Since the latest Panda “data refresh”, digital marketers have noted that Google+ and the +1 button are a force to be reckoned with in SEO.
Mashable’s Keith Kaplan has written today about the potential importance of the +1 button, and the effect it could indirectly have on search engine optimisation.
His article clarifies that the +1 button contributes to the creation of a wider social graph, allowing Google to track relevancy through social media traction. In Conversation Marketing, a recent blog also noted that sites with more +1 ratings tend to show higher in SERPs, even though it is not officially a ranking factor.
Because the +1 button works in many ways like a stamp of approval, the higher the number of +1s a site has, the more likely it is that the site will have a high click-through rate. The higher the click-through rate, the more likely it is that the page will be shared on Facebook and Twitter. An experiment by Rand Fishkin (SEOMoz) recently showed that social shares were creating higher rankings. So, in an indirect but possibly meaningful way, +1 can affect SEO.
The feature is still very new, and Google themselves are proceeding with caution, saying: “For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we are starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”