Posted by: Chris Horner ( SEO Specialist ) | June 6, 2011

Google Plus One

There’s a chart that SEOmoz published a while back that breaks down the contributory factors behind Google’s algorithm – the impact of the various that lead to your search placement.

Here it is;

Google Ranking Algorithm – SEOmoz

As dated as the chart now undoubtedly is it offers a clear a useful overview or the relative impact of various search signals as well as providing a clear point of reference against which to map any subsequent developments. For example they say that trust/authority of the host domain contributes 23.87% of the overall algorithm. Link popularity of a specific page accounts for 22.03%. On-page keyword usage is 15.4% of the algo. According to SEOmoz only 5.30% of the overall algorithm is made up of social graph metrics. It’s this social measurement that is perhaps the most interesting (and the most prone to adjustment) as Google has sought to integrate a range of social signals into it’s algorithm to reflect the increasing importance it places on social media as a guide to relevance and delivering high quality search returns.

New SEO Analysis

Here’s a new analysis, again offered by SEOmoz that shows a clear acknowledgement of the importance of social search into SEO. Just take a look at the Facebook Shares bar! Little wonder that Google have got in on the ‘Like’ button recommendation act with the new Google +1 social metric.

Whilst it’s important to appreciate that the chart shows correlation and NOT causation – the returns may simply reflect the existing relevance of pages that deliver consequential social signals and not the social signals themselves causing relevance. That said,  the correlation is so strong that really it’s hard to escape the conclusion that yes, social matters, and it seems to matters a great deal. To the point in fact that some SEOs, including Tom Critchlow VP Operations for Distilled in New York believe that: “inbound marketing is going to overtake SEO as the primary function of SEO professionals.” In his analysis of the new Google +1 roll out he continues: “Engaging across social channels to get links, shares, likes, comments and +1s is going to be the future for generating organic traffic to your site. Not just from Google but these channels are increasingly driving significant volumes of traffic in their own right.”

Powerful stuff and a swift and decisive evolution of SEO that unless you are willing and able to embrace will leave you out in the cold.

As Google says on its blog – “The +1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.”

Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.

It’s not a question of whether +1 will impact on your SEO. It’s a question of how much. Best get on board.

If you’re looking for a detailed and technical insight and explanation of the Google +1 concept check out Ruud Hein’s analysis How Google +1 Works For Ranking (SEO Theory) over at

The Better Your Site the Better Google +1 Is For You

In many ways though, if you are already building your SEO and your online profile upon strong, high quality content this shift to more social signals is great news. Google +1 is simply another route to endorsement, another opportunity for quality content to be acknowledged and rewarded. As a component of Google’s overall signal ecosystem Google +1 or any of the other users-generated signals will be much more hassle than it’s worth to try and game. You might as well focus your energy and resources on putting together a decent destination in the first place! By abstracting the genuine user-generated value of sites relevance will be easier to identify. Sure, some sectors and some sites, by their nature are incompatible with high degrees of social sharing but as Critchlow points out: “For these industries I think (hope) Google will normalise the impact and won’t let the “fun” site outrank the “useful” site – they can easily tell which niches have a lot of social activity and those that don’t. For the more mundane/commercial industries Google will fall back on the regular signals of links.”
With Google +1 buttons now available to add to any site chance are you will start to see them pretty much wherever you go enabling you to recommend content to your friends and contacts directly. Have you checked out Google +1 yet and how it can help your SEO? Need more information? Want so expert advice? Contact me today to find how how you can integrate Google +1 into your site and how it can help you SEO.



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