Social media is more important to your rankings than ever before thanks to Google’s Hummingbird update, but not all platforms pack the same punch. As emphasized by aimClear’s social advertising director Merry Morud, in an SES Denver panel discussion, tweets, likes and follows are the new link-building, and a more democratized one at that. So now that the voice of the people will start impacting your rankings, it’s wise to note that some voices will be heard much more loudly than others, specifically those closest to Google’s ears: those on Google+.
Not All Interactions Are Equal
Moz made the connection back in 2013 with a scientific correlation study that revealed that a website’s total number of Google +1’s has the second biggest impact on search engine rankings (right after page authority) out of all ranking factors. “Google gets its purest social signals in Google+, and they can often impact SEO more than Facebook,” Morud said.
Aside from Google’s own preferences, the relatively young social network is worth prioritizing for its appeal to Facebook users who are fed up with the platform’s ad-cluttered newsfeed. “Facebook is getting too busy,” Morud said. “People are outgrowing [the platform]. Google+ being ad-free is going to be a plus for them.”
Despite the saturation of advertisements, the medium might not be as effective as it appears at garnering clicks. Morud cited client cases in which Facebook ad clicks were healthy, but unusually lopsided toward mobile. The disproportion stemmed from users unintentionally tapping ads while scrolling through their newsfeed on small mobile devices, or what Morud calls “fat finger syndrome.”
Engagement, Not Ads, Work Best On The Platform
Because Google+ currently does not allow advertisements, the best way to take advantage of the site is by actively participating, engaging members and sharing your own links. Moz’s report also found that content posted to Google+ is crawled almost instantaneously, so it’s a great place to start pushing your site’s blog. With more frequent crawls and an expected boom in users, Google+ looks like it’s going to be an effective resource to boost rankings and save a bit of your advertising budget,too.