Though it took some time, Google finally took the step to enter the social media arena with Google Plus. The platform is fairly intuitive to use and has had strong growth since its implementation. Organization through Circles provides an excellent way for the user to direct the correct content to the appropriate audience. Of course, businesses and marketers want to know how Google Plus is impacting SEO.
*Matt Cutts, Principle Search Engineer, Speaks On Google Plus And SEO
“When someone recommends something, that’s a pretty good indicator of quality. We are strongly looking at using this in our rankings.”
A quick comparison of the indexing method of Google to the Google Plus system will show many familiarities. Both systems operate off of the same premise- people are going to link to think that they find useful for themselves or their audience. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that morelinks means better quality.
*Implementation In SEO Tactics
Google Plus should not derail your SEO strategy because +1’s do not actually affect your PageRank. A person that is signed into a Google account will see websites that their friends +1’d interspersed through the results page. However, if a searcher signs out of Google Plus, the SERPs will provide results as though none of those pages had any +1’s at all. The system does not know that it should be showing that relevant information to the searcher.
A webmaster that wants to make the most of this information should encourage their visitors to +1 the page if they like it. This will drastically increase exposure on relevant searches through those peoples’ contacts. Do not solely rely on it as it has no bearing on people that do not have a Google account.
Will this change in the future? As per Matt’s statement, it seems that Google would like to move in that direction. A reasonable conclusion from a business whose focus is connecting people to the information they need.
*Pushing Back Against Black Hatters
Google fights a perpetual tug-of-war with people that utilize Black Hat techniques. Each update tends to push more of the borderline Grey activities out while working to stomp out unfair advantages through Black. The Panda update was no exception. Though people will look to find a way to exploit Google Plus and +1’s for their benefit, the actual execution makes it difficult.
A person that gives a +1 to a website is essentially giving their nod to it. What good is it to have a bunch of bot accounts +1’ing websites to show each other? The +1 does not have any affect on the actual PageRank of the website; only on how it is viewed. It adds a lot of weight to the personal interaction and recommendation of one contact to another through Google Plus. How many people are going to have spam marketing accounts and bots as contacts? Not many.
*Exploitation And Adaptation
At present, there are very few sound Black Hat approaches to exploiting Google Plus or the +1 button. We should expect that with enough time, Black Hatters will find a way to try and game the system. The people that pursue their Google Plus presence and build organically will get passed over once Google drops the hammer. Each update provides more safeguards to ensure searchers are able to find quality information. There is no reason to expect this standard to change.
We want to hear what you think in the comments! Do you think Black Hatters will find a way to exploit the system for gain? Or is Google on the right track with essentially hemming in exposure to a more personal level with Google Plus?