How Google+ Can Increase Your Search Rankings

Google+ page management interface may not be the best example of UX engineering, being pretty confusing to use, but it does not mean that Google+ itself has no place in your SEO strategy. If anything, perhaps upping your efforts on Google+ might be what you should focus on this year.

While it is true that Google+ lags considerably behind popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the social media realm, for SEOs it is still the number one social media to focus on due to the incredibly high correlation between +1s and increased searched rankings. In fact, the number of +1s has a higher correlation with search rankings even than well-known top ranking factors such as links and keywords! Only page authority managed to beat it in terms of correlation. Of course, lots of +1s might have a far larger impact in Google’s SERPs than it would on other search engine, but then with Google still being the most popular search engine the value of +1s cannot be brushed off.

While you might argue the never-changing point that correlation does not equal causation, common sense tells us that this correlation is sound with Google obviously not averse to being biased for its own social media service.

If you’re not that convinced that Google+ posts and +1s matter, here are some points raised Cyrus Shepard that might convince you of the correlation’s validity:

  1. Quick indexing of Google+ posts – Since Google+ is Google’s (duh?) they are able to crawl posts without a hitch and without regard for any privacy issues that might restrict them from doing so with other social sites. That said, you can bet that posts you share on Google+ will be indexed pretty fast giving you instant backlinks to your pages. Of course, having it re-shared or +1’d by people in your circles will also be immediately noticed by Google. While this is the stuff nightmares are made of for those concerned about privacy rights, this is the perfect opportunity for SEOs to get quick links the white hat way.
  2. Links on Google+ posts pass link juice – It’s a bit funny that Google has decided to allow link equity to be passed on from Google+ shares, with them knowing perfectly well how this tack can be abused in time by link builders. Still, perhaps in their desire to encourage use of the social service, it’s the way things are. So it obviously follows that the more +1s and re-shares on Google+ your post gets, the better your page will do in rankings. If anything, this justifies the correlation data.
  3. Google+ posts are structured like blog posts – Google has structured posts of Google+ like blog posts, giving them their own URLs, considering the first 50 characters as part of the title tag, and allowing for internal link accumulation (posts get link juice that are considered internal links when re-shared in Google+). These characteristics make each post on Google+ important since the post itself can rank well in Google’s SERPs as well as send relevancy signals to the page the post itself links to.

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