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Review of SEOMoz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

SEOMoz’s recent release of Search Engine Ranking Factors Version 2 has generated a lot of buzz within the SEO industry. More accurately it has received tremendous praise and is being hailed as the “final answer” to search optimization for Google. After carefully reviewing this hopeful work which is said to;

“…represent the collective wisdom of 37 leaders in the world of organic search engine optimization”

which:

“… is a resource of incredible value”

and futhermore:

“…that 90-95% of the knowledge required about Google’s algorithm is contained…”

I am both embarrassed and encouraged:

Embarrassed that the “industry leaders”, have made so little progress towards a practical understanding of modern search engine mechanics, thereby giving a degree of merit to detractors of search optimization who openly voice their skepticism.

Encouraged by the idea that here in Reno, Nevada we are doing things in our little corner of the SEO world that are light years beyond what the “SEO Elite” are doing (I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back and extend the same to Stoney as soon as I see him.)

I’d like to point out what I feel are the most noteworthy points of interest and expert comments within the “Ranking Factors V2”. The following points are noteworthy because of the nonsensical nature, wildly contradictory “expert opinion” or outright comedic value which they offer.

Most Entertaining Expert Comments on the Ranking Factors V2:

According to one expert almost everything: “May hurt your rankings if it is too well aligned with the page title and anchor text. “

So if your: (insert ranking factor of choice:

  • Primary on-page descriptor, the H1 Tag
  • Keyword Use in H2, H3, H(x) Tags
  • Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag
  • etc., etc.)

and your Title element and your anchor text all accurately describe the topic of your page; it may hurt your rankings?
Huh, maybe an anti-relevancy sorting algorithm is in use?

“Being a fairly new SEO’er, I’d say that from all the stories I’ve heard compared to my actual experimentations, I’d say this has little value if you try to do white-hat, but could be more effective with massive link campaign / spamming (while getting you flagged!)”

How does a “fairly new SEO’er” armed with “stories” qualify as a “leader in the world of organic search engine optimization”?

Concerning the use of keywords in your body text: Once again, better to than not to, but hardly any value.

Better to use the words that define your topic when presenting your topic, than not to. Ummmmm…Sounds like good advice.
And while your at it make sure to call people by their own names and not other people’s names. And just in case you better use a phillips screwdriver on that phillips screw and use your car key to drive your car.

“The link populairty of the linking page and site is probably the most important factor when deciding on a link.”

If you have time to do only one SEO action on your site, take the time to create good titiles.

If you only have time to create good titles, you’re not an SEO.

Concerning the Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site: If it doesn’t I’ve wasted 14 years of my life.

I don’t think Google takes that into account, but I hear personalization is coming.

Most Entertaining “Ranking Factors”

Relevance of Site’s Primary Subject Matter to Query
I was unaware that whole websites are now being furnished as search results.

Relationship of Body Text Content to Keywords (Topic Analysis)
So if the text is about a certain topic that may help it rank for that topic. Awesome! Good Find Guys!

Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag
Is click-through important?

PageRank (as measured by the GG Toolbar) of Linking Page
The Google Toolbar shows PageRank?

HTML Validation of Document (to W3C Standards)
Validate Google’s HTML

My conclusion

If todays top SEO’s really are doing well for their clients, they don’t have a clue why. That is a professional liability.

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

4 Responses to Review of SEOMoz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors V2

  1. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Absolutely hilarious post, Jason. Spot on! And said with all the traditional arrogance of an SEO!

    I loved this:

    If you only have time to create good titles, you’re not an SEO.

  2. Halfdeck says:

    “If todays top SEO’s really are doing well for their clients, they don’t have a clue why.”

    Lol, too true. These days all you need is a group of high profile friends and you can generate all the buzz you need. Deep knowledge of Google sold separately.

  3. TimWhiston.com says:

    SEO is almost becoming hilarious. Yes it’s an important part of my marketing campaigns and will probably continue to be until we see the full blown interface change that takes us from keyboard and mouse to Star Trek style voice interaction.

    But…

    The battle between the engines and the ranking manipulators is getting ridiculous. As you posted, it is quite amusing that having relevant title and anchor tags could actually begin to harm your position.

    And we legitimate business owners are cuaght in the middle. One day our sites are at the top, then they’re gone with a new algorithm change that leaves searchers with page upon page of irrelevant nonsense.

    Then we catch on to the latest, ludicrous changes and bring our sites back to the top. Only to await the next big shift.

    LOL… it beats a day job but man I look forward to a time when optimizing for good, clean results is less of a pain in the neck.

  4. Jason Green says:

    Thanks for the feedback! As Stoney points out; I posted this review from atop a rather large soapbox (as any self-respecting professional SEO would!).