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Google +1s And Their Strong Correlation With Better Search Engine Rankings
Posted by Cameron Francis on September 04, 2013 in SEO,Social Media

Every couple of years Moz conducts a correlation study to determine the characteristics of web pages that are associated with high Google rankings. Recently, the Data Science team at Moz determined how Google +1s correlate with better rankings.

The results of this study were quite revealing. With the exception of page authority, the amount of Google +1s for a particular URL have a higher correlation with improved search engine rankings than any of the other metrics. As a matter of fact, Google +1s proved to be more significant than Facebook shares, the number of root domains linking to the site, and keyword use.

Additional studies, including one performed by Searchmetrics, have come to the same conclusion. Searchmetrics determined that Google +1s were highly correlated to better search rankings, and additional studies have come to the same conclusion.

Why Google +1s Are Significant?

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A couple of years ago, in 2011, Moz had a controversial study that found a correlation between Facebook activity and higher search engine rankings. At that time, Google stated that they did not use Facebook shares as a ranking factor. Moz came to the conclusion that Facebook activity and better rankings were not related directly, but likely caused due to factors that were overlapping like content of high quality and links.

This year there is strong evidence that leads us to believe that the scenario is different with Google Plus and that the higher rankings associated with posting on Google Plus are related to actual causation, rather than merely correlation.

Google +1s are more highly correlated for increased search engine rankings than is Facebook activity, in addition, the Google Plus platform has several characteristics that make it much better for SEO. These characteristics suggest that content sharing on Google Plus can influence search engine rankings in several ways that are significant.

The designers of Google Plus, constructed it for Search Engine Optimisation. You should consider the characteristics of Google Plus that make content sharing much different than sharing content on other social platforms.

Google Plus Posts Are Rapidly Crawled And Indexed

An original design goal for Google Plus was to use it to assist real-time search when Twitter terminated firehose data access to Google in 2011. Since that time, Google has been making use of Google Plus to identify new content, and numerous internet pros have found that URLs that are posted on Google Plus are indexed very rapidly.

You can compare this with Facebook. Since there are restrictions and privacy settings on Facebook data sharing, quite often posts are not indexed or crawled at all by Google.

Dissimilar to Facebook, where data is hidden from Google crawlers, or Twitter where most of its links are not followed by Google, data on Google Plus is fully and immediately accessible to Google.

Link Equity Is Passed By Google Plus Posts

Posts and pages on Google Plus will actually get Page Rank, and since links to these posts are followed, they will also pass on link equity.

When a link is shared on Google Plus, the title of the page you share is its anchor text. Here are some things of importance you should know regarding followed links in Google Plus:

  • Only links that are shared are followed. Any links you place with the body of a post itself are no-follow links, so they will not pass link equity.
  • Images that are uploaded will not pass link equity. Some individuals are in a habit of uploading a screenshot of a web page and then create a link to it in the post body. An appealing image may boost the popularity of a post and its CTR, however, these posts won’t pass any link equity.
  • Many links in your Google Plus “About” page will also be followed and therefore pass link equity.

Semantic Relevance Is Optimised In Google Plus

Dissimilar to Twitter or Facebook, every post in Google Plus has the majority of the characteristics that are associated with a blog posting.

  • Every post will have a URL of its own
  • The title tag is comprised of the first fifty characters of the post
  • Similar to a blog post, a Google Plus post can be complex and long to deeply explore a subject. Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between longer posts and better search engine rankings.  
  •  When a Google Plus post is re-shared, it will accumulate additional internet links from Google     Plus, and all will have anchor text that is relevant. 

Due to these factors, every post can potentially send semantic signals that are strong to Google’s search engine algorithm. This will assist the post to rank better in Google, and it can also indicate relevancy for a URL that has been shared in the post.

How About Publisher And Author Rank?

Numerous publishers have included authorship information from Google Plus on their sites so that the photograph of the author will show up in Google search engine results. Some are under the impression that at some point in time Google may use authorship information associated with Google Plus Account as a ranking factor.

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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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