On Tuesday, Moz released a study confirming what we in the SEO field have long suspected. Their results show that the number of Google +1s a post receives is highly correlated with search rankings.

Moz Spearman Correlation

As pictured above, the number one factor to high search engine rankings is Page Authority. Coming in second is Google +1s. This is the second study to find similar results (seeSearchMetrics results). However, Google’s Matt Cutts responded that Google +1s don’t contribute to a higher ranking. So what’s the answer?

Moz has since updated their post to specifically point out that “it is not the +1′s themselves that are causing the high rankings of posts but the fact that most +1′s on a site result in a shared post on Google+, which creates a followed link back to the post. It’s instant organic link building.”

It appears from the study that Google+ posts have some SEO benefits unlike other social media platforms. Moz noted a few of those benefits:

  1. Google+ posts get indexed and crawled almost immediately
  2. Posts pass along link equity and accumulate PageRank
  3. Posts have similar characterizes to blog posts
  4. Don’t forget about Google Authorship

Using Google+ to Rank in Search

If you don’t have a Google+ page set up for your business then it’s time to get into the game. Just like Facebook and Twitter, Google + offers the opportunity to create a business page to promote your business, organization or a specific product. Below are a few tips to remember when setting up your business page.

  1.  Create Your Page. The first step for most business is to build out their Google+ page. Make sure your profile is complete with relevant and engaging information. Your profile will also appear in Google search results making it easier to gain brand visibility.
  2. Link to Your Online Profiles. Google+ offers several locations to link your profiles so people can connect with you on other platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  3. Google Authorship. Authors posting interesting content that gets shared and plus ones, will lead to higher authority. There is growing evidence that Google+ authorship improves your personal authority and search performance as well. Follow theseinstructions to set up Google Authorship.
  4. Connect your Business Website to your Google+ Brand Page. Take advantage of linking your website to Google+ and vice versa. This will allow people to build relationships with your business and help Google determine the relevancy of your site. See these instructions to set it up.
  5. Add a Google+ Badge to Your Blog. Make it easy for people to follow you, engage with you and share your content. Here are some of Google’s easy-to-create badges.
  6. Participate. Start building social relationships on Google+. Follow people & businesses, comment on posts, join communities and share great content. You can start by following us.
  7. Posts. Google+ treats your posts like a blog post so make sure you’re posting high-quality, share-able content with your network. This is also a good way to attract natural links back to the original content. A best practice is to make sure your posts are public to help spread them far and wide.
  8. Hashtags. Using hashtags in your posts will help people find and join conversations about your topic.

While Matt Cutts debunked Google +1s leading to higher to search rankings, it’s still wise to create a Google+ page for your business. And take Matt Cutts advice, “rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.”