Home How Will Google Plus Affect SEO?

How Will Google Plus Affect SEO?

Google Plus has been live for barely two weeks, but inevitably, online marketers and search engine optimization experts are curious about how the new social product might influence organic search rankings in the future.

Officially, there’s no official indication of how Plus will affect SEO, but plenty of speculation and some obvious hints about where things may be headed.

Signs Point to Social Factors Influencing Search Rankings

Even before Google rolled out the +1 button (a precursor to Google Plus itself), social factors from sites like Twitter and Facebook were already being baked into search engine result pages (SERPs), even if the extent of their immediate influence on Page Rank wasn’t immediately obvious.

For example, research has indicated that the number of retweets a link gets on Twitter has an effect on how it’s indexed on Google, or at least that was the case before Google quietly cut off the Twitter firehose from their search results and folded its real-time search feature earlier this month.

With Google Plus and the +1 button, the social activities are taking place on Google itself, so it’s hard to imagine things like the number of +1 button clicks a given page gets wouldn’t have an effect on that page’s organic rankings.

Twitter Remains Relevant, But Google Plus’s Impact is Less Clear

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEO software vendor SEOMoz recently undertook some experiments on Twitter and Google Plus to see how these social media sites change search rankings, especially in light of recent changes to Google’s real-time search feature.

Fishkin created a series of unique, unindexed URL’s and shared them exclusively on Twitter before and after the Google firehose shutoff. He then shared another URL exclusively via Google Plus. In each case, he asked followers to retweet or reshare the post, but not to do so outside of the originating social site.

The results showed that even though the Twitter firehose was no longer flowing directly Google’s way, tweets and retweets still aid in page indexation. One possible factor here is the many tweet-scraping sites that automatically republish tweets outside of Twitter.com.

In the Google Plus sharing experiment, the test page was ranked #1 on Google within 2 hours, showing that Google’s new social product can help pages get indexed, although not quite as quickly as Twitter used to. In terms of actual rankings, the SEOMoz team wasn’t able to find a correlation there.

Too Early in the Game to Tell

It’s hard to imagine that Google Plus and the +1 won’t have a substantial impact on both indexation and ranking of URL’s in search results. Not only is the +1 button included on every post within Google Plus and on content publishers’ Websites, but it’s literally sitting next to every single search result that Google returns. Whatever the algorithmic effect this may have in the future, right now it’s probably too early to accurately predict.

What do you think? Will Google Plus revolutionize SEO or do you see it having only a minimal effect?

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