Hallam Internet - Digital Marketing Consultants

The increasing impact of Google+ on the SEO Industry

Posted 06/06/2013

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As I’m sure you’re aware, social media can be utilised as a means of evolving your brand identity, interacting with potential customers and even driving traffic to your businesses website. However, you may not be aware of the increasing impact that social media, and Google+ in particular, is having on the SEO industry.

Google+’s Impact on Rankings

However much you may have tried to ignore it, Google+ is seemingly here to stay. Google+ activity and +1′s, as a whole, have been seen to result in improved rankings on Google.  Indeed, the impact of Google+ is even more apparent when it comes to local SEO.

Specifically, Google will take into account the number of shares, the authority of people sharing your content, and the location of the individual interacting with your content. Therefore, it’s imperative that you make your content shareable and clearly signpost a link to your company Google+ page on your website.

Personalised search results

By default, Google returns search results that are the most relevant to you personally, assuming you are logged in to a Google account.  Personalised search results will obviously include content that correlates with your search, but will also show “pages, photos, and Google+ posts from your friends”.  Google personalises search results in order “to deliver you the most useful, relevant content for your search.”

Therefore, if a number of individuals in your Google+ circles have +1’d a certain shoe store and you’re signed in to your Google account, this store should appear higher in the search results than it otherwise may have done whenever you carry out a related search query.

Like it or lump it, personalised search results are decreasing the influence of SEO in a number of areas. Instead, personalised factors are having an ever-increasing impact on which sites feature for certain search queries.

Google Authorship

Google+ is literally changing the face of SEO.  I’ve just discussed how personalised search results are determined based on the information Google has gathered from your Google+ circles, but the influence of Google+ in the search engine’s results pages has had even greater visibility since the introduction of Google Authorship.

Many Google search results pages now show the picture of the author next to the content that he/she has produced.  You’ve probably already encountered search results that look like this:

Google+ authorship

The example above shows author images appearing next to the content they’re attributed to, and if you haven’t already done so then I’d encourage you to link your Google+ profile to any blog content you’re currently producing.  Articles with Google+ author images by the side of them are proven to increase click-through rates by 150% compared to those articles without Google authorship.  Not only this, but those articles with Google authorship are also given a line of extra space in the search results, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s worth spending time linking your posts up to your Google+ profile!  As the saying goes – it pays to be seen. In other words, it pays to be active on social media networks like Google+, which is where these author images originate.

The Growing Impact of Google+ on SEO

Google+ is the social network that’s having the biggest impact on SEO today, and it’s influence is only going to grow. Facebook may have a bigger market share, but Facebook doesn’t write the algorithms for the most widely used search engine in the world; Google does.

Indeed, there are already arguments claiming that Google+ authorship will directly impact search results in the near future.  To explain how this might work, here’s a description from Google (visible in a patent for Agent Rank):

“The name of the writer can be used to influence the ranking of web search results by indicating the writer responsible for a particular content piece … Assuming that a given writer has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that writer will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable writers in search results.”

Conclusion

The impact of Google+ on the search engines is clear to be seen, and still evolving, which is characteristic of the SEO industry as a whole.  It’s sometimes easy to forget that anything created on the internet is in fact social.  Every article we read or website we visit is connected with an individual author or business, complete with their own Google+ profile or company page.  Therefore, the impact of social on SEO is only going to increase as the connection between websites and their human owners becomes more visible.

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Comments
  1. Susan Hallam

    Be sure to watch Matt Cutts’ video on Google Authorship:

    http://www.seroundtable.com/google-rel-author-spam-fighting-16892.html

    He definitely signals that Authorship is the way forward in fighting spam and improving quality.

    In the video he says, “We might be able to help improve search quality… and I think will continue to look at it to see how to use rel=author in ways that can improve search experience.”

    Susan Hallam

  2. Thanks for the as ever useful blog posts.

    This Google+ stuff is getting really scary in how it affects our Google search ranking for our business website.

    One question how does Google+ define between personal ranking – for say blog posts and business ranking for company websites ?

    I did some digging around Google yesterday to see how we ranked ( something I do often) and also looked into upgrading to Google+ but got totally bamboozled with what Google+ was actually trying to achieve – with a business website angle in mind.

    Confused – me to
    Alan

    Alan

    • Ben Wood

      Thanks Alan.

      Indeed, Google authorship was recently discussed at one of the biggest search marketing conferences and there are clear signs that articles/discussion pieces with authorship are ranking higher than similar posts without authorship mark-up.

      There has also been discussion about whether business sites as a whole or just article page rankings are being impacted. I certainly wouldn’t advise adding authorship to an entire site, only the blog posts or articles you publish. However, if you’re producing quality content on a regular basis that’s marked up in a way that Google suggests, then I suspect they’ll take this into account in the future when assessing the quality of the site as a whole.

      If you’d like to discuss this further please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

      Ben

      Ben Wood

  3. Thanks for clearly identifying the importance of Google+ for SEO. I’ve created a Google+ business page but not done anything with it.
    What’s the best way to “link your Google+ profile to any blog content you’re currently producing” ? Put a link into each blog post?
    In fact, here’s a suggestion for a blog post for you guys:
    “Linked-up SEO – how to best join up your different web presences – website,blog,facebook,google+,twitter etc”

    CHeers!

    Laurence Jones

    • Ben Wood

      Thanks Laurence. Google+ authorship isn’t designed to be linked to a business page, it is meant to relate to an individuals Google+ profile. You can however add the rel=publisher tag to attribute the post to your business as well as using Google+ authorship to link the post to an individual at the business. This post outlines how to add the rel=author (authorship) code to your site/blog posts: http://webfor.com/how-to-implement-rel-author

      Ben Wood

  4. Hi

    On our blog we have posts form a few different authors.

    I suppose its ok to put the authors profile on each post they produce and I guess they would add my site to their pages where it says contributer to…..

    We also have the G+ rel publisher code on the site.

    Hope to hear from you!

    Dan

    • Ben Wood

      Hi Dan,

      Yes that’s correct. As you mentioned, they’d need to add the link from their individual G+ ‘contributor to’ sections to point to your site/blog URL.

      Hope this helps!

      Ben

      Ben Wood

  5. Hi Ben
    What would it cost to do the link for me?
    I have loads of blogs and youtube videos with over 500 subscribers which I occasionally post to google plus ( which I don’t understand, has it merged with google places?)
    I get totally confused with all this social media stuff that I give up and just do what I can.
    I like the idea of the picture of the author, I seemed to optimise well for cocaine addiction Birmingham ( hypnotherapist and NLP trainer by the way) and sometimes 3 of my videos have come up on a page but not sure how I achieved this to replicate it elsewhere
    Help :)

    Debbie Williams

    • Susan Hallam

      Hi Debbie
      Give us a ring on 0115 948 0123 and we can have a quick chat about how we can work together to get your Google+ and authorship working.
      Kind regards
      Susan

      ps – Ben is away at Glastonbury!

      Susan Hallam

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