Searchmetrics.com, an authority in search analysis, released their list of search ranking factors for Google US. And guess what comes out top? Yep, Google +1’s.
You’d be forgiven for answering “links” to that question, as most of us know that link building has played a major part of search engine optimization for many years. The truth is though, that we need to understand that they aren't as important as they used to be. In fact, according to the study, they are now on a par with other social signals such as Facebook shares and comments.
As a search analyst, I’m seeing evidence that correlates with this data every day.
Blogs that have been working tirelessly to build a strong social media presence are benefiting from not only improved search positioning, but the referral traffic that these social signals send. While those blogs that focused more heavily on link building and Page Rank are now seeing more and more of those “built links” lose importance as Google gets clever.
Links are still important, I'm not suggesting that you forget about them because they still play a significant role, but rather focus on earning real quality links instead of building them. You can use your USP to influence these in marketing.
View the results of Searchmetrics study here.
Why Do I Need Google +1’s?
+1’s are Google user's way of saying “hey I like this”, much in the same way that Facebook likes work. They are embedded across the internet just begging for a click from those browsing. A click on a +1 button is like a vote from that person.
From the Searchmetrics study we can see that Google +1’s are not just a margin ahead of other social channels when it comes to importance, they are quite a leap ahead. Google have been pushing website and blog marketers towards using their services in order to help them better understand how to serve up search results in an unbiased way.
In the past, serving up unbiased results is something Google has found difficult due to the nature of webspam. However they are now looking more at “things” rather than “strings”. That is people rather than numbers and entities rather than keywords. An example of this is Google Authorship, which is a way for bloggers to send signals to Google that they wrote a particular article on the internet.
Social signals can not be faked. Sure, you can buy a few thousand “likes” for $10 but you won’t get any real engagement from these types of followers. And trust me, nothing looks more spammy in social media than a business page with 10,000 likes and no engagement.
How do I get Google +1’s
Now we understand that Google +1’s are the most important signal for ranking in search results, we need to understand how to get more of them naturally.
First of all you need to set up a Google+ page for your blog and verify your site on the new page so that its linked properly.
Next you should make sure to add the +1 button to your blogs homepage. You will notice that any +1 your new Google+ page garners will also be reflected within the button on your homepage, the numbers should correlate exactly.
There are a mass of communities in Google, these work in a similar way to groups in Facebook. You can either be invited to join or you should ask to join all the communities you can find that are actively engaging in your particular niche. Now every piece of good content that you share with these communities will earn you engagement. Every +1 that a post you share earns, isn’t only reflected by that post, its also added to your Google+ page +1’s, and your blog homepage +1’s too. This is the most important ranking signal you can earn!
Of course there is no guarantee that your posts will attract +1’s. You still have to work on ensuring quality content is published that will engage your readers, and you still have ensure that its relevant, but if you believe in promoting quality original content, as Google so desperately does, you will be rewarded with a relevant growth of traffic to your blog.
What type of success are you seeing with Google +1's? Share your tips with us.
VIDEO from Ms. Ileane: Get More Google + 1s And Social Shares by Installing the Digg Digg Plugin for WordPress