Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Oops! Google+ Driving Rankings? Maybe Not.

google-plus1-buttonLast month we wrote about how you can boost rankings in Google with Google+ shares and +1 indicators. That was based on two studies by Moz and SearchMetrics, that seemed to show a strong correlation between Google+ and +1s and high rankings in Google.

However, a new study reminds us that correlation doesn’t imply causation.

Eric Enge has done another study to see if he could replicate the results, and he writes about his conclusions on SearchEngineLand. While the report on his study may be a little too detailed (okay, maybe a lot too detailed) and dry for many of our readers, here are the main conclusions:

  1. Google+ shares do drive discovery. They help Google find the material in the first place.
  2. Google+ shares appear to drive indexing, which is the logging of information about the material in the index used to draw search rankings from.
  3. They saw no material evidence of Google+ shares driving ranking.

google-plus-logo-240It may be that some of the very factors that cause a page to rank highly also cause it to be widely shared on Google+. That would account for the strong correlation between the two without requiring that one (shares on Google+) actually causes the other (high rankings on Google).

So, I guess I’m eating a little humble pie here and retracting some of what I said in my August 30th post. Some of those conclusions are still valid, though. I’m referring to the three bullet points near the end of my blog post about advantages of Google+ for search rankings.

There are still some powerful benefits of using the Google 1 button, too, as explained by Robin Strohmaier at Social Solutions Collective.

If you enjoyed this post, would you please +1 it with the button below and to the left? Thanks.

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