Matt Cutts Debunks Google Plus Votes as Important Ranking Factors

Do Google +1’s Improve rankings in Google natural SERPs?

There’s a lot of strange SEO news about at the moment. Mostly down to ‘correlation’ studies showing Google Plus votes correlation with high rankings. That observation may well be true – but important ranking factor it does not automatically make them, and that’s what a lot of people on the fringes of SEO think when they see these studies. Google +1s are NOWHERE near as important as good link from a trusted site.

So I chimed in:


… though today, somebody with a lot more clout than myself chimed in too…. Matt Cutts (Google)

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: 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:… .

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.

Do we always listen to Matt Cutts? Well, in between his PR, there are a lot of truths, too. I think so, anyway…. Do you listen to Moz? This SEO community has a history (some of which is seen in the above quote) of producing, at least, controversial studies.

Read how Matt Cutts debunks Google+ as ranking factors  – see the full discussion here – (hey remember to come back and give me a [insert relevant social network vote as you are probably not really allowed to ask for them])

Ranking correlation does not = ….. ranking factors.  I usually do without “correlation’ analysis.

I wouldn’t be spamming Google+ for votes. Not yet – and hey, do you really want to be spamming Google’s social network and not think Google will punish this later, like it has done with low-quality links?

Note – a few people have said they will share with me some data on this that might prove otherwise. If I am blogging something different tomorrow, you’ll know I have changed my mind. I will be swayed with empirical evidence.

Newsjacked via Dave. Follow him here.

Being INVOLVED IN GOOGLE PLUS IS important in 2016, though – and maybe even – a must-have marketing tool for your business:

Is there anyone out there who still wants to say that being on Google+ doesn’t matter? Anyone? Because when being on Google+ means that you potentially can have your Google+ page leap to the top in those sidebar results, Google+ matters. It matters more than ever before. Danny Sullivan – Search Engine Land

  • Share on Google Plus
  • Share on Linkedin

Get Your Free Ebook

Hobo UK SEO A Beginner's Guide V3 2015: by Shaun Anderson

Join over 20,000 fans of our newsletter and download your FREE training guide.

Privacy Policy