The Most Important Factors for Ranking
In early June, SEOmoz released their biennial search ranking report which surveyed 134 SEO professionals on what they believe has the most affect on search rankings.
The 2011 report revealed that 21% of respondents believe that page level link metrics was the most important factor. This was a significant change from 2009 when trust/authority of the host domain was at the top with 24% and page level link metrics wasn't even a feature.
The report also added to the ongoing debate about the importance and influence of social media on search engine rankings. According to the study, page level social metrics do have importance (7%). It is fair to say that this metric isn't surprising and has contributed to SEO experts trying to discover what social signals search engines look for and how they influence the results. In fact, the report did find a correlation between sites that have strong social metrics and those with higher rankings. The most significant factors here were Facebook shares, comments, and likes followed by tweets.
Finally, when respondents were asked about the future of search and what they think will change over the coming years, two aspects stood out: the analysis of a page or website's perceived value to users and the social signals at both page and domain level.