Rand prefaces the discussion by boldly stating that they are “a few months away from reversing Google’s algorithm.” If that does happen, just know that WebProNews broke the story. 🙂 As we all wait on that to occur, Rand tells of a different approach that SEOs can implement.
Traditionally, SEOs look at PageRank to determine how well they rank and how and why someone ranks above or below them. Rand says this methodology is not much better than random guessing. The actual correlation that SEOmoz found is that basing actions on PageRank is only about 3 percent better than guessing.
He instead suggests acting upon data driven metrics. Take advantage of third-party data to estimate traffic competitively. For this, Rand recommends sites such as Compete, Alexa, and Quantcast. There are also tools that Rand recommends for predicting search engine rankings. They are Yahoo Site Explorer, PageRank, and Linkscape.
Rand strongly advocates this idea of bringing mathematics and statistics into SEO. He does however, believe that not one single metric should be held as the key. Link popularity is still the most prominent factor by nearly 75 percent and is followed by keywords and content.