+1 and Shares is not SEO!

Matt Cutts, Googles Head of Webspam, rarely is crystal clear. But when it comes to +1s as a factor in SEO link building it is another story.

A few days ago Matt Cutts wrote a comment on Hacker News;

just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation: http://xkcd.com/552/

But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares: http://moz.com/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influ… . From that blog post from two years ago: “One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position.”

This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: “Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph).”

If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.

Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.

There is no ambiguities in this comment, Google does not use Facebook shares or +1 in their algorithm, everyone who claim otherwise simply have to take that discussion with Google engineers and persuade them that they certainly added it to the algorithm, perhaps in their sleep.

Trackbacks

  1. […] reason why social signals have such small impact – if any – in Google’s algorithm is because it is to easy to manipulate. This means it makes it […]

  2. […] reason why social signals have such small impact – if any – in Google’s algorithm is because it is too easy to manipulate. This means it makes it […]