SEO Ranking Factors & Correlation: What Does It Mean When a Metric Is Correlated with Google Rankings? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

In an industry where knowing exactly how to get ranked on Google is murky at best, SEO ranking factors studies can be incredibly alluring. But there’s danger in believing every correlation you read, and wisdom in looking at it with a critical eye. In this Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers the myths and realities of correlations, then shares a few smart ways to use and understand the data at hand.

SEO Ranking Factors and Correlation

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are chatting about SEO ranking factors and the challenge around understanding correlation, what correlation means when it comes to SEO factors.

So you have likely seen, over the course of your career in the SEO world, lots of studies like this. They’re usually called something like ranking factors or ranking elements study or the 2017 ranking factors, and a number of companies put them out. Years ago, Moz started to do this work with correlation stuff, and now many, many companies put these out. So people from Searchmetrics and I think Ahrefs puts … Read the rest

January 5, 2018  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Rankings Correlation Study: Domain Authority vs. Branded Search Volume

Posted by Tom.Capper

A little over two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at SearchLove San Diego. My presentation, Does Google Still Need Links, looked at the available evidence on how and to what extent Google is using links as a ranking factor in 2017, including the piece of research that I’m sharing here today.

One of the main points of my presentation was to argue that while links still do represent a useful source of information for Google’s ranking algorithm, Google now has many other sources, most of which they would never have dreamed of back when PageRank was conceived as a proxy for the popularity and authority of websites nearly 20 years ago.

Branded search volume is one such source of information, and one of the sources that is most accessible for us mere mortals, so I decided to take a deeper look on how it compared with a link-based metric. It also gives us some interesting insight into the KPIs we should be pursuing in our off-site marketing efforts — because brand awareness and link building are often conflicting goals.

For clarity, by branded search volume, I mean the monthly regional search volume … Read the rest

March 15, 2017  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Why SEOs Need to Care About Correlation as Much (or More) than Causation

Posted by randfish

correlation does not equal causation

Today I’m going to make a crazy claim—that in modern SEO, there are times, situations, and types of analyses where correlation is actually MORE interesting and useful than causality. I know that sounds insane, but stick with me until the end and at least give the argument a chance. And for those of you who like visuals, our friend AJ Ghergich and his intrepid team of designers created some nifty graphics to accompany the piece.

Once upon a time, SEO professionals had a reasonable sense of many (or perhaps even most) of the inputs into the search engine’s ranking systems. We leveraged our knowledge of how Google interpreted various modifications to keywords, links, content, and technical aspects to hammer on the signals that produced results.

But today, there can be little argument—Google’s ranking algorithm has become so incredibly complex, nuanced, powerful, and full-featured, that modern SEOs have all but given up on hammering away at individual signals. Instead, we’re becoming more complete marketers, with greater influence on all of the elements of our organizations’ online presence.

Web marketers operate in a world where Google:

  • Uses machine learning to identify editorial endorsements vs. spam (e.g. Penguin)
  • Measures
  • Read the rest

January 20, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Update: This post caused a bit of controversy, including comments from Matt Cutts on this Hacker News thread. See the end of the post for further details.

Every two years, Moz runs a scientific correlation study to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking highly in Google. This year, for the first time, Dr. Matt Peters and the Moz Data Science Team measured the correlation between Google +1s and higher rankings.

The results were surprising.

After Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor. In fact, the correlation of Google +1s beat out other well known metrics including linking root domains, Facebook shares, and even keyword usage.

Moz isn’t the only one to discover this relationship. Searchmetrics, using a slightly different methodology, found Google +1s to be the highest-correlated factor they studied, and other studies have found similar results.

Here’s the million-dollar question: Can Google+ activity actually help your pages rank higher?

Beyond correlation: Why it matters this time

Back in 2011, folks may remember the controversy that erupted when Moz found a similar correlation between … Read the rest

August 20, 2013  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Mozscape Correlation Analysis of Recent Google Algorithm Changes

Posted by Matt Peters

At SEOmoz, we compute and track correlations against Google search results with each Mozscape index release. Recently, we've noticed some interesting changes in the page level vs domain level link correlations and decided to investigate. We uncovered some striking differences between the new 7-result SERPs and the standard 10-result SERPs.

Tracking Link Metric Correlations in Mozscape

Before I dive into the data, I want to provide some background information on our data set and methodology. We use correlations against Google search result pages (SERPs) to track algorithm changes and the quality of our Mozscape index. We have published the results of these many times in the past, including the Search Engine Ranking Factors post and in the blog post announcing each monthly index update (see the September update). To summarize the process, we first take a set of keywords and run them through Google to collect the top 10 or 50 results. We then pull the link metrics from Mozscape for each URL in the SERPs (Page Authority, number of linking domains to the domain, sub-domain mozTrust, etc). Then, we compute the Spearman correlation between search position and each metric for each keyword. Finally, … Read the rest

September 24, 2012  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments



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