To what degree does Google+ help with search engine rankings? MOZ released a recent study reporting that Google+ “pluses” or activity on an organization’s Google+ account were one of the top single “influencers” of better search engine placement. “Pluses” in the Google+ environment function as endorsements similar to likes on other social networks.
Of course the more ‘pluses’ one receives, the more popular the content. Google relies on these pluses to measure how others view the value of the content or information.
After working Google+ hard for over a year now, we have come to observe a couple statistics relative to Google+ engagement. Like the MOZ study, Google+ does positively influence search engine placement. Observing a few sites where the only real outreach was through Google+ determined that improved search engine rankings were likely due to the additional ‘pluses’ for G+ content. After looking at a couple other situations though, we can report some other interesting outcomes
Original Content vs. Reposting
Using Google+ to promote new website content appears to be hugely important in not only generating attention and attracting new readers, but in improving placement for key search terms. Sites that continually promote their original content tend to perform better in the search than sites that receive ‘plusses’ for recycling or reposting others’ content.
Creating and distributing unique blog content – even short pieces that others find valuable and contribute their ‘pluses’ to endorse the content. Interestingly, the most positive ranking improvements involved a website with an attached Google+ page that had a steady mix of re-posted as well as original content. On average, it appears that linking to four to five original pieces of content per week – along with several re-posted articles, seemed to produce the best improvement in search engine rankings.
How many pluses does it take to improve rankings? There appear to be several answers to this question. Were the pluses largely earned for original content? Or were they exclusively received for content re-posted from elsewhere. These are questions unique to the algorithm, but it makes logical sense that pluses received for original content are more highly valued. In the end, there appear to be several milestones for which Google will reward the core website with better search placement.
These milestones seem to be at the 1,000 and 3,000 plus levels. Websites with attached Google+ sites that achieve the 1,000 plus level can usually notice improvements in their rankings. However, particularly at the 3,000 level for sites with higher levels of original content, site placement can improve quite dramatically. One site we’ve worked with achieved the #1 ranking for several highly competitive local search terms after hitting the 3k level. Prior to hitting the 3,000 plus level, the site ranked #1 for between six and 10 key phrases depending on the day. Reaching that 3,000 plus plateau yielded a great number of additional #1 placements.
What it Takes to Win at Google+
Excelling at Google+ management so that you can improve your search engine rankings is a long term effort. Interacting with others to build the network takes time and a commitment to be engaged. Investment in continually producing and promoting good and valuable content is another ‘must’ to be successful.
While there are circle strategies that can help grow one’s community, the core success factor remains good quality content. Creating valuable content and promoting on Google+ as part of a long term strategy can produce solid results.