Have you ever wondered how Google+ may impact your Google rankings?

Last week Eric Enge posted results from his recent test to determine whether or not Google+ shares impact your Google rankings.  The goal of the test was to prove that more shares of a webpage on Google’s social network, Google+, would lead to higher Google rankings for that webpage.

Intuitively the hypothesis makes sense.  If a lot of people are sharing a webpage on Google+, then the webpage is very popular and should logically be ranked higher in Google’s search results than other less popular webpages.  Wouldn’t you agree?

To make an even more compelling case, we can look at how the hyperlinks in Google+ shares are coded.  If you’re familiar with SEO, then you know that getting hyperlinks from other websites is a huge factor in improving your  search rankings.  (If you didn’t know this, then read this article.)

When you take a closer look at the hyperlinks in Google+ shares you’ll notice they do not include the “nofollow” attribute.  That means the hyperlinks should count for SEO.  So the more Google+ shares you get, the more links you’ll get to your webpage, which should naturally boost your rankings.

But that’s NOT what this test revealed… And Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, also went on the record to say that Google+ shares do NOT impact your rankings.

Uh oh.. Does this mean Google+ is a complete waste of time for SEO?  Not exactly…


How Google+ Helps Your SEO

It’s possible the test was flawed, Matt Cutts is a liar, and Google+ shares do in fact improve your SEO.  However, it’s not likely based on the evidence at this point.  So the real value of Google+ for SEO is not in the hyperlinks or in the sheer number of shares.

So how does Google+ help your SEO?

Here are 3 key benefits:

  1. Google+ shares are another content distribution channel.  More shares equals more distribution, which can lead to more people linking to your webpage.  In turn, more links increase your rankings in Google.  So even if the Google+ shares do not directly impact your rankings, the resulting links certainly will have a positive effect.
  2. Google+ affects the personalized results of your Google+ friends and followers.  For example, if you Follow our Google+ Business Page then our posts will rank higher in your Google search results simply because of our connection on the Google+ network. Did you catch the significance of what I just wrote?  If you can get your prospects and customers to Follow your Google+ business page, then you will have a competitive advantage in the search results!
  3. Google+ Authorship is a signal that can improve webpage rankings according to Matt Cutts.  For more information about how to set up your author information, click here.

As you can see, there is still a lot of SEO value in Google+ regardless of whether or not the shares directly improve your search rankings.