Every now and then a report is published that suggests people are slowly coming round to the idea of using Google+, however the reality is that it is still a long, long way behind Facebook in terms of active users and average time spent on the site.

Also, I recently looked at how major retailers use Google+ and it’s clear that they don’t have a very high opinion of the network.

But there’s still a nagging sense that businesses can’t afford to totally ignore G+, as there’s a chance that in the long term it will have an increasing influence on search rankings.

Given this discussion, the use of G+ was explored in the new Econsultancy/NetBooster UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2013. It revealed some striking differences between client-side and agency responses over the perceived impact of G+.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of client-side respondents stated that they don’t know if Google+ is having an impact on their search campaigns, compared to just 28% of agency respondents.

This could of course be an accurate reflection of the situation, or it could be that agencies are less willing to admit they’re unsure of G+’s influence over search results.

Obviously this means that a greater proportion of agencies knew what impact Google+ was having on their clients’ campaigns and in the majority of cases this impact was ‘neutral’ (51%). 

An additional 20% believed the impact to be ‘positive’, and no agencies thought it was negative.

What impact is Google+ having on your/your clients’ search campaigns?

Google+’s positive impact

Respondents were asked to expand on why they thought Google+ was having a positive or negative impact on search campaigns.

Positive views from companies focused on the greater visibility allowed, and some have seen improved CTRs through use of Google+. Agency responses also focused on visibility and rankings.

A sample of agency responses regarding the positive impact include:

  • “Making content more visible in the SERPS through authorship mark-up.”
  • “Higher rankings for those that utilise Google+ accounts and have social share icons (including Google+) on their blogs.”
  • “Social extensions drive purchase intent.”
  • “Greater SERP ownership on brand terms.”
  • “Increased referral traffic.”