Google Plus Box Ranking Factors Report

Ian Lurie
G+ is a riddle, that's for certain

Yep, it's a riddle

Google Search Plus Your World (GSPYW, for short). Social media belly button lint? Or the best damned thing since chocolate? It’s a riddle.

But GSPYW builds traffic a bunch of ways. The best (so far) is the ‘Plus Box’:

Google Plus Box

The Google Plus Box. Yeah, I like this one.

Question is, how does Google decide which pages and profiles get that coveted spot? Also, how does Google decide which search queries get the plus box, and which ones don’t?

My Google Search Plus Your World research project

About a month ago, I put together my Plan For Google Search Plus Your World Research and Domination (PFGSPYWRD, for short). The plan had two parts:

  1. I asked some fine SEO folks to answer a few questions about Google Plus, the plus box, and what they thought drove plus box results.
  2. I started collecting data on top GSPYW results: Circle membership, number of posts, likes per post, +1s per post, re-shares per post, and common terms.

Finally, after 5 weeks, I’ve put all the great data together into something useful. Before I go into the analysis, I have to say a huge thanks to everyone who helped by filling out the survey, in some cases twice (I’m apparently Survey Monkey impaired) and otherwise gave advice:

Adam Audette – RKG – Rimm-Kaufman Group
Alan Bleiweiss – Click2Rank Consulting
Angie Schottmuller – Search Engine Watch
Ann Smarty – MyBlogGuest
Brian Provost – Define Media Group
Dana Lookadoo – Yo! Yo! SEO
Dave Harry – Reliable SEO
Evan Fishkin – Slingshot SEO
Everett Sizemore – eCommerce SEO
Gianluca Fiorelli – ItaliaSEO
Hannah Smith – Distilled
Heather Lloyd-Martin – SuccessWorks
Jen Sable Lopez – SEOmoz
Jeremy Dearringer – Slingshot SEO
John Doherty – Distilled
Laura Lippay – How’s Your Pony?
Lindsay Wassell – Keyphraseology
Marshall Simmonds – Define Media Group
Matthew Gratt – Portent
Meg Geddes – Netmeg, Inc.
Michael King – Publicis Modem
Peter Meyers – User Effect
Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz
Richard Baxter – Builtvisible
Thomas Hogenhaven – Copenhagen Business School
Tom Anthony – Distilled
Tom Critchlow – Distilled
Wil Reynolds – SEER Interactive
Will Critchlow – Distilled


A few of those surveyed said, “I don’t know yet – it’s too early to tell.” That was helpful, too – it made me take a little more time to sift through my own data. Hence the 5-week wait.

Time to get to the results.

Business questions

I asked everyone (and myself) a few questions relating to Google Plus’ business future:

To prevent eye trauma and boredom-related head injuries, I’ve done a lot of editing and summarizing. Here are the big questions, and how they shook out.

  1. Will Google Plus hit 400 million users in 2012? Opinions were mixed, but of 23 who answered the question, 16 said ‘yes’. 10 said stuff ranging from ‘probably not’ to my favorite: ‘God, I pray not’. A lot of people cited anti-trust action by the EU or USA as a major potential roadblock, regardless of their answer.
  2. If so, do you think that’ll spell trouble for Facebook? Of 25 who answered, only 8 said ‘yes’. Most feel that Facebook has its own distinct audience. The ‘yes’ group agrees, though, that if Facebook starts to lose to Google+, they’ll have to open their site up to Google crawls.
  3. Do you see any difference in audience participation on Google Plus versus Facebook? (more comments, more shares, fewer, etc.). I’ve never seen this before, but we put 29 SEOs in a ‘room’ and they pretty much agreed. Once my staff revived me with smelling salts, I read the answers again. Almost everyone feels Google+ has fewer interactions than Facebook, but deeper discussions and threads when they do happen. Several pointed to the higher ratio of techies and marketers on Google Plus as the reason.
  4. Are you advising clients to jump on Google+? I know, duh, but I gotta ask. Of 23 who answered this question, 22 gave a qualified ‘yes’. Everyone’s waiting to see if Google Plus gains more traction. Remember, this was a month ago. Since then G+ has hit 100 million members. So chances are opinions have changed a little.

My opinion? Google Plus is here to stay, unless Google gets torn limb from limb by anti-trust actions. The way they’ve shoved Google Search Plus Your World into the SERPs, and shoved other social media sites out, is bound to attract the wrong kind of attention. And yes, I’m pushing clients to use G+.

Gettin’ down to geekiness

Then came the geek questions. I looked at a few factors I felt might impact Google plus box placement. Explanations where needed:

  1. +1’s per post: The average number of +1 ‘votes’ per post.
  2. Aggregate keyword relevance of all posts by the profile: The words and phrases used in posts on the profile page.
  3. Profile description keyword relevance: The words and phrases used in the profile ‘about’ tab.
  4. Average time-on-page for profile: As I look back, this was a really dumb question. It proved unmeasurable, so I pulled the question.
  5. Comments per post: Average comments per post.
  6. Circle membership velocity: Not just total circle membership, but the rate at which the profile gets added to circles. This proved unmeasurable, so I pulled the question.
  7. Profile views: Another dumb question. Unmeasurable.
  8. Re-shares per post: Average number of people who re-share a post by this profile.
  9. Total ‘reach,’ (followers of followers)
  10. Total followers

I asked everyone to rank each of the above factors on a scale from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important, aka “Thar she blows!!!”).

Digging for data

I also did a lot of research of my own, using the Google Plus API. I pulled data for the top 60 profiles in query results for:


All three have plus boxes in the regular Google search results.

Then I calculated the average plus ones, comments and re-shares per post. I also pulled total circle membership for each profile/page, and recorded whether the profile ever showed up in the plus box.

Note that plus box results often rotate, so even if there are only 2 profiles shown, as many as 8 profiles may appear over time if you refresh the page.

Then I took all those numbers, squished them into spreadsheets, and compared them to survey results.

Finally, I pulled the last 20 posts plus the ‘about’ tab contents for each profile, and ran them through Yahoo’s content analysis API to determine the top concepts/topics in each profile’s content.

Freshness is a gating factor

I didn’t ask about content freshness in the survey. I should have. The API data showed that profiles with no new posts in the last 72 hours have no shot at a plus box ranking. In one case, a popular comedian (cough Adam Sandler I’m talking about you cough cough) with the 2nd-highest circle membership never appeared. Why? He hasn’t updated his Plus profile since 1/24.

Sandler gets a pass, though, for the Hanukah song – arguably the greatest Jewish folk song ever.

I spot checked on queries for ‘internet marketing’, ‘fashion’ and ‘cars’ and got the same result: Top-circled profiles got dropped from the plus box if their last post was 72+ hours old.

So: Old content means no plus box for you, little monkey. Keep posting, at least once a day.

Pages get preference

This one will get the conspiracy theorists humming: Google Search Plus Your World appears to give preference to pages. Pages with membership in 3,000-6,000 circles appear in the plus box, beating fresh profiles with circle membership as high as 1.5 million.

Keyword relevance, engagement and most other potential quality factors don’t explain it. My guess? Google’s watching behavior. If lots of people clicked through to the Muppets page, Google rotates it into the plus box. If more people click, Kermit gets to stay. There’s no way for me to track click-thru, though (which is why questions 4 and 7 were so ridiculous – what was I going to compare the answers to, exactly?).

Want to catch up? Post a lot

A lot of the data is pretty unsurprising: Higher engagement leads to plus box ranking. That could give profiles and pages that build a big lead in circle membership a monopoly on the plus box.

But I found 5 cases (out of 40) where profiles with very low +1’s per post, reshares, replies or circle membership still found their way into the organic rankings. In every instance, they did it by posting 3-4 times more often than the competition. These were great posts – posting crap won’t work – but Google’s probably watching for big content generators and rewarding them with plus box placement.

+1’s per post matter a lot

+1’s show reader engagement. They’re the ‘thumbs-up’ of the Google Plus world. So it seems safe to say they have some influence. Here’s what the survey group and data said:

Survey results

Average score: 3.5/5
Deviation: 1

Most rated +1’s per post as ‘enough to matter’ (3) to ‘really really important,’ aka “Thar she blows!!!!” (5).

Plus Ones Per post as a ranking factor

Survey answers: From 1 (least important) to 5 (most important), how important are +1's per post?

Research results

For all three test queries, +1’s per post mattered. A lot. In ‘SEO,’ the two consistent #1-ranked profiles have the highest plus ones per post. +1’s post can even trump circle membership. In a few cases, fresh profiles with lots of circle memberships but a low ratio of +1’s got the boot in favor of less-circled profiles with higher +1 ratios.

The only exception I saw: Paul Oakenfold popped up in the Music plus box once or twice. His +1 ratio is less than 10% of other plus box-ranking musicians. But, he posts a lot – 5-7 times a day, compared to once every 2-3 days by Britney Spears.

Is this cause, or effect? It actually doesn’t matter. More +1s is better. So is writing and posting the kind of stuff that’ll get lots of +1s.

Replies per post matter. In my pleasant dreams.

Replies per post should matter. If someone writes a comment, doesn’t that mean you’ve captured their attention? It’s hard not to start trying to turn the data into an argument. But I’m above all that…

Ian steps away to double over, laughing maniacally.

Survey results

Most of the group felt that replies per post matter a bit, but not as much as +1s per post. And deviation is really high:

Average score: 3.1/5
Deviation: 1.2

Note that this was the highest deviation of any result in the survey. Opinions were all over the place:

replies per post as a google plus ranking factor - survey results

Survey results: Do replies per post matter in Google 'plus box' ranking? From least important (left) to most important (right).

The data

The data was totally unhelpful, too. Plus box-ranked profiles and pages that were otherwise the same had replies per post as high as 6587 and as low as 44. Bill Slawski gets 169 replies per post. That puts him in the top 5% of the SEO profiles/pages. But he never shows up in the plus box.

Other queries show the same thing: Lil Wayne should be slapping Snoop Dogg silly (I’ve always wanted to write that), with a 7281 to 843 reply advantage, a huge advantage in +1’s, and strong circle membership. But he doesn’t.

At the very least, replies per post won’t trump circle membership the way +1’s per post do.

My conclusion? Replies per post do matter, but only a little. All other things being equal, they’re a tie-breaker. Otherwise, though, focus on freshness, post frequency and great content that attracts +1’s.

Re-shares per post. HAH.

Replies per post is in counseling for low self-esteem. Re-shares per post is being talked off a ledge.

Survey results

The survey group gave the same feedback about reshares per post as replies per post: Mixed. While this factor got a high average score, the deviation is high:

Average score: 3.3/5
Deviation: 1.2

reshares per post

Survey answers: Are reshares per post a ranking factor? From least important (left) to most important (right).

The data

I actually checked my API scripts three times to make sure I hadn’t switched two numbers or some such. There’s zero correlation between reshares and ranking in the plus box. Or ranking anywhere else, for that matter. You can predict plus box positioning better by rolling a 20-sider (that’s a die with 20 sides, for you non-gamers).

There’s a good explanation, though: Re-shares tend to come in huge bursts. They aren’t spread out evenly among posts on any profile. And they’re the rarest of all audience interactions on Google Plus. So there’s just not a good sample for me (or Google) to work with.

Re-shares may matter someday. If the Google Plus user base grows to 200-400 million and starts to allow re-shares of stuff besides posts, re-shares may start to matter. For now, though, re-sharing is a brussel sprout on plate full of spaghetti. No one wants it.

Total reach

Reach (circle membership of those who put you in their circles) is a huge deal. Again, cause and effect can get really mixed up: Higher reach means more interaction. That alone might get you plus box placement. But all the data shows it’s plus box driver:

Survey results

The survey group jumped all over this one, with the lowest deviation and a high overall score:

Average score: 3.4/5
Deviation: .7

Reach as a google plus ranking factor

Survey answers: Is reach a Google Plus ranking factor? From least important (left) to most important (right).

The data

Reach is really, really important. Really really really really really important. I reviewed total reach down three ‘layers’ from top 60 accounts. In every case, a profile or page with greater reach and lesser circle membership beat competitors with higher circle membership and lesser reach.

I’m hesitant to show data. Google doesn’t let you query circle membership via the API – I had to do this by hand. I suspect that’s because they feel circle membership crosses the line into privacy issues, and I don’t want to get squashed. But here’s how it shook out as far as proportions:

Reach and plus box placement

Survey answers: Is reach a plus box placement factor? From least important (left) to most important (right).

I only checked about 20 profiles, so this could be an anomaly. But it kinda makes sense. Profiles with high circle membership and relatively low reach may be spam, or just way out of date. Either way, they’re showing signs of low quality. Profiles with high reach have influential people following them. It’s similar to getting that one, super-high-quality link, versus tons of spam links.

‘Cause spammy links never help any one rank. Right Google?


Sigh. This is art, not science, guys. Draw your own conclusions. But it’s clear that if you can get the right people to put you in their circles, it’ll help you place better in Google Search Plus Your World. Even if my numbers are totally whacked, it’s a safe bet.

Total circle membership

Well duh. Total circle membership is the top factor, with the highest correlation, of any plus box placement factor. The survey answers and data, though, show what this whole exercise implies: That there are lots of exceptions to the “most circled wins” rule:

Survey results

The survey group was clear, but slightly less excited about total circle membership than they were about reach:

Average score: 3.3/5
Deviation: .7

No chart this time. I’m getting tired. You get the idea. Relatively low deviation around an average score of 3.3 means a teensy bit less enthusiasm about this factor.

The data

60% of the time, the plus box shows the folks with the highest circle membership. The other 40% of the time, though, raw circle numbers lose out to plus ones, content freshness and post frequency. I’m sure Google is continuously tweaking the Plus algorithms. And folks are constantly posting more content. So I’ll revisit this metric in the next few months to see how it shakes out.

Again, though, the data seems to match common sense: Higher-quality accounts with fresher, more engaging stuff can beat entrenched accounts with massive circle membership.

Concepts versus commodities

It’s much, much easier to rank for a concept than a commodity. Search for ‘jeans’ and there’s still no plus box. Search for ‘fashion’, though, and you’ll see one. ‘Cars’ versus ‘hybrid cars’ works the same way.

My (cynical but correct) analysis: The plus box shoves PPC ads down the page. It has to hurt Google’s revenue. So they’re slower to place a plus box on results pages for queries with high commercial intent. No blame here. I’d do the same thing.

What didn’t matter

Here are a few factors that meant little or nothing:

  • Keyword relevance of your ‘about’ tab: Four profiles get consistent plus box placement for ‘seo’. Only two of them shows ‘SEO’ as the #1 topic in their about tab. Every profile has SEO as a topic, according to the content analysis API. But in two cases, it’s the third-ranking topic or lower.
  • Topical relevance of your ‘about’ tab: That said, all plus box profiles for every test query had about tabs relevant to the overall ‘space’. All ranking ‘seo’ profiles, for example, cluster around search, search marketing, the industry and related topics. All ‘movies’ profiles cluster around show business. Meh. That could mean anything. But at least a bike shorts manufacturer won’t start showing up in SEO rankings (we hope).
  • Keyword relevance of your posts: Totally meaningless. Write whatever you want. Seriously. Just make it good.


Frak me. This is a long post. Summing it all up, the top factors for plus box placement appear to be, from most to least important:

  1. Reach
  2. Circle membership
  3. Freshness
  4. Post frequency (if your posts are good)
  5. Average plus ones per post
  6. Re-shares and replies (comments) per post

And, Google’s far more likely to show a plus box for broad concepts with low commercial intent, versus niche terms with high commercial intent.

As always: Just because I have some numbers doesn’t mean I’m right. This is really early on in the evolution of Google Search Plus Your World. Even if I’m 80% right (surpassing a 16-year record in my own house) this could all change.

The good news, though: Plus box placement works off some pretty common-sense stuff. Speak well, speak often, and be sure to answer folks when they speak to you. Here’s what I recommend you do, if you want your best shot at an organic placement for your plus profile:

  1. Circle influential people with big circle membership.
  2. Comment on and re-share their stuff. That will get your followers to respond to them, and get you noticed. It’ll also help your own reach, as your re-shares are more likely to get passed around
  3. Post frequently. At least a few times a day. Remember, these posts can be re-shares or links to other interesting stuff you found on the web. It doesn’t have to all be original.
  4. Try to gain relevance for the non-commodity term that fits your industry. “Design”, not “Designer”. “Fashion”, not “Jeans”.
  5. Do. Not. Spam. At. All. It’s stupid on a hey-let’s-invade-the-USSR level. On Google+, accounts with low-quality followers or lousy content stick out like a piece of spinach in your teeth. Don’t do it.

I just wrote 3200 words in 2 hours. With that, I’m going to go pass out.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. It is interesting that keyword relevance in the about tab doesn’t make much difference, and I have seen some suggesting otherwise, but your data is very thorough and well analyzed. It is not surprising to me that +1s matter a lot, and I would think that post content relevance is also a significant factor and looked at in the same algorithmic way that the rest of the web is.

    1. I suspect that topical relevance in the about tab is more important than keyword relevance. If you’re trying to rank for ‘SEO’, and everything else is solid AND you talk about ‘search marketing’ and ‘google’ a lot, and you just say ‘SEO’ once on the about tab, way down that page, that alone may be enough.

  2. What’s weird is that the Google search People and Pages box rankings and the People and Pages listings in Google+’s internal search don’t match up, even though the former has a link to “see more” that clicks through to the latter. For example. in a non-logged-in Google search for “social media” Scott Monty is in the rotation of people that show up. But if you click “see more,” he is nowhere to be seen in the first page of results in the corresponding Google+ search, even though most of the other people and pages are.

    1. I saw that for Barry Schwartz’s profile, too. He shows up under “SEO” in the plus box, now and then. But he doesn’t show up in a search on ‘SEO’. Very odd, and I’m trying to figure out why.

  3. Awesome post Ian. I love the data and thoroughness of your post as well as some of the actionable take aways. My unsolicited predictions: 1) G+ will reach 400M users in 2012, 2) G+ with its features and integration with Google Search could spell trouble with facebook who may have a “timeline user backlash” to deal with 3.) G+ seems to be more early adopters, technologists, marketers while facebook is a broader cross section due to much larger membership base. Sharing circles and hangouts are great G+ differentiators but engagement overall on facebook seems more uniform and 4) we are advising clients with sufficient resources to dedicated to G+ to be active on G+. If they are B2C and have limited resources, we recommend they focus on facebook for the time being. Thanks for the original research and polling a whose who in the SEM field. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Rick – glad you like it! I agree on the 400m users. If they keep up the current pace they’ll have no issues whatsoever. The real challenge for them is how they pull folks into G+ without getting into very hot water on the anti-trust side.

  4. Can you please elaborate on – “Do. Not. Spam.” – What’s defined as spamming on G+ ? Just random links found on the Internets that I’m sharing with my circles that doesn’t have a whole lot of reach? Or are you talking about ACTUAL spam like “8uY ch3ap V1agra!!” that’s linking to some shady rX site.

    1. Any attempt to artificially expand your circle membership, boost posts or do anything else that doesn’t naturally occur in the course of your Google+ use. So, if you buy circlers, for example, that’s spam.

  5. Hi Ian, great research and subsequent post. This helps a lot and is the first real, third-party analysis of G+ that I’ve found useful so far, so thanks for that.
    My question(s), though: Do you think Google is looking for completely fresh content on your G+ page (omitting re-shares) or is it enough to simply re-post content that already exists on your website/blog? In other words, does your G+ page need its very own content that’s not hosted anywhere else on the web? Have you come across any negative effects of re-posting content that’s hosted on a G+ page that’s connected to your website?
    No worries if you don’t have a definitive answer, it’d just be interesting to get your thoughts.

    1. I don’t think Google’s omitting re-shares to go for totally fresh content. They’re looking for a mix. If all you do is re-post stuff from your blog, you may see more limited results.
      Lots of maybes there, but that’s what common sense tells me.

  6. Great post, I love blogs that poll experts and then provide a snap shot of opinion.
    Google Plus Box hasn’t reached, but will be here soon.
    I would be interested to hear an opinion about what qualifies a topic for inclusion as a Google Plus Box, you identify non-commodity terms, I wonder if Google also has levels of circle numbers to qualify a topic – for example must be 10k to get put up (would be logical).
    Gold dust research about the frequency of posts in context of freshness.
    Once again will be challenging. I must confess (sorry!) I do have a circle called “networking” that I use to add everybody who G+ suggests. I then relentlessly post viral content (mainly pictures and links from Reddit) and gradually get people follow me (100 at present).
    Very difficult to do a total “white hat” G+ strategy when I wear 3 hats:
    1) I own a staffing supplier to iGaming (
    2) I own a gambling affiliate (
    3) I have a word press blog about SEO: Chris’ SEO Journey.
    Guessing I need to bin the “invade USSR” strategy eh? If anyone does fancy circling me (hint hint) I’m always grateful!

    1. I suspect that Google will look at topics with huge participation and consider them, but Adwords revenue will trump all. It’s all about the money.
      Even if you’re running a gaming site, I think you need to focus stuff you can grow organically: Poker tutorials, how-to’s on sports books, etc. Anything else could get you into a lot of trouble.

  7. well done very informative easy to understand (even for someone whose understanding of the digital world is only up to dig.) thank you for all your effort

  8. Ian, brilliant post with some great data.
    Pardon my laziness but have you done a similar study regarding the impact of +1 on standard organic listings?
    The more I keep reading great blog post after great blog post, the more it makes me realise I need to get my thumb out of my —- and start generating some of my own content.
    Wish I could hardwire your brain into mine πŸ™‚

    1. You really, really don’t want that kind of direct connection, trust me πŸ™‚
      I haven’t done any specific work on +1, but Matt Cutts has talked about it. He says it’s used as a validation of existing rankings.

  9. Ian what’s your take on +1 content lockers (you have to +1 in order to see a page, or part of the page)?
    Also, I might be just tired, but I don’t get what’s the difference between Reach and Circle membership. Isn’t that the same?

    1. I haven’t seen much in the way of +1 lockers yet, so I’m not sure. It’s no worse than requiring a like to show someone special content on Facebook, though. But at some point Google will probably crack down on it.
      Reach means circle membership PLUS the circle membership of the folks who put YOU in their circles. So it’s a bigger number than direct circle membership.

  10. Great article,
    I think that the Google+ audience is more into discussions as they happen to be more tech related. On FB there’s friends and family, on G+ there are like-minded people with your interest.
    I see G+ as a big post-forum era platform with heavy search impact. It will surely evolve around topics rather than “stream” like on FB or Twitter.

  11. Hi Ian,
    Thank you for the time and effort in researching and the articulating your findings. I see some of the prominent pages e.g. Ferrari, post almost post for post mirroring their Facebook accounts. Until Google+ page becomes an identity on its own, this may be a good idea? Our idea is to post certain posts similar but then expand our other posts to appeal more to the techy and marketer crowd.
    I don’t have much value to add right now except gratitude at the wealth of info you provided in this post.

  12. Hi again Ian, thanks for your earlier response. Just looking at your last comment here, “He says it’s used as a validation of existing rankings” – do you think that this means to say that a +1 is pretty redunudant when it comes to gaining SERP ranking? Instead, a +1 will mainly benefit an already high ranking site?
    If this is the case, they may as well let Cameron run Google as well as our government, because this would surely only help the rich get richer while the poor struggle to survive.

  13. Great post Ian, you obviously put a lot of work into creating this post. Thanks for the effort, and I think you did a great job of categorizing / ranking these factors.
    As we know with Google, they launch early and ask questions later, so I would assume there will be many changes in the near future.
    I would love to see a follow up post in a few months to see if these factors have changed, and how.

  14. Ian I love this post. Very detailed! I think the whole plus thing is just another element like PageRank that’s going to be abused. There are already a number of brokers selling plus ones and facebook likes for that matter. I do think that search plus your world is necessary though. I mean Facebook has around 400 million users now and Google with over 100 million. Social media and content syndication are now playing huge roles in ranking.

  15. Great post and reading thro gave me a lot of food for thought. It has changed my understanding of best practice for my activities. I am still a little concerned about the implications for certain Niches which by nature of the topic will not have a great deal of interaction. For example I am a webmaster for Hospital websites and patients do Not want to interact anywhere, least of all on Google, so how the heck am I supposed to benefit from what Google + has to offer in terms of ranking and +boxes etc.

  16. I’m not a fan of Google+ in general but I feel your most important point was under shadowed by the data.
    Google still favors PPC ads over SPYW.
    Until SPYW starts to have an impact on terms with commercial intent, I think the only folks interested in it are interested because SEO is one of the few terms it works on. It’s an ego thing for marketers.
    Show SPYW popping up for local results, or even national but more specifically commercial terms and then MAYBE you can get me on the Google+ bandwagon.
    This just seems like a high time investment low reward endeavor to chase Google+ for the sake of SPYW. That time and energy is easily spent elsewhere with a more traditional and verified return.

  17. @Ian; great honest research article. I will use your research in a presentation soon here in the Netherlands, although the conclusions are a little premature as you stated yourself.
    Some folks replying here ask about the influence of +1 button on SERPS. We did a research paper on that subject that was featured on Search Engine Watch. You can download it here:

  18. I’m not a fan of Google+ I play in it but if it weren’t for the search implications I would have disappeared from the platform months ago. Loved the Q and A and agreed with just all the outcomes. Nice breakdown of the +1…

  19. It’s obvious to me that Google has wedged themselves in between Facebook and Twitter as a social media player with Google+, purely on FOMA (fear of missing out). For anyone (myself included) involved in the Internet marketing industry, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the SEO vertical is extremely active in Google+ … but lets be honest… on a personal level, people simply don’t want to maintain 2 or 3 social networks to keep up with personal connections and friendships.
    This survey is fantastic, really interesting data. As a member of the SEO community that has my content externally facing customers that don’t do this stuff everyday, +1’s simply don’t come to my blog very often. I think that Internet marketing content that faces the IM community is an anomaly, IMHO.
    Great data!

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