For those of you wondering what good Google Plus is when you have facebook, here’s the answer. Forget everything else, assume Google Plus sucks at social networking, but Google can influence your website’s search engine rankings significantly – that is the truth.
Well, yes and no.
Yes because, if people Google Plus your article from your website (via the buttons that is), it influences as a positive factor to push that page up the search engine results page. But its not easy as you think.
It doesn’t work like, Plug the button > Get people to click it > Get better ranks – No!
Google Plus votes (let’s call all the clicks on the Google plus button as votes) works together with search engine data. If not, one can easily game the situation, right?
Already there are several services where you can buy Google Pluses in packages. But does these services help you other than showing off the numbers? I think no.
Because, from the webmasters data (social activity tool), we see that whenever a Google plus vote is cast on an article from your website, the following data is collected.
Search Impact Data from Google Plus
1. Referrer term: Original referring search term used to find the article from search engines (Google).
2. +1 Annotated impressions: The number of times a user saw/viewed that page(plus one’d page) in search results with a personalized (because someone in the user’s social connections already +1′d the page) or aggregated annotation.
3. +1 Annotated clicks: The number of times users clicked on a search result with a personalized annotation, because it was plus one’d.
4. All impressions v/s +1 Annotated impressions: The total number of times a user saw a page in search results, without a personalized annotation compared to with annotation.
5. All clicks v/s +1 Annotated clicks: The total number of times a user clicked on a page in search results with annotation compared to without annotation.
Google Plus Audience Data
The behavior of people who are plus one’ing pages from your website. There has to be a significant amount of people plus one’ing pages from your site to be able to get this data.
Which means that Google plus votes aren’t counted just by the clicks and numbers. Every single bit of data behind the vote/click is traced by Google and audited. Also, the data is tracked to see if the votes are bringing in recurring visitors – that is are users visiting the site because of a genuine google plus one vote? I assume the votes aggregate algorithmically when this happen.
Ideally, this is what should happen, for your website to be able to leverage on Google Plus votes for SEO.
- There should be a decent organic traffic to your website from Google.
- Users should be able to vote with Google Plus votes on these articles/pages.
- While the articles/pages show up as annotated results on search engine results pages, more visitors should follow it giving your site brownie points.
- This should be a static trend and not a one week process.
So, what should webmasters do to utilize Google Pluses influence on SEO?
Easy way out
Plug in Google plus buttons on all the pages and if possible prompt users to click on it. Although I agree that this is like shooting in the dark.
Hard way( the SEO way)
- Find out what are your top organic traffic generating pages on the site. (Analytics > Content > Filter by Non-Paid search)
- Use a referral detector plugin to detect search engine visitors to these pages and show them the Google plus button with a prompt.
Example: “Hello Google visitor, if you found this post interesting, please consider voting for it on Google Plus with the button below!”
- Stay away from buying Google Plus packages, as it will dilute your “real points”.
- May be this is a bit over the top, but I would suggest that you don’t show Google Plus buttons on other pages. But its up to you to decide.
Sidenote: Also, we’ve already seen that Facebook and Google don’t go together (facebook prefers bing) so we cannot be so sure about facebook likes influencing Google serps as the data is not available with google. But Google has its own “like” – which is the plus one button. Does that ring a bell?