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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."
David Moth

Published 24 July, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1674 more posts from this author

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Tony Dimmock

These figures amaze me!

Only 6% of companies see positive impact?! and 63% don't know What on earth are agencies doing to help them?

Off course Google+ affects search results..

1) Google owns Google+
2) Google+ PageRank
3) Authorship (visibility)
4) Building Sector Authority
5) User Engagement
6) Semantic Web (Identities & Entities..)

The list goes on..

My only take-away is that many agencies probably don't know enough themselves to be able to help clients use Google + effectively and drive more traffic.

Tony

almost 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Tony While there is definitely potential for Google+ to improve search, and you would think that authorship results alone would help CTR, there hasn't, as far as I know, been a definitive statement from Google or a study showing a definitive link between Google+ and search rankings.

Sure, there's been plenty of speculation about the way in which Google may use this, and studies showing a correlation (as below), I've yet to see definitive proof.

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7813-why-google-is-already-giving-google-better-social-ranking-signals-than-the-twitter-firehose

I think this explains the figures, though I would recommend the use of Google+ for authorship, and for its business pages.

almost 3 years ago

Antoine Becaglia

Antoine Becaglia, Digital Strategist at WebPropaganda Ltd

"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." does Facebook has an impact on search campaigns? If responses focused on visibility and rankings, I would rather think not.
It would be interesting to know what the other 49% of agencies said to compare.

almost 3 years ago

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Tim Acheson

"Higher rankings for those that utilise Google+ accounts and have social share icons (including Google+) on their blogs."

This untrue. If it were true, it would raise serious anti-competitive concerns. What's behind this rumour? There are no data whatsoever to support it. The SEO industry is supposed to be able to analyse data and draw conclusions and should not be making such bold statements with no evidence to back it up. Is Google promoting this misconception?

almost 3 years ago

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Tim Acheson

"Off course Google+ affects search results." [sic]

Nonsense. Give me evidence. Don't just give me reasons why you think it might be true. But that's all you can offer, because it's untrue.

People making claims with supporting evidence are a disgrace to the industry. This is meant to be an evidence led industry. It's becoming less science and more superstition.

almost 3 years ago

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Andrew Areoff

Google Authorship alone which is intrinsically tied to Google+ is impactful in terms of SEO results. Not necessarily in terms of increasing SERPS (at the moment) but if you imagine the first page of results where you are the only listing showing your profile picture alongside - this stands out immediately. Not only visually but also in terms of the assumed credibility and authority it conveys to the person searching for a result to click on that might give them what they want.

I look at this not primarily as an SEO/SEM expert but as a user experience expert and how things looks from the other side as it were, which is all that matters in the end.

almost 3 years ago

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Tim Acheson

"Google Authorship alone which is intrinsically tied to Google+ is impactful in terms of SEO results."

Prove it. I am tired of people making false statements like this. There is no evidence. It's fictional. You are either inventing it yourself or regurgitating a false rumour.

almost 3 years ago

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Tim Acheson

Pro tip for SEO professionals: don't make a claim you cannot substantiate.

Don't show me a theory and try to pass it off as fact. Show me the data, ideally in the form of a graph, to back it up.

almost 3 years ago

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Yasin Aydin

I can't believe that so many agencies (particularly ones that claim SEO as a service) are not using Google Plus.

I have had clients tell me that previous agencies have told them that G+ is pointless and a waste of time.

Fact of the matter is that these opinions are being spouted because people at those agencies have not bothered to take the time to do their research.

Those very same people will be the ones jumping on the bandwagon the minute it comes, and a lot of these will be pretending that they 'knew all along'.

Just because G+ doesn't make a huge impact now it does NOT mean it will forever remain that way. You assess the likelihood of that situation changing, anybody that has done that has come to the conclusion that G+ will make a much bigger difference to search results.

Google Authorship alone has shown posts with Authorship tied are more likely to be clicked on.

almost 3 years ago

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Carl Michael

I think that the consensus is that Google+ activity does in fact affect search results. I fear however that this will never be proven definitively.

If Google were to come out and say "hey guys, did you know that using Google+ helps boost your search ranking" then the EU commission would be be on their case in a heartbeat.

almost 3 years ago

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Carl Michael

I think that the consensus is that Google+ activity does in fact affect search results. I fear however that this will never be proven definitively.

If Google were to come out and say "hey guys, did you know that using Google+ helps boost your search ranking" then the EU commission would be be on their case in a heartbeat.

almost 3 years ago

Josh Gill

Josh Gill, Digital Marketing Executive at Mediademon

While there is debate over the effectiveness of Google+, Google Places is definitely having a massive effect on SERPS. And these can be linked to Google+ pages, so perhaps indirectly...

A Google Places listing which links to a website, complete with a high customer rating (30/30) and plenty customer reviews will more often than not achieve a high position in the rankings.

Rather than it being solely Google+ which affects SERPS, I see it as being a case of building a presence throughout Google, incorporating all of their tools to improve SEO.

Example of Google Places listings - https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=restaurants+lincoln&oq=restaurants+lincoln&aqs=chrome.0.69i57j0l3j69i62l2.2881j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

almost 3 years ago

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Brian O'Donnell

It's all in the headline: "49% of agencies say Google+ has impact on search campaigns" is the same story with a different spin. Or "opinion divided about Google+ search impact on search".

almost 3 years ago

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Olivier Rigaud

@Brian O'Donnell

Wrong, "49% of agencies say Google+ has impact on search campaigns" is not true! You forget the 28% who "don't know". It's only 20% of agencies who thinks Google+ has impact.

almost 3 years ago

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Harold Compton

If you are interested in some data on Google+ effectiveness check out this article: http://www.seoreseller.com/blog/study-google-presence-increasing-in-the-serps

almost 3 years ago

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Oliver

I never used G+. First just because I wanted to keep things simple - and then because nobody really could convince me of the big advantage. ... so this article is more or less typical.

Thank you for linking to the report.

Kind regards

Oliver
Berlin
www.oliverviel.com

over 2 years ago

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Mark

Maybe my last two comments were too long to be submitted, but I back up my statement with a new SEOmoz article about articles having impact in SERPS with little or no links. Gives more weight to the social sharing signals effect:

http://moz.com/blog/the-impact-of-authoritative-links-mentions-and-shares-on-rankings

over 2 years ago

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