Google+ does NOT help you gain higher search engine rankings. We know that because Google themselves say so. Indeed, one of their leading engineers Matt Cutts even went so far as having to debunk the widely held theory in a forum discussion.
Well that just goes to show how much Google knows about its own product.
Here’s proof that Google+ DOES affect your search engine ranking. Take a look at the two searches below:
The same search has been conducted using the same browser on the same computer within 30 seconds of each other. The top one was made when logged in to a Google account, the second was made when logged out.
Apart from the fact that the logged in search has ten million more results than the logged out account, notice the difference in the number one item offered by each results.
In the logged in version the number one result is from “socialmediatoday.com” but that is now the number three result when the same search is completed when logged out. True it is not a stellar difference, but given that something like 20 times as many people click on result number one, compared with number three, it is important.
So why were the results different?
The answer is simple. When I am logged in Google knows I follow socialmediatoday.com and LinkedIn which posted the link, which appeared on my Google+ account because I follow them.
Google is adapting the results of its search page to more closely match individual needs, using data it collects from Google+ accounts. If you follow someone, their pages are going to come higher in the search results compared with someone who you don’t connect with using Google+.
Google, of course, is correct in saying that Google+ does not affect the search engine ranking. But what it doesn’t add to that is the fact that the rankings are adapted to each individual in a bid to provide a personalised search experience.
It means that if you are not using Google+ and your competitors are, they are going to feature more highly in the search results of your customers who also use Google+.
In other words, Google have finally got you; you HAVE TO use Google+ now if you want to keep yourself in front of your target audiences when they are searching on Google.