Google+ URLs Can Rank Very Well

Filed in Google, SEO by Matt McGee on May 30, 2012 9 Comments

google-plus-localHow soon until SMBs’ Google+ Local Pages start to outrank their actual websites?

In my article about the Google+ / Google Places merger, I noted that the new Google+ Local Pages will be indexed and appear in Google’s search results – a complete change from the old Place Pages.

That’s a potentially big deal because Google+ URLs can (and do) rank very highly in Google’s search results. I’ll share some reasons why below, but first a screenshot to show.

I often do Google searches for specific articles that we’ve written on Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. A few days ago, I was searching for Danny Sullivan’s article introducing the Google Knowledge Graph. I did a search for “google knowledge graph danny sullivan.” The search results:

plus-rankings

His article came up in the fifth spot, and was preceded by four different Google+ URLs. (The first from his account; the second from SEL’s account; the third from his account, but about a different article; the last from Nina Anthony.)

Some thoughts why this is the case:

1.) Google+ (plus.google.com) has a zillion inbound links. Open Site Explorer says it has 711,000 inbound links. Majestic SEO says it has 240 million. Either way, if you believe in the aphorism that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” you can start to see why some Google+ URLs have a shot at high rankings.

2.) Google+ pages are optimized to the page owner’s name. In the example above, my search included Danny’s name. The title tag on the SEL article doesn’t include his name, but the four Google+ pages have his name in the title tag. So that one piece of on-page SEO was a better match on Google+ than on the original SEL article.

Social signals, you ask? Well, the Google+ ripple for the top-ranking URL shows 121 public shares on Google+. The article page on SEL shows 330 +1 votes, 635 Facebook likes, and more than 1,400 tweets.

I don’t want to spend a ton of time analyzing rankings for a single query, but I wanted to show this and talk about about Google Plus and its visibility in Google’s search results.

My point: Google+ URLs are already optimized and the domain has a ton of inbound link authority.

Now that Google+ Local Pages are being indexed, back to my question at the start of this article — how soon until some of them start to rank above the actual (unoptimized) business website?

Considering the sorry state of many SMB websites … it might be pretty soon.

Comments (9)

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  1. After a period of of ‘upheaval’ in the SEO Industry, with changes happening too fast to act upon with any real certaint, it seems to me that our SEO Agencies have a very juicy new opportunity steak to sink our ranking teeth into :)

  2. David Mihm says:

    No doubt about it. The decision to index +Local pages is going to be huge fodder for the justice department / Senate Commerce Committee to dive into. It could be argued that Facebook is Google’s biggest competitor and they clearly give preference to Facebook pages in their own search feature…but man, Yelp’s lawyers are going to have a field day with this.

  3. Frank Strong says:

    So what’s your take on that Matt? I think the conventional wisdom, prior to G+, was that we didn’t want social profiles to rank higher in search than our Web sites. Do you agree or disagree with that? Further, if G+ start to rank higher, is that good or bad for SMBs search-marketing efforts?

  4. Marc Nashaat says:

    This is happening likewise with personal branding. Up until a few weeks ago my g+ profile was ranking ahead of my own blog. Granted my blog was under construction at the time. Now what I’m finding however though is that my blog overtakes my g+ profile while my linkedin outranks my blog.

    Curious too how this works when g+ profile page titles are 20+ numeric characters with no contextual relevance.

  5. cameron says:

    I did a search today and it is not the case now. Search Engine Land is above all Google+ posts.

  6. Marcus says:

    It’s true they can rank well, but my initial tests result in some hit and miss results.
    Matt, any research done on what might make one rank better than another?
    Amount of followers, Plus 1s, good old fashioned backlinks etc?

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