Each two years, the team known as Moz will run a study of scientific correlation to determine the amount of quality of websites that have a powerful association with high ranking in Google. For the first time in history, this year the Data Team of Science called Moz and Dr. Matt Peters estimated and measured the correlation in between higher rankings and Google +1s.

The results were very shocking.

After page authority, the number that a URL has of Google +1s is more correlated with the search rankings than all other factors. As a matter of fact, the correlation of the Google +1s beats all of the other well known metrics which include keyword usage, Facebook shares and even linking root domains.

Moz is not the only one that has discovered this type of relationship. Searchmetrics, using a similar yet different technique, found that the Google +1s are the highest correlated factor that they had studied, and many other studies have found the same results.

Here is the million dollar inquiry: Is Google+ able to help your pages get higher rankings?

Beyond Correlation: Why Does It Matter This Time

Back in the year 2011, many folks might remember the controversy that began when Moz had found a similar correlation in between Facebook activity and higher rankings. At that time, Google had claimed that they were not using Facebook shares for ranking the websites. Dr. Peters actually concluded that the higher rankings and Facebook activity relationship was most likely not related directly, but probably due to overlapping elements such as high quality content and links.

Now here we are in 2013, and there is a strong reason to think that it is different with Google+, and that the relationship between higher rankings and +1s goes far beyond the correlation and into a territory of actual causation. (This needs to say ÔÇ£Google+ postingÔÇØ rather than Google +1s. It is obvious that Google does not use the raw amount of +1s directly in the search algorithm, however their posts have search engine optimization benefits unlike any other social platform.)

Not only is the +1s correlation much higher than activity from Facebook, but also the Google+ platform has many qualities that make it much more superior as a platform for search engine optimization. These qualities recommend that sharing the content on the Google+ platform has the potential of influencing the search rankings in dramatic ways.

Whether it is intentional or not, those engineers that developed Google+, created it for search engine optimization. Think about the factors that make content sharing on Google+ far better than sharing on any other social network:

1. The Posts Are Indexed And Crawled Almost Instantly

One of the primary goals of Google+ was to use it to power real-time searching shortly after Twitter had cut of the Google access to information back in 2011. Since this time, Google has been making use of Google+ to find fresh content, and many of the online professionals have found that the URL’s shared with Google+ are indexed and crawled very quickly.

Let’s compare this with Facebook, where because of the restriction and privacy settings of data sharing, it isn’t uncommon for the posts to never be indexed or crawled by Google ever.

Rather than Facebook, which will hide the information from Twitter or Google, which directs Google to not follow the majority of it’s links, Google+ information is instantly and completely accessible to the business that created it.

2. Google Posts Pass The Link Equity

Posts and pages on Google+ will not only build up page ranking, but since the links of the posts are followed, they will also pass link equity on too.

By using the all free MozBar, you are able to see the links that are followed on a normal page from Google+.

When you are sharing a link on Google+, the anchor texts is then the title of your page that you are sharing. Some very vital things that you need to keep in mind about the followed links within your Google+ include:

  • Only the links that are shared (or the links that are showing up under your post) will be followed. Any of the external links that add within the body of the post will not be followed, therefore they will not pass any link equity.
  • For reasons that are obvious, images that you upload will not pass external link equity. While a great image is able to increase the click through rate and the popularity of the post, these posts will not actually pass the link equity.
  • Certain links within your Google+ page ÔÇ£AboutÔÇØ are also not going to be followed and will not be passing link equity.

3. Google+ Has Been Optimized For Semantic Relevance

Rather than Twitter or Facebook, every post that you make within Google+ has the majority of the characteristics of a full blown posting on a blog.

  • Every post has their own URL
  • The initial 40-50 characters of the posting are found within the title tag
  • Similar to a blog posting, entries may be complex and long to deeply explore the subject. Various studies of correlation have shown a stronger relationship between higher rankings and longer pages.
  • If the posting is re-shared, it is able to accumulate internal links from the platform of Google+, all with anchor text that is relevant.

Due to these factors, every post has the ability to send out strong semantic signals to the search algorithm of Google. This will not only help the post ranking in the search results of Google, but it will also send signals of relevancy to URL’s that are shared by the posting.

What About Publisher Rank and Author Rank?

A lot of publishers have implemented Google+ authorship information within their sites to be able to have author photographs appearing in the search results of Google. Another hope is that one day Google will be using the information of authorship (as well as the publisher information) that is connected to the Google+ accounts to be able to rank the sites.

While there is no real evidence that Google is using anything such as Author Ranking at this time, many feel that it will be here before too long.

Taking Advantage of The Google+ Platform For Search Engine Optimization

While there are literally hundreds of ways that you are able to optimize your experience of Google+, the most important actions may be summed up with these nine special points:

1. Start Building Your Relationships With Google+ Right Now

It is never too late for your to begin. Google+ is a great social network. By following expert individuals, commenting on their postings, and sharing your own great content will not only help you to increase your own influence, but it is also very educational.

2. Post Content On Google+ That Is Worthy Of Sharing To Attract Natural Links

When you are sharing content, you should never just post a link and leave it at that. Add some additional value with relevant and commentary information.

Think of these as being examples of long posts on Google+. Each will seem like a mini blog posting and will add highly linkable and shareable content. It is not recommended to replace your own personal blog with your Google+ account, however sometimes just a few lines of content will make a great difference.

3. Add Information of Google Authorship To You Content Online

Including rel=ÔÇØauthorÔÇØ into your website is kind of a no-brainer. If you are guest posting or contributing to content on some other high quality websites, ask the publisher if they are willing to add some author markup to your bio.


4. Link To All Relevant Profiles From The ÔÇ£AboutÔÇØ Page of Your Google+ Account

Consider Google+ as a main hub for your virtual identity online. Google will offer many places to link to various profiles, sites that you are contributing content to, and sites that you would just like to share.

5. Take Advantage of rel=ÔÇØpublisherÔÇØ When You Connect Your Site To Your Google+ Brand Page

This is if you happen to be a business, a brand or an organization.

6. Make Your Content Simple To Share With Social Sharing Buttons On Google+

You would think that the majority of people will like to include a social sharing button along with their content, however some people are just too stubborn. Never be stubborn.

7. Fill Your Google+ Profile Out Completely With Engaging and Relevant Information

The details and information that you are providing in your profile will influence how you are showing up in the search results on Google+ and it will play a role in who Google suggests that should follow you.

8. Make It Simple For Others To Add You To Their Circles

Use the easy to create badges from Google, or you can create your very own and place them on your profiles online so others are able to add you to their circles easily.


9. Make Your Posts Public

Posts that are being shared privately will not pass on the same amount of publicity as those that are shared publicly. For purposes of search engine optimization, you will most likely want your posts to be spread around as much as you can. Philipp Steuer created this great Google+ inforgraphic that simplifies the complexities of who is going to be viewing your post:

Additional Resources For Great Success

There are some complete books that are written all about using Google+ to help boost your efforts of search engine optimization. Most of these books contain nearly 100% of what you need to know to be successful with using your Google+ account.


Originally Published in Moz by Cyrus-Shepard