Newsletter signup:

The business of social media marketing, storytelling and gamification

Social Business

Integrating social business thinking and technologies throughout the enterprise.

Social Analytics

The business of social media listening, understanding and reputation


Social media meets social responsibility.

Social Commerce

Where social media relationships translate into transactions

Home » industry research, News, Social Media News

A strong Google+ presence is key to search engine discoverability, new study shows

Submitted by on June 27, 2013 – 8:52 am2 Comments

Brands with a strong presence on Google+ and Facebook are more likely to appear higher in Google rankings, while the search benefits of keyword domain names has dropped, a new report has found.

According to Searchmetrics’ Rank Correlation 2013 study, social signals such as Facebook likes and shares, tweets and Google +1s all correlate closely with Google rankings. However, Google +1s – perhaps unsurprisingly – correlate more strongly, with a correlation coefficient of +0.4.

Facebook shares were the second most closely linked social signal, with a correlation of +0.34, followed by tweets on Twitter and pins on Pinterest, with correlations of +0.28 and +0.29 respectively.

However, there is debate as to the validity of these correlations. As Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober says: “The pages in top positions in the search results stand out with a very high mass of social signals. Of course there’s a lot of debate about whether social signals directly influence rankings or are just closely correlated with rankings – because highly ranked pages will get more traffic and so attract more shares, likes, plus ones etc.

He added: “At Searchmetrics we’ve done a number of studies – that we plan to publish in coming months – which indicate that social signals do in fact have an influence on rankings.”

Other key findings from the report show that:

Quality content is important for search rankings

Although the study did show that a positive relationship between text/images and ranking dropped off after around 10,000 characters. “So you can’t just go on adding text in the hope it will continue to drive a more positive rankings boost,” Tober notes.

Keyword domains and keywork links have lost relevance

The study found that having a keyword in the domain name has only a low positive correlation (+0.03) down from +0.11 in 2012, while having a keyword in the URL or web page address has declined from a correlation of +0.04 in 2012 to an even lower +0.01 in 2013.

Backlinks remain vital

“Pages with more links rank even better,” Tober summarizes. “However, it’s not just the quantity that matters, but more the quality. The more natural the link profile, the greater the prospect of a positive ranking.”

To get the most benefit, the report says, a site needs to have a spread of links that looks natural – not artificially created by SEO experts.




  • Sebastian says:

    The problem with these reports is that correlation does not imply causation. Odds are if the site had a G+ profile then there’s probably someone who knows enough about social networks and SEO to help the site as a whole.

  • Chris Lang says:

    Funny that this site does not have a prominent G+ +1 button.

    But you do have a nice big Twitter and Facebook button. Not sure that adds up guys. But yes, I do agree, +1s, an active well crafted Google+ page and high author rank from a personal profile do add up to higher rankings. As does all whitehat social annotations.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.