Mountain View, California—Google +1s don’t have a direct correlation with website ranking, according to the search engine’s head web spam engineer, Matt Cutts. In a blog post published on August 20th, on the SEOmoz site, the data presented strongly suggested that +1s and Google search engine placement were parallel.
The article touched off a big discussion about its assertions, with many people commenting about the post’s contention. Because it lacked specific instances which prove that a site using only +1s had gained a higher Google search ranking, many people panned the article.
Cutts On the Value of Google +1s
In his response to the blog post, Matt Cutts reiterated content is most important, writing, “If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is better spent making great content.”
Cutts also explains a similar claim made in 2011 about the value of Facebook shares. But states that Googlebot has little access to such activity. Cutts writes that creating quality is the best way to earn links from other sites. The web spam engineer likewise states that a current study, is scrutinizing the correlation between Google +1s and higher organic ranking and that he would be, “skeptical of anyone who claimed that more +1s led to a higher search ranking in Google’s web results”.
Social Shares Still Important
Though Cutts states there is no direct correlation, it remains true that quality content will earn links, which does lead to higher search visibility. Mr. Cutts made statements at SES San Francisco last year, telling an audience not to assume that more +1s would translate into higher Google Pagerank or organic search placement. The software engineer has also advised to tag infographics and widgets with a “no follow“. Recently, Google updated its help articles, including a stronger warning about participating in link schemes.