Google +1s Do Not Increase Rankings

Google Plus 1 Google +1s may or may not increase ranking depending on whose Kool-Aid you drink.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post regarding a MOZ Google+1 correlation study sensationally entitled “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Search Ranking”. The article suggests (with its title) that a correlation exists between Google +1 shares and higher search ranking. Some took the MOZ article writer to task, including Google Web Spam Team head Matt Cutts who points out the error in logic and who went as far as saying that he’d “be skeptical of anyone who claimed more +1s lead to higher ranking”.

Funny thing is, I know many SEO companies who have operated for a couple of years insisting Google +1s are the magic bullet. There are a plethora of articles on the Web showing you how to +1 boost your rankings, claiming to the the next best Google-gaming hack: a powerful, easy rank manipulation tactic on crack.

In our study, and in my opinion, Google Plus Shares did not drive any material rankings changes (of non-personalized results) that we could detect. Eric Enge – Stone Temple Consulting.

Today Stone Temple Consulting released its own Google +1 study which suggests there is no correlation between Google +1s and ranking. Stone Temple’s Eric Enge states that an earlier study he’d conducted convinced him that Google +1s act much like backlinks. He believed there was a correlation, too, until he reran the study using different methodology (prompted by Cutts who disagreed with his initial methodology and conclusion) that would ensure Google +1s were the only factor that could influence rank.

Though the study is hardly a large enough sampling to be definitive, it does suggest (at least for the sites in the study) that Google +1s don’t boost jack. What Google +1s do achieve, the study results suggest, is content discovery and indexation. Web designers and SEO folks are obsessive about what’s in the wind. They hear murmurs about what ranks a page and follow the murmurs into the dark wilds. Sometimes the murmurs bring them to pleasant babbling brooks where ranking rainbows shimmer with the promise of gold, and other times the murmurs lead them to the truth. How many SEOs have been +1 gaming for last couple of years? Many. On to the next best thing since teeny-weeny hidden text 😉

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