Do You Believe Google+ Affects Search Results?
I’ve been a believer in the power of Google+ as a social network since mid 2012. I’ve been trying to convince clients, contacts, social media peers, and some SEO professionals about the merits of Google+ and the fact that Google Plus affects search results, website optimization and SEO in many significant ways.
Not everyone believes that Google+ affects search results or is even a ranking factor. Search Engine Land claims in a study that there is no clear evidence that Google+ affects search engine rankings. The author certainly makes some worthy points that may in fact be true.
There are many that do understand and have experienced how Google Plus affects search results and these people will be believers for life. I’m one of them. I have personally experienced results from the power of Google+ and the effect it has in my clients’ SEO.
Searchmetrics, a company that designed unique search analytics software, released a study this year focused on SEO Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation for Google USA. In this study, Google+ is the number 1 ranking factor for SEO.
Whether people are ready to accept it or not, as The Guardian (UK) stated, Google+ is essential for business. People like to interact with their favourite brands and companies who’s products and services they love. Facebook isn’t the only place to brands to interact with their customers.
In fact, brand interaction on Google + has increased by 45.5% between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013. See why I keep preaching that Google Plus affects search results and SEO?
Google has recently confirmed 200 SEO ranking factors – not in order mind you, but you’ll see that Google+ and social shares in general are shown as prominent ranking factors.
If you’re not a believer of this fact that Google Plus affects search results, let me try and convince you with the following two points posted on SearchEngineWatch and brilliantly illustrated by Eric Enge, president of Stone Temple Consulting.
How Google+ Affect Search Results
Google has been dealing in personalized search for many years. While users can choose to be “logged in to Google” while searching and therefore take advantage of personalized search results, users can also choose to not use this feature.
The great thing about personalized search is that your search results are more geared towards your interests, your web browsing history, your web browsing behaviour, as well as the interests and web browsing behaviour of your friends on social networks like Facebook and Google+ of course.
You’re using Google’s search engine, doesn’t it make sense that Google will show you relevant search results from their social network, Google+, over Facebook or Twitter? I’d say sure it does! Continue reading below for a prime example.
“The most straightforward way Google+ impacts search results is with personalization. For example, if someone is following you on Google+, the chances that they will see your posts in Google’s search results go way up. To illustrate, let’s look at an example:”
“The highlighted listing shown ranks in position 2 in the organic search results, but ranks only in position 12 when I do an incognito search. This is a big impact! The reason for the change in the personalized results is that four people I follow on Google+ have +1’d the content.”
Eric goes on to provide another example of a previous column of his that received more than 1000 +1’s. He states that this article will be more likely to show up in those 1000+ people’s search results (using relevant keywords of course), and that it’s also more likely to show up for all users that follow those 1000+ people who originally +1’d his post!
“This means that there are two bites at this apple already:
- People who follow me on Google+ are more likely to see it.
- People who follow anyone who +1’s the content are more likely to see it.
This is already a very big deal. If you can build a strong audience of your own, or if major influencers in your market space +1 or share the content, this can get you a lot of exposure to your target market.”
Talk about mass exposure and eyeballs through simple social sharing and the social signals that are created. If you want your content to spread, make it compelling, engaging, and useful to your readers AND share it on social networks including Google+.
2. Google+ Post in the SERPs
Google+ content is routinely showing up in search results. This has nothing to do with personalization either. In his post, Eric shows us that strong content, posted on Google+, will routinely show up in relevant search results. These listings could be from people you follow on Google+ or not and whether you search signed in to Google or in incognito mode.
This is huge news for content producers. In my opinion, a proactive and smart content producer will not only have their Google Authorship set up, but will be producing regular, relevant, quality content on their website, submitting that link to Google, sharing the link on all major and relevant social network, including Google+.
When that content starts to pick up steam and starts getting shared between your communities and beyond, valuable social signals will be generated which will positively influence your SEO, search engine rankings, website traffic, and conversions!
How about that for social media ROI?
Social Media Optimization
It’s important to research your keywords for all of your content. Not only your website content, but all of your social media content as well. Be prepared to deploy comprehensive Social Media Optimization (SMO) on all the copy in your social posts, especially on Google Plus. Utilize 1-2 keyword rich hashtags as well. Some social networks like Pinterest allow up to 500 characters in the description. Utilize this entire space with relevant copy but be sure not to keyword stuff. Write for the user, not there search engine but include keyword rich copy.
This will allow your content to be found not only on social networks including Google+ but also in the SERPs (search engine results page). If users are searching for your targeted keywords, these words will be bolded in the SERPs. While they may not serve as ranking factors, they will certainly serve as relevancy factors to both the user and the search engine.
Is Google+ The Answer To High Rankings?
No. Google+ may not be the new “white-hat” SEO tactic. It’s also not the be all and end all for your website optimization and SEO strategy. It is however a critical element that must be part of your social marketing mix.
The two points above clearly show it’s worth the time to invest posting your awesome content on Google+. You should also be spending 15-20 minutes a day trying to expand your Google+ network and engage with your followers or other people who are in your niche.
If you found this interesting, click over to Eric’s full post and read the rest. He lists more detailed insights and discusses if Google+ can also impact non-personalized rankings of content created off platform. Which is an interesting question in its own right.
If you’d like any help with Google+, Google Authorship, SEO, or SMO, please reach out via email to set up a complimentary hour consultation via Skype, phone, or Google Hangout!