Lauren Kaye

Despite all the criticism Google+ has received about its success as a social network, a new Moz analysis finds the site is critical for search marketing success. A recent study revealed Google +1s are strongly related to search rankings, second only to page authority. The study asserts +1s may play an even bigger role in SEO success than the number of backlinks, Facebook shares, Likes or comments and keyword use.

+1s for stronger search signals

Moz goes so far as to say these findings are not the result of a correlative relationship between best content marketing practices and search rankings, but a stronger causational link.

“One of the original goals for Google+ was using it to power real-time search after Twitter cut off Google’s firehose access to its data in 2011,” the study states.

Marketers might find their SEO success is closely tied to Google+ participation.

Two years ago, Brafton covered Search Engineer Matt Cutts’ guidance about sharing online content on Twitter. At that point, he suggested articles were indexed sooner when links were posted in Tweets because the engine crawled social media content faster than domain pages.

However, the open relationship between Twitter and Google was not guaranteed, and the microblogging site said it would not always provide unlimited access to updates. Similarly, Facebook has pinched off the flow of crawlable data by building privacy firewalls that make it difficult for search crawlers to index digital content shared on the network.

“Since [2011], Google has been using Google+ to discover new content, and many web professionals have discovered that URLs shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed very quickly,” Moz explained.

And because the social network is owned by the search engine, it has unlimited – and instant – access to content published by brands and individual users.

Share web content on Google+ for faster crawling

Given Moz’s findings, marketers are wise to post fresh custom content on Google+ because pages are indexed quickly after publication. This can provide brands with search visibility sooner.

The advantages of sharing on Google+ don’t end there. Posts on the network are given their own URLs, title tags with 45 to 50 characters and unlimited character count, which essentially crosses over into full-blown blog entries. Many suspect G+ aims to become its own content creation platform, and there are benefits to treating it as such. The Moz study found longer Google+ posts tend to receive higher search rankings and points out that links to Google+ posts might send relevancy signals to the URL.

Link equity will be distributed to channels referenced in a member’s Google+ “About” page.

The study suggests marketers can bolster other social profiles and pages by linking to them in their Google+ accounts, as link equity will be distributed to channels referenced in a member’s Google+ “About” page.

If marketers heed this advice and notice significant search ranking gains, Google+ might shed its reputation as a second-thought social network and become one of brands’ primary concerns.