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How To Earn Brownie Points In SEO

February 27th, 2014 by

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Can a Google+ account improve your website’s search engine rankings? Jason Stevens investigates…

By now, the world, its wife, and its business partners know that social media and blogging play a key role in where a website appears in a search engine ranking.

What is less clear is how Google+ plays into this equation, especially in the light of recent algorithm changes.  This SEO landscape is a minefield and it’s worth taking a look at a recent Search Engine Ranking Factor report by search-gurus MOZ for clarification.

“Every two years, Moz surveys over 100 top industry professionals to compile our biennial Search Engine Ranking Factors. For 2013, we’ve supplemented the survey with real-world correlation data from a scientific examination of over 17,000 keyword search results by Dr. Matt Peters and his data science team,” said MOZ on its blog.

One key finding shines out of this report like a lighthouse in the fog. MOZ’s analysis shows an amazing correlation between the number of Google+1’s and higher rankings, even though Google representatives state +1’s aren’t used in the algorithm.

Is this just a coincidence, then?  Well, the jury still seems to be out on this question, but most experts seem to be saying that Google+ does matter – a lot!  This becomes clearer when one considers new authorship features, which Google has introduced inside Google+ that additionally connect to Google Webmaster Tools.

“By comparing the data, we find that high-ranking URLs are more highly correlated with page-level link metrics than general domain-level link metrics,” said MOZ.

“What’s really incredible about this view is that Page Authority is the most highly correlated metric in this year’s study at 0.39, making it one of the most highly correlated SEO metrics we’ve ever observed.”

In a nutshell, Google is asking site owners to make sure that any piece of content published on a blog or website has a credible author byline and photo associated with it.  Having a Google+ profile essentially validates this byline and vice versa.

Just bear in mind that if the above is true it may work well today, but not tomorrow.  Essentially, Google seems to be telling us that we should focus our efforts on producing content that is relevant to the user, not to Google. Google+ does partly help Google evaluate whether you are doing this, but it still has a very long way to go before it can be sure.

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