Our weeklong series continues today with a research post on Google+ as an SEO tool by digital strategist, Brent. Earlier this week, we discussed Circles and tomorrow we’ll end our series with our take on Hangouts. This series was composed as a response to last week’s Business Insider article, More Hints That Google+ Is A Deserted Wasteland by Matt Rosoff.
The initial buzz of Google+ included a lot of talk on its innovative design and the introduction of Circles. Since then, analytics on the tool have begun to show that investing time into the development of a Google social media strategy can be money well spent. No reason is more apparent than the effect of Google+ on search engine optimization (SEO).
Two recent add-ons to the Google+ Platform have been “Business Pages” and the allowance of Web Crawlers to search through Google+ entries. These two additions can work together to increase the page rank for a website in search results. Companies can do more than relying on mentions, tweets or Facebook shares; they can now improve their search ranks by encouraging others to participate in the offerings of Google+.
How powerful is Google+ as an SEO tool exactly? To better understand how the Google+ button affects SEO, we performed an in-house experiment.
We started out by selecting three business websites that had no SEO strategy in place prior to being developed. None of these company websites were specifically designed to include keywords, and as a result, their search rank lagged behind their local competitors.
The +1 button was added to these sites, and we encouraged our friends to support our cause by clicking the buttons after entering common search terms associated with the businesses.
After one week, our experiment turned up inconclusive results. Out of the three websites we tested, one company’s page rank improved drastically, but the other two sites showed little or no change at all. This could be the experiment’s small test pool or because we simply measured the short-term effects. We’ll be keeping our eye on how these results grow (or stay the same) over the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, try it yourself and let us know what you think.
Here are some simple ways to augment your website with Google+ features:
Share Your URL Over Google+: The more your site is cross-linked, the more your rank improves
Increase Your Circles: Your rank improves with the more people in your Circles that visit your site or click on your site’s +1 button
Add the +1 Button to Your Website:
Create a Call to Action: Encourage visitors to +1 your page on your site