Today's video covers a question that many people concerned about their online presence might wonder: Do Google +1s help search engine rankings? Social media sites around the web have all developed their own share button, allowing users to share unique content with their audience of followers--but does a link's perceived popularity have any influence on where it lands in search results? Watch the video to find out!


I'm Chad Hill, and I have Adam Stetzer with me as well.

Good afternoon, Chad. We're talking about social signals and whether they're in the algorithm. And this is not a new topic, but it seems to be rearing its head over and over again. There's an interesting piece in Search Engine Watch up late last week trying to prove or disprove does google plus one help rankings, something that people have been calling for or predicting for years. But the mathematical proof that it's actually in the algorithm has been very hard to come up with. Someone in this article is claiming they've proven it. And then we've got a counterpoint from Search Engine Watch saying no, not so fast, and then Matt Cutts actually weighing in on the topic. Let's see if we can sort this out for our viewers today, Chad. What's going on?

Yeah, I think I also saw this come out last month, because SEOmoz put out their annual search ranking report of what factors influence the search results. And one of the things they said in there was that their are quantitative data using their index showed that social signals were a bigger part than what the SEOs that they surveyed said they were. So yes, there's a lot of confusion here. But I think at the end of the day, this comes down to what Matt Cutts says that the content you're creating that probably-- there's a relationship between great content that ends up attracting links and great content that actually gets Google +1ed or tweeted or liked on Facebook. Don't you think, Adam?

Yes, so we're into the age-old correlation does not imply causation. And this is a very confusing topic for a lot of folks who are not statistically inclined, who would see the two correlating and say therefore, if I just go get a lot of Google +1s or Facebook likes, or tweet pluses, then I will get a high search ranking. I think that's why Matt Cutts is speaking so directly to this issue. He really doesn't want you to make a false conclusion, that because you've got the Google +1s is why you're ranking. And I know what he's doing that, of course, he doesn't want there to be a rash of people running out to buy fake or induced Google +1s. We know that's available on the spammy marketplaces and dark corners of the internet. But we would agree with Matt.

That's really misguided and not where you should be spending your money, because you're falling prey to this idea that because they're correlated, their causal. And he's saying-- and he went on record here-- saying they're not in such a robust fashion. So that means, to put it plainly, if you go buy a bunch of +1s, that will not cause a higher search engine ranking. Yet it is true that pages that have a lot of Google +1s also happen to rank. And that's where you were going, Chad. So let's try to tease that apart and help people understand why are those two things correlated even if there isn't a causal relationship.

Yeah, well, I think it's exactly what you said, Adam. Matt Cutts is really pushing everyone to create great content at all costs, stuff that's highly engaging and very interesting for people to talk about. And if you think about when Google first started, the way that people conversed on the web was through blogs. And the way people referred people to different places on blogs was through links. That was the way of talking and voting for really interesting content. Flash forward to now-- a lot of people are still using links and blogs to do that, have that conversation. But there's an awful lot of people who now have moved to a Twitter or to Google+. So now those are the way that people still share content.

But the common denominator there is you have to have great content that people actually want to share. So don't jump to conclusions that you could take junkie content and just link to it to get high search engine rankings. Go ahead. A lot of people are thinking this is the a-ha moment. I told you social signals are in there. So now, I'm just going to go induce a bunch of Google +1s, and I'll get my search rankings. I think we're saying, we're echoing what Google is saying, no, that's just not how it works.

Go back to the content. Make good content. And yes, you will achieve both good rankings as well as lots of +1s.