Study: Google+ Has No Direct Ranking Benefit, Like Google's Cutts Said

Sep 18, 2013 • 8:39 am | comments (57) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google+ RankingsYou can now stop clicking the +1 button on my articles, they have no ranking benefit.

Eric Enge published an exhaustive study named Direct Measurement of Google Plus Impact on Search Rankings. In short, Google+ has no direct impact on your Google rankings, outside of personalization and of course, getting visibility out, which has a side impact of possibly getting more links. But standalone, Google+ has no direct impact on your rankings.

Didn't we know this? Yea, Matt Cutts of Google told us time and time again - but we don't believe Matt.

Here is a video interview between Eric Enge and Greg Jarboe on this study:

Forum discussion at Google+ and WebmasterWorld.

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Praveen Sharma

09/18/2013 12:56 pm

This is quite amazing, Matt said something... and someone (Moz - proved him wrong, now Eric proving Moz wrong. Webmasters are in dilemma now.

Sachin Bisaani

09/18/2013 01:29 pm

Google+ is i think only fresh data source fror Google

Silviu Fera

09/18/2013 01:34 pm

I don't agree, my experiments prove something else, Google + does matter in rankings.

Stone Temple Sewer Rat

09/18/2013 01:41 pm

Eric Enge is Mutt's bitch and this "study" is a sham. Why else would Google's supposed spam fighter promote a "link builder" ? Mutt also gave an interview there to drive business to him. Beware of the people and sites Mutt endorses 9Hello Barry Sullivan!)

Michael Tilma

09/18/2013 01:54 pm

The study is very interesting, but Eric himself points out its weaknesses. It's testing out the viability of a single ranking factor in a vacuum. The real world doesn't work like that (as he also points out himself). In addition, the shares were given text indicating that visitors should NOT click on the links so they could avoid other people linking to them. We already know that search engines pay attention to the text surrounding a link, so why would Google+ be any different? And there were a number of other issues with it that he also pointed out. Very interesting article, and very valuable, but it doesn't conclusively prove anything. It's well-titled - "no clear evidence".

Craig Hamilton-Parker

09/18/2013 02:03 pm

Well shave my beard and call me normal.... surely Google wouldn't trick us into promoting Google plus as a contender to FaceBook and give us nothing in return? That wouldn't be fair.


09/18/2013 02:29 pm

I know right.


09/18/2013 02:34 pm

This study is deeply flawed, even Erick said so but it's enough for Google to say, "see study..." When in trouble Matt Cutts and Google call on their supporters for help, that's why you see Danny Sullivan come with a story to show how Bing is worse than Google or how Google did something "inadvertently." It's a PR scam to use assets for planted stories.


09/18/2013 02:57 pm

I completely agree. I'm not going to show a bunch of research, but I have personally seen pages jump due to +1s and have had many youtube videos jump to page one on google and in testing I used google plus as the only source.


09/18/2013 03:26 pm

Baloneys... in a few years or less they will have enough votes and a way to determine which vote is not a spam... for sure it will impact rankings.


09/18/2013 04:01 pm

"Where the body is, the vultures will gather." comes to mind. Data is created and measured for a reason. Plus 1s serve several functions and I don't think Google will start talking about how those work except to declare that they don't work by themselves in a vacuum. The notion that Google isn't looking at the data from its newly analytics-designated "social data hub partners" seems illogical. Plus ones are probably a required correlation to the engagement on the social media channel as well as its referral traffic to outside websites. Only social media that Google can see into completely has the "partners" designation. I concur that +1s alone are filtered out but I bet that +1s along with engagement and other measurable actions like clicking through to visit a website probably have some bearing on how things are sorted out in search.

Laura Phillips

09/18/2013 04:32 pm

I have to agree with Dave, +1 may not have an effect now but there's no way it's just there for vanity, it's going to play its part.


09/18/2013 05:09 pm

I always assumed that the +1 was the same as the Facebook 'like'. It brings in all the brands and helps to sell advertisement. There is a reason Facebook doesn't have a 'don't like' button, and it has everything to do with keeping the people with money happy and nothing to do with the user. People can 'like' something that the Gap posts...but they can't 'don't like' because that wouldn't look good.


09/18/2013 05:10 pm

Google+ matters with logged in users. Point blank. (at this point in time). It helps return users and user commitment, but does not make or break anything, especially with organic SEO. The tests are ALL flawed because there are too many variables in place, even more so with these even more recent updates/refreshes.


09/18/2013 06:45 pm

anything that is cheat-friendly like likes and 1+ should not have an impact on rankings. Google engineers are not morons. If you can buy 10000 likes or 1+s why would it have an impact? Or people expect from Google to find out which 1+ are fake and which are real?


09/18/2013 09:08 pm

I've tested this myself and I know what works and what doesn't no matter of any of your study or what Matt Cutts is saying!!! THEY DO WORK!!! TRUST ME!!! TEST IT YOURSELF!!!


09/19/2013 03:44 am

would you people just shut up, if it works for you then great, keep making money and be grateful in silence, what's the deal with comming here and causing more problems for their PR team, I can't believe how many of you say you have ranked your sites and still you come here to complain, would you rather to have failed then? God sake


09/19/2013 03:54 am

Never believe on Google.

Jitendra Vaswani

09/19/2013 04:47 am

Agree with you mate They work

Jitendra Vaswani

09/19/2013 04:48 am

Yeah praveen we are all in dilemma

Nifs India

09/19/2013 05:22 am

If it is not that useful, then take off the button from the side of your blog mate....

Justin Clark

09/19/2013 05:27 am

it is because they don't want people use plus1 for spamming. but i feel it works.

Justin Clark

09/19/2013 05:30 am

here is a pic of seo cutts that says a lot

Shaffraz Mohamed

09/19/2013 05:46 am

I think g+ works well. You have understood the correlation in wrong way. You cannot tell that + will not work well only by testing couple of websites. In real world, your logic is not acceptable. Because it is the best way, let Google about fresh content.

Chitraparna Sinha

09/19/2013 05:55 am

They do work; maybe not directly to influence search rankings but they to render a lot of credibility. I also heard that sharing posts on G+ gets them indexed faster. How much is this true?

Chitraparna Sinha

09/19/2013 05:58 am

Forget everything and just focus on increasing brand visibility; whether its G+ or FB Likes, doesn't matter. Now they say that G+ doesn't influence ranking but who knows, they might do a complete turnaround a year later so its best to remain prepared.

Soni Sharma

09/19/2013 07:03 am

Google plus influence social search if you logged in with you Google account and if you are searching related to whatever your friends in circle shared and +1s you will see those results on top. As Google plus is social site and your searches may be influenced by your social circles. But it is true it has no direct impact on search rankings. Yes links from social media pages and sites will surely benefit in SERPs..

Rise of the Sapes

09/19/2013 07:08 am

hmmm g+ has no impact on search rankings,,, I'd better bing it to find out.

ewan watt

09/19/2013 07:27 am

This might be the case now, but do you think Google will add some weight to +1s in future?

Phil Williams

09/19/2013 07:37 am

Bing it lol is a much better search engine anyway. That's only my opinion!

Fredrik Eriksson

09/19/2013 07:59 am

Barry, really? It doesn't require a rocket scientist to understand that this study is completely useless. Your statement about this is inconclusive. Google work with over 200 signals (their own words) to define where to rank a page for a given search phrase. It's more likely than unlikely that IF Google were to use G+ as a signal, it would only act as an amplifier for other signals. Why should Google trust a page that the domain itself does not link to? Why should Google trust shares alone when other signals like links does not exist at all? How good was the content of the page? and so on... There is a lot of facts to look into to really define if it doesn't work or not. This test alone proves little. I trust my own findings (that is shared by most of the people in the comments) to be much more accurate.

MOS SEO Services

09/19/2013 08:17 am

So what's the point of using it then?

Deven Jadav

09/19/2013 08:44 am

Hey Barry, in that case if you don't want +1 from visitors, Removing that button from the website is best option.... Hahaha lol :)

Fred Anderson

09/19/2013 09:01 am

Who likes clikcing +1 on your articles!! huh

sunil kumar

09/19/2013 11:19 am

its better to use Facebook instead of Google+, at least we get the users and traffic from facebook and increase the ranking in search benefits of use Google+...


09/19/2013 11:40 am

You need to be very naive to think that this insignificant stupid button that is only used by a very tiny small minimal fraction of Internet users, works to improve rankings. Let's put it in real terms This button is mostly used by SEO's, Marketers and Graphic Designers SEO-Marketers Wanna-be's, and REMEMBER! if you work in any of the mentioned areas, Google and Matt Cutts are HATING YOU, and they are working hard in order to destroy you along with your business, SO, why the heck they are going to help you with your rankings if the very tiny small minimal fraction of people using this button, is the people that Google and Cutts want to ban from its boring and monotone search engine???


09/19/2013 12:22 pm

Correct, Google +1's don't do anything directly with your rankings, but indirectly Google + shares if done right can pass do follow links, which we all know is the main thing that Google consider, regardless of whether they confirm or deny that fact. People need to stop wasting their time on studies that have already been derailed a while back and think more about the next move that Google can make in their decision over what makes a site valuable to a user.

Curtis Worthington

09/19/2013 12:54 pm

I think Google+ shares will be included in the algorithm eventually, but I think it will depend on the specific person sharing the content based on not only their author rank but also what industry they specialise in. For example, if someone writes a great article on SEO, which then gets shared by industry specialists such as Rand Fishkin, AJ Kohn, Barry Schwartz etc. this would be a good sign that it is a great piece of content written about SEO. It would also be unlikely that a group of industry specialists would all share a low quality article. If the big guys are recommending the article, it's a good sign it has value to the user.

Kenneth von Rauch

09/19/2013 05:07 pm

Whatever you say guys, Google+ will DRASTICALLY influence rankings. Hands down! :)

Eric Enge

09/19/2013 06:39 pm

In my view, there are ways that Google Plus impacts SEO, but my belief is that it is not the same as a regular web link, for two reasons: 1. Too easy to game if that were the case, and it would quickly ruin G+ as a content sharing network. 2. Social shares require less effort to implement (don't even need to own a web site), and they involve less commitment (they scroll out of view after a while). That said, I do think there are other ways that it does matter: 1. Impacts personalization. 2. Google Plus shares can themselves show up in the search results. In addition to this, it is also possible that it can have impact on other ways. These are harder to prove, but it could also be used as a validating signal in conjunctions with other signals, such as links.


09/19/2013 11:38 pm

The only way that the G+1 button can help you is if you drop it and remove the JavaScript that comes with it, your site will load faster and that, according to many SEO people, really does helps to improve rankings. The same goes for the Facebook, Twitter and all that useless button that only make your site loading slow.

Gracious Store

09/20/2013 05:20 am

I'm glad the number of G+1s and hopefully Facebook likes and "dislikes" do not have any impart on the ranking of sites

Jitendra Vaswani

09/22/2013 03:50 am

It do have impact

Jitendra Vaswani

09/22/2013 03:51 am

Yes it will influence our rankings

Jitendra Vaswani

09/22/2013 03:51 am

I think combination of Facebook & G+ will be best , we get good traffic from both

Jitendra Vaswani

09/22/2013 03:52 am

Yes Chitra they work . Me using g+ platform very effectively

Gracious Store

09/22/2013 06:07 pm

How does the G+1s impact ranking besides may be giving your site more traffic?


09/23/2013 02:52 am

Exactly that's the catch. So google will give importance to only those G+ shares which are recommended by top industry specialists, becz they have an authority in the market itself. Good point Curtis!

Jitendra Vaswani

09/23/2013 06:09 am

Many webmaster have claimed that G+ have impact on rankings.


09/23/2013 07:10 am

If I buy 10k of G+, will it help?

Jakub Gerža

09/23/2013 11:30 am

Impact directly on Ranking is not. But if you give +1 to some site or URL, this site will be shown on yout top SERP results (person. searching). So,,,

Gracious Store

09/23/2013 09:39 pm

Anybody can claim anything. Do they have practical proves to justify their claims when Google say that the the number of G+s does not after a site's ranking. Who is correct? Google who is the one that implements ranking or the webmasters who claim that the rank of the sites were bumped up because of their G+1s?

Jitendra Vaswani

09/24/2013 04:49 am

Different webmaster have different opinions regarding this. It can be true or false. It is SEO world where nothing can be predicted in advance.

Stew the poo

09/24/2013 07:39 pm

That's bullshit. It's not what you know but who you know. I don't like that.

sunil kumar

09/25/2013 07:17 am

@jitendravaswani:disqus: may be you are getting double traffic from facebook and google+, its better you use facebook and linkedin combination..because in every phase google promote google+ and said that they are not providing direct ranking, nofollow links and what is the benefit for google+...they want to use google+ as an google adwords..only for advertising and only for business...

Curtis Worthington

09/25/2013 07:55 am

Same as everything I guess.

Alexander Edbom

10/04/2013 01:46 pm

Good one :p

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