continue to dominate SERPs. The data found link source diversity was prevalent in sites scoring prime search real estate, and SEOs agree that links persist as one of the most important contributors to web visibility and traffic.
Domains with strong links continue to dominate SERPs.
Keyword strategies also remain one of the most important components of results-driven web marketing. SEOs report that KW inclusion in titles and on pages is closely related to search rankings. Moz’s findings corroborated this assertion, revealing that title tags, HTML bodies, meta descriptions and H1 tags containing keywords are traits found in high-ranking domains.
It might seem obvious to brands that have followed SEO trends that links and keyword strategies equal success because they have been staples of Google’s ranking metric. However, the search engine’s own Matt Cutts has come forward saying there is more to SERP domination than impressive backlink profiles and keyword use. Brafton covered a Webmaster Help Channel video in which Cutts explained that other factors such as user experience and design are often underestimated factors contributing to internet marketing results.
Change on the SEO horizon?
Moz found that rumored ranking signals like Google+ Authorship markup, Open Graph markup, Publisher markup and Schema markup do not correlate with advantageous SERP positions. This is another sign that SEO changes are underway, but not quite available yet.
Brafton recently reported that Authorship use is still minimal for major brands. Only 3.5 percent of Fortune 100 companies have taken the steps necessary to provide authors with rich snippets that feature their bylines and headshots in SERPs, even though it has been proven that including pictures draws eyes and increases clicks.
With new algorithms hovering on the horizon, SEOs must continue using proven strategies while building a foundation to prepare for upcoming ranking signals.