Every two years, Moz surveys top SEOs from around the world and culls through copious amounts of data to piece together a Search Engines Rankings Report indicating the top ranking factors for organic search results. The report is not meant to be a the hard and fast rules to increasing organic search placement (even the most bullish SEO would never claim to know those). Rather, the report shows the characteristics of web pages that tend to rank higher, and uses survey respondents' data, experience and insight to create a list of correlating elements. From there, marketers can use this report as a guide for how they should optimize their site and focus their SEO efforts.
Results from this year's survey don't stray too far from years past. Links and keyword-focused content still seem as the most impactful elements. HTTPS and TLDs have little to no impact.
Below is a summary of the report results, and you can find the full report here.
What does this mean for brands and SEOs? Well, as much as most of us don't want to accept it, we still need to focus on generating high-quality, relevant links. Based on the report, it might seem that this focus is a higher priority that content, but I would argue they are actually equally important or that content is higher. Consider that content benefits both the search engine and the customer. With content, you can inform, provide value to and incite action from a consumer on your site. Customers don't necessarily receive any sort of value from links, if you think about link building as simply a tactic. So, I continue to believe that developing high-quality, focused and useful content, whether that's in the form of product or category descriptions, FAQs, ebooks, how-to videos or blog posts, is the important and impactful approach to a truly holistic SEO strategy.