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#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
New Ranking Correlation Study:
Early Data
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Methodology
Dr. Matthew Peters, Scientist at Moz
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Methodology
•  Top 50 Google Results
•  ~15,000 Keywords
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
“Correlation is not causation”
but it sure is a
HINTEdward Tufte
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
why HINTS are important
Nobody knows what the rankings factors are
•  Machine Learning, i.e. Panda...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
An example…
“Are .com domains associated
with higher rankings?”
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
org
com
info
net
edu
biz
-0.01 correlation
“No”
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
org
com
info
net
edu
biz
-0.04 correlation
Little difference between TLDs
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
org
com
info
net
edu
biz
% of Each Feature in Top 50
10.7%
77.5%
0.2%
2.3%
2.4%
0.1%
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Links – a more significant relationship
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Question:
“Can I rank without links?”
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
The Data Says:
73.5% of pages had at least 1 external link
99.8% of subdomains had external links
...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Anchor Text – very strong!
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Keyword in Title Tag - Kinda weak!
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Keyword in Title Tags – Does our perception match reality?
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
But wait…
Perhaps keywords have more relevance than we know…
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Social Shares – High correlation, but likely not an actual ranking factor
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Social Shares – High correlation, but likely not an actual ranking factor
Decreasing
Increasing
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
HTTPS / SSL
0.04 Correlation (14.3% of all results)
Could be the “tie-breaker” Google claims
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Is Schema.org a ranking factor?
-0.01 correlation (~0)
http://builtvisible.com/micro-data-schema-o...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Schema.org – Low Adoption
Only found in 1.8% of top 50 results
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Schema ≠ Rich Snippets
Still recommended: beneficial for other reasons
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
hreflang tag – moderate correlation
0.14 Correlation (8.2% of results)
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Spam Flags: Negative Correlations
1. The site link profile is not trustworthy -0.07
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Spam Flags: Negative Correlations
2. Large site without many inbound links -0.07
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Spam Flags: Negative Correlations
3. Links to this subdomain come from an unusually
small number o...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Spam Flags: Negative Correlations
The more spam flags, the higher
the probability of penalization
...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Lowest Correlated Factor:
URL length in characters: -0.11
https://mox.com/go?
id=1500SHurl4FwdURLA...
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Highest Correlated Factor
Page Authority: +0.39
https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-authority
#SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
Thank you!
Watch for the full study this summer!
Cyrus Shepard
Director of Audience Development
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Ranking Correlation Study: Early Data By Cyrus Shepard

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From the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, Washington, June 2-3, 2015. SESSION: The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors: 2015 Edition. PRESENTATION: New Ranking Correlation Study: New Data - Given by Cyrus Shepard, @cyrusshepard - Moz, Director of Audience. #SMX #11A

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Ranking Correlation Study: Early Data By Cyrus Shepard

  1. 1. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard New Ranking Correlation Study: Early Data
  2. 2. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Methodology Dr. Matthew Peters, Scientist at Moz
  3. 3. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Methodology •  Top 50 Google Results •  ~15,000 Keywords
  4. 4. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard “Correlation is not causation” but it sure is a HINTEdward Tufte
  5. 5. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard why HINTS are important Nobody knows what the rankings factors are •  Machine Learning, i.e. Panda •  User inputs, i.e. engagement https://moz.com/blog/seo-correlation-causation
  6. 6. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard An example… “Are .com domains associated with higher rankings?”
  7. 7. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard org com info net edu biz -0.01 correlation “No”
  8. 8. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard org com info net edu biz -0.04 correlation Little difference between TLDs
  9. 9. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard org com info net edu biz % of Each Feature in Top 50 10.7% 77.5% 0.2% 2.3% 2.4% 0.1%
  10. 10. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Links – a more significant relationship
  11. 11. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard
  12. 12. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Question: “Can I rank without links?”
  13. 13. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard The Data Says: 73.5% of pages had at least 1 external link 99.8% of subdomains had external links *Seems unlikely
  14. 14. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Anchor Text – very strong!
  15. 15. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Keyword in Title Tag - Kinda weak!
  16. 16. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Keyword in Title Tags – Does our perception match reality?
  17. 17. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard But wait… Perhaps keywords have more relevance than we know…
  18. 18. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Social Shares – High correlation, but likely not an actual ranking factor
  19. 19. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Social Shares – High correlation, but likely not an actual ranking factor Decreasing Increasing
  20. 20. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard HTTPS / SSL 0.04 Correlation (14.3% of all results) Could be the “tie-breaker” Google claims
  21. 21. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Is Schema.org a ranking factor? -0.01 correlation (~0) http://builtvisible.com/micro-data-schema-org-guide-generating-rich-snippets/
  22. 22. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Schema.org – Low Adoption Only found in 1.8% of top 50 results
  23. 23. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Schema ≠ Rich Snippets Still recommended: beneficial for other reasons
  24. 24. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard hreflang tag – moderate correlation 0.14 Correlation (8.2% of results)
  25. 25. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Spam Flags: Negative Correlations 1. The site link profile is not trustworthy -0.07
  26. 26. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Spam Flags: Negative Correlations 2. Large site without many inbound links -0.07
  27. 27. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Spam Flags: Negative Correlations 3. Links to this subdomain come from an unusually small number of pages -0.09
  28. 28. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Spam Flags: Negative Correlations The more spam flags, the higher the probability of penalization https://moz.com/help/guides/moz-api/mozscape/getting-started-with-mozscape/spam-score
  29. 29. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Lowest Correlated Factor: URL length in characters: -0.11 https://mox.com/go? id=1500SHurl4FwdURLA2N04URL.co.ukcMinilien5rTightURL080f4krMyURLqbcShredURLShorlA2N301URL10z18tallcjCanURL491X.sesustained4rangyPiURL7rPiURL9NutshellURLrunni ng000greatlongish6Dwarfurll1t16URLf0c9MyURLd1920drawn%2Boutenduring1vlastingRubyURLprotracted7804c3lingeringj13c01a135Xil0CanURL11loftyDwarfurlnDigBig7spun %2BoutURLPie6105a3lankya3YATUC184501261expandedq9ShortURLenlarged4ya11longish84high110enlargedv01lasting1r5longishlankyjd66z03stretchedrangym01058TraceURL11c4pr otractedprolonged14ShortenURL149eUrlTeaBeam.to1002e350awcb213Sitelutions2MetamarkMooURLTinyURLgangling139na71zSnipURL71far %2Boff0URLPietuulnk.in11069ShortURLspread%2Boutenduringenduringsustained7YepItremote96t1ganglingfspread %2Bout7ee6DecentURL1X.setowering2nyk0ShortURLganglingcstretch2400ShortURLb7k1EasyURL10060GetShortyTinyLinkDecentURL80301URLURLCutter2ShrinkURL9spun %2Boutd3A2N1ytalllingering079s6be1X.se0lankyCanURL0URLPies4far%2BoffaoSnipURL2c0b1extensive434SnipURL2q7enduringenlarged3800far %2Breaching102l39w1bMetamarkloftyz0e7SHurl3q1highlingering1elongateremotestretcheddgreat8623785dURl.ierangyfar %2Breaching32protracted14ShrinkURL71Shim16deepShrinkURLgYepItIs.gdjDwarfurlclloftyMooURLkURLcut51301URLdistant00lofty08URLCutterNutshellURL11NutshellURLlofty78stretc hingShorl3ganglingShortenURLPiURLPiURLl7continuedoutstretched6protractedhrPiURL1RubyURL31e11Xil4nstretchinguWapURLlengthenedtowering841500u10sustained21x00z1404o4 1bextensivejdistant0MooURLfaraway9b0rangydistant3deep75URLPie0l5izWapURLt11gdeep50protractedt5a0008lnk.inlofty0elongatedPiURL6URL2fMetamarkym88lengthyNotLong1f8U76 b1enduringtx3U761stretchedv4389greatcPiURLa0101Fly2G8LGetShorty0elongatedprolonged790enlarged07A2N0spun %2Boutd11f571continued071DecentURLUrlTeaecTinyURLgreat021i1l9stretchDwarfurld6URL44lnk.int0NutshellURLsrunningprotractedenlarged330great177x8NotLongz04far %2Boffa10091zG8L2Smallr61delongate0050G8L1sustainedCanURL115d29TinyURLDwarfurlFwdURL4NotLong01X.se03ShrinkURL1EasyURLa80deep9b5SnipURLspun %2Boutelongate5030k2qcontinuede5706110LiteURLaDigBig60prolonged00cremoteFhURL4drawn%2Bout1farawayf9s6ShortenURLe Use short, human-readable URLs!
  30. 30. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Highest Correlated Factor Page Authority: +0.39 https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-authority
  31. 31. #SMX #11a @CyrusShepard Thank you! Watch for the full study this summer! Cyrus Shepard Director of Audience Development

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