Google+ and SEO
Almost everything we see from Google effects SEO in some way or another, not least the latest algorithm changes such as Penguin and Panda. But one of the biggest changes of recent times hasn’t come in an algorithm change but in Google’s efforts to launch a social networking tool to compete with Facebook.
Now Google+, the social networking tool, may not have been the Facebook killer than Google hoped it would be, but neither is it going away any time soon. In fact it is gaining some useful traction in a number of key verticals, not least the SEO crowd.
It is no wonder that SEOers are jumping on board Google+ – it has had a big impact on the search engine results pages (SERPs) in a number of ways.
Google+’s Impact on SEO
There are two ways that Google+ has impacted SEO. One way is by giving new results to those that are signed into their Google account, the other is by impacting where sites are ranking inside the SERPs by using Google+ to give them more data.
Probably the main impact of Google+ has been in personalised search. Where before they may have impacted what you see based on location and previous activity, now the results are that much more personalised again.
You see information that is within your Google+ connections come up in the search – anything from blog posts to images. You also see information coming from companies that you connected with.
Have H&M in a circle in your Google+? Then expect to see videos and information form them come up in related searches, whereas it may not do otherwise.
It’s not just companies that are showing up in personalised search though. Comments on sites, any +1 button presses related to it, etc, come up in your search if your connections have performed those actions.
This can be great – it is wonderful to read what friends thought of something, but it can also be intrusive. Do you want to limit what you are looking for based on what a friend thought? Surely we already seek out enough people that think like us, only reading what they found as well would be limiting to how we think? But Google+ have included as an aspect of how it impacts SEO – because now interactions become an active part of SEO.
Even if you are not signed into Google and so receiving the personalised search results, Google+ is still having an impact on the SERPs.
Google have long used all sorts of Data to discover how people use various websites, and used this data to help rank sites. Things such as interacting with a site, length of time spent reading an article, clicking deeper, etc, have all impacted what Google thought of our site.
Google+ gives them that data a hundred fold, with info on those that have visited the site via them being tacked, and of course those hitting the Google+, +1 button currying favour with the search engine in a similar way (or perhaps even more so) than Facebook likes and Twitter ‘Tweets’.
Google+ has had a massive impact on SEO, in more ways than one. And my suspicion is that this is only the start of things to come.