Some have said that search engine optimization (SEO) is more of an art than a science, but every two years one website tries to better define the industry by surveying some of the top minds in SEO to see what is working best and where the future is headed.

Yesterday, SEOmoz released its 2009 Search Engine Ranking Factors report which surveyed 72 of the top SEOs to get their take on the industry.

But Matt McGee, assignment editor for Search Engine Land, says the 2009 results show that not much has changed in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) since 2007.

McGee points out that, according to the SEOmoz survey, this year’s top three ranking factors (anchor text from external links, keyword use in title tag, raw link popularity) were included in 2007’s top five.

Still, McGee says the overall survey is important for the industry.

"When it comes to the big picture of SEO, the primary factors really haven’t changed much over the years," he writes. "But what separates good SEO from great SEO is often in the details. That’s where you’ll find the true value of the SEO factors survey – in learning the little things that competitors may have overlooked."

It shouldn’t be surprising that the most negative ranking factors according to the survey are ideas that are looked down upon in the industry, such as cloaking with malicious/manipulative intent and keyword stuffing.