Google Says Google+ Doesn’t Influence Rankings

Google +1s

Does Google+ influence search rankings to any noticeable degree? It’s one of the most hotly debated issues in all of search engine optimization and digital marketing right now. A lot of people, experts included, are claiming that not only does Google+ have an affect on rankings, it is one of the most important ranking factors going. Other people, also experts included, are saying that it makes no appreciable difference. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Let’s take a look at the newest opinion to hit the scene, one that carries a lot of weight.

Did you read the title? It’s Google’s own resident SEO ambassador and mouthpiece, Matt Cutts. He has come out to say that there is absolutely no relation between Google +1s and search rankings. Now, anecdotal evidence points to him being wrong, but anecdotal evidence is just that: anecdotal. According to Matt Cutts, “correlation != causation.”  In case you aren’t code literate, != means “not equal to.”

It’s not just Google+ either. According to Cutts, Facebook likes also do nothing for your ranking. What actually influences rankings, according to Cutts, is compelling content. Getting a lot of likes and +1s is just a symptom. When you make great content, Google loves it, and so do people, so they share it around. Here’s how Matt sums it up:

“If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.”

Is Matt telling the truth here? That’s the real question. A common theory is that Matt Cutts works for Google, and job is to preserve the secret sauce, giving away just enough info to help without ever actually showing Google’s hand. That may be what’s happening here. We’d say that focusing on creating great content is a good primary objective, but paying attention to the social side at least a little never hurt anyone.

Original post on Wikimotive’s Blog.

Tim Martell

Timothy Martell is a digital marketing and SEO expert regularly sought out by both media and industry leaders for his opinion on social media marketing campaigns that really work. Timothy has been seen on MSNBC and Dateline, has been interviewed twice by Facebook for his successful dealership advertising campaigns, has been a featured speaker at automotive conferences such as, DMSC, AMBC, and the Driving Sales Executive Summit and has been featured on the cover of AutoSuccess magazine. Timothy is known for pushing the boundaries of conventional automotive thinking and producing social media campaigns that generate massive numbers of followers leading to record ROI.

7 thoughts on “Google Says Google+ Doesn’t Influence Rankings

  1. Despite what he says, it is my experience that +1 helps page rank. I’ve read countless articles that seem to believe this is the case and I’d find it extremely difficult to believe otherwise.

  2. I’m one of those people that shouts “get to Google because it’s very important and does help your search rank.” I have since they created it! I think you are correct about the sauce! 😉

  3. Is Matt actually lying. Nope.

    Lets look at his premise. He says google loves content people are sharing. So considering that the more an article is shared the higher the probability people are going to view that article he could be correct.

  4. If google+ does not increase your SEO, then why put the effort into marketing it? Also, if you get a plus or likes on facebook that usually means that the content posted was good and viewers were impressed with it. So if having good content is the way to increase SEO and getting a plus means you have good content, then it would seem pluses do in fact increase SEO.

  5. I find in unlikely that something as easily gamed as +1s and “likes” affect SEO, however that is not to say that Google+ and Facebook don’t affect SEO. I think it much more likely that shares impact overall SEO, and to take a step further, the perceived authority of the one doing the sharing may change the value of the share.

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