Did you realise how important Google +1's are? Don't worry. Neither did I. I have spoken to many bloggers and marketers over the last year and the general consensus has been that Google +1's can help your article. I did not, however, know just how much weight Google placed on them.
Yesterday, Michael Scott from WP Hub pointed me towards an article by Cyrus Shepard entitled “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings“. For the article, the Moz team looked into whether Google +1's (i.e. shares on Google's social media platform) helped boost rankings on Google. The results showed that Google +1's had, on average, a larger influence on rankings than the number of domains an article had linking to it. The test also showed that Facebook likes, shares and comments; were also influential.
Matt Cutts from Google responded to the article and claimed that Google +1's are not used directly in Google's algorithm (however, we all know that what Google says and what Google does, are not always the same).
I believe that Google +1's can influence rankings on Google. How influential is something that we cannot know for certain. Matt Cutts stated that correlation != causation. That is, adding a +1 to an article does not mean it will have a higher ranking. Obviously, articles that are being shared more are generally of a high standard, so will have more +1's; however I do not believe that a bad article can go up in the rankings by simply getting more shares. What does seem certain is that +1's are a factor in how an article is ranked within Google.
The article also touched upon some other benefits of Google Plus such as posts getting indexed quickly and links within Google Plus passing link equity. I must admit that I have not paid as much attention to Google Plus as I should have. At the very least, I should be sharing my own articles with followers on Google Plus from time to time. The problem is that Google Plus currently only permits pages to be automatically updated. I cannot set it up so that my post updates are always published to my Google Plus account automatically.
So what does all of this mean for you and me? It means that we need to be giving more attention to Google Plus. That means interacting with others, sharing content and getting more followers. There is a fine line between networking and simply wasting your time; something I am always conscious of. I do, however, need to try.
I am not going to lie to you (or myself) and say that I am going to spend a lot of time on Google plus. As much as I am aware of the benefits of Google +1's, and social media as a whole, I do find maintaining my social media accounts tiring. Many bloggers and affiliate marketers spend hours on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus every day. I do want to connect with my readers, but I would rather connect in different ways and spend the majority of my time writing and working on projects.
If you cannot devote a lot of time to networking on Google Plus, you should still be aware of its benefits and make it possible for others to easily share your content there. Make sure your about page links to your websites and author profiles too.
To get a full picture of this issue, I recommend reading Cyrus's article in full via the link below