In fact, if getting organic web traffic from Google is important to your business then I strongly believe that Google plus should be important too.
One of the key benefits of Google plus for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the ability of each of your Google plus posts to appear in the Google search engine results of people who have added you their Circles.
But I’m not writing about that today.
I’m writing about an experiment that I did on the power of Google plus to help your web content/blog articles rank higher in the Google search results.
Gurus that I trust have written about the benefits of Google plus for SEO.
- In August 2013 Moz published Amazing Correlation between +1’s and search rankings
- In November 2013 Search Engine Watch published Google+ & SEO: How Google+ impacts search rankings
Added to the evidence I’ve read about, my key go-to-guy for all things Google+ and mentor via the Plus Your Business Academy, Martin Shervington of Plus Your Business strongly advocates that once an article has enough social engagement (by the right people) on Google+, it’s a signal that Google should show that article to more people via the organic search results.
Being a Scientist by nature I decided to do an experiment to test the impact of +1’s from Google+ on the ranking of an article published here on my blog, which has reasonable Google authority in small business terms, but nothing like the authority of Moz, Search Engine Watch or Plus Your Business.
In April, I published an article titled “Google Analytics Best Practices“, primarily because I wanted to help my readers get more from Google Analytics, and also with the secondary aim of testing how the article would rank in Google for that keyword phrase (Google Analytics best practices).
The ranking information that I provide below is based on “incognito” search results, so that personalisation (ie Google knowing that I visit my own website regularly!) and Google+ connections aren’t factored in.
When I first published the article, after it had been indexed but before I shared it anywhere via social media, it ranked in Position 11 on Page two of the Google (Australia) search results.
Then, I shared it via social media, including Google+. At the time of writing this article the article had accumulated 174 +1’s from Google plus. A +1 is like a “like” on Facebook.
I thought this was a reasonable indication of the overall social media engagement the article was receiving so I watched the ranking.
And watched the ranking.
I’m not a patient person so after a week, when the ranking hadn’t changed, I asked Martin for advice. He replied to wait a few weeks and I should see the ranking improve.
So I waited. And to be frank, forgot about the experiment, published more articles and moved on.
I remembered the experiment about a month after I had published the article.
Straight away I searched Google (Australia) for my target keyword phrase.
And there you go.
Position 5 in incognito search as shown in the screen shot below.
I’m the first one to admit that this one test is not conclusive evidence by any means. But it is a great example. Although it’s more than likely that there are other factors involved in the ranking improvement, from the time I published the article, to the time it’s ranking improved, the only change I’m aware of was the Google+ engagement and other social media activity.
Plus, given how much time and resources it can take to get a piece of web content ranking on page one of Google, why wouldn’t you put some of that time into building your Google plus network, getting engaged with people and sharing your content there?
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.