Ultimate Google plus backlinking cheat sheet
Sometime ago I set out to write 'the book' on Google+ and it's value for SEO, resulting in the the first complete and validated SEO roadmap for Google+. It soon became an ever more daunting task to research and to document this in full. Imagine my surprise when I read +Alain Sadon (SEOguru.nl SEO training center) his post in the +SEO NL community where he presented his backlinking cheat sheet for Google+. This was exactly what my work was missing. This let us to team up, and create the ultimate Google+ backlinking cheat sheet together. Today we are presenting the result for all to to enjoy!
PS. go here if you are you looking for our ultimate authorship markup cheat sheet
Methodology and results
We have based our findings on our own analyses of the video of 22-01-2014 in which Matt Cutts explains how Google treats signals from Facebook and Twitter. We have also done research of our own on the backlinking possibilities that Google+ offers. This resulted in the identification and qualification of all backlinking possibilities that Google+ offers. We have summed this all up in what we have come to call the ultimate Google+ backlinking cheat sheet.
Traditionally backlinks have been qualified in terms of PageRank. I have also used this metric as a unit of measure to be able to compare the value of Google+ backlinks to the value of backlinks originating from other websites and networks. I will describe the assumed value of the Google +1 endorsements briefly, but as I can't proof anything with regards to +1 signals I will not explore the subject in-depth here and now.
THE VALUE OF GOOGLE+ BACKLINKS MANAGEMENT SUMMARY
To become eligible for custom signals, social media and networks must be fully indexable like any other website. The second known requirement is that they must use the standard linking scheme implementing follow / nofollow links for crawlers to be used for network discovery. No followed links, no network discovery no internet.
If a website is indexable, and uses follow links for user content, then it can potentially provide signals for Google search rankings.
We were able to determine that Google+ uses a normal link scheme implementation meaning it uses followed and nofollow links for in- and external links, and also uses followed links for user generated content which the user has control over.
We have found examples of Google+ profiles, Google+ pages and Google+ communities that have PageRank of their own. We also were able to verify that these links pass PageRank when linking to a external website using a followed link.
This is not entirely new but in this post we will proof this for all Google+ elements (profile, page, community) and provide verifiable examples for all of them.
Ultimate Google+ backlinking cheat sheet
Profiles and pages are the primary components of Google+. They are almost the same with the difference that profiles are meant for people, and pages for companies. Most links on Google+ are nofollow but there are some possibilities to create links that are follow on Google+, and these are useable for SEO.
clicking the image will take you to www.seoguru.nl and the origianl PDF file
See the above Google+ backlink cheat sheet from Alain Sadon which is awesome as it maps out all possible places where we can create followed backlinks to any external website.
Social signals and Google ranking according to Matt Cutts
On the 22 of January 2014 a video of Matt Cutts appeared in which he explains why Google doesn't take Twitter and Facebook shares/likes into account when indexing webpages.
Click the above image to open the original PDF file on www.seoguru.nl
The reason being that Facebook and Twitter have blocked the crawler in the past from indexing their websites. This makes engineers at Google not keen on developing extra functionality for those networks. Also Cutts refers to them as imperfect internets, meaning that they do not follow the cardinal rules of the internet. Google needs websites to conform to these standards to be able to handle them like any other website.
Creating backlinks with Google+ posts
We can create a Google+ post by clicking the share button. Then we are presented with several options. Share as Link, Image etc. We can create followed backlinks from Google+ to any external webpage by creating a Google+ post with the Share as Link option. The URL that we fill in here will become a followed link if we need it to be. The great thing about this feature is that the link stays a followed link when it’s reshared publicly!
Think about this example for a moment. When we create a blog post and share this as a Link on Google+, and the post then get´s reshared 10 more times, then this in effect created 11 followed backlinks to the webpage linked to in the post.
All other url's that we place in the header text of any post will always be nofollow. I don't even consider them links but url's a link has markup and this is not possible in the header text of any post. If we have not chosen an option for sharing then a follow link is generated for the first link found in the header text.
Creating backlinks from Google+ profiles and pages
Profiles and pages can be considered to behave the same when it comes to linking from the About section. We will not discuss the author and publisher role of pages and profiles here. For both Google+ profiles and pages the links in the introduction section are follow, for now anyway, as there are indications that this won’t be the case for very long anymore.
Creating backlinks from communities
Also communities can create backlinks from the owner section in the community, this is of course reserved for the owner(s). But by sharing posts that link to a webpage, we can create backlinks in the same way as we explained for +posts elsewhere on Google+. Be wise and make use of this unique possibility only for posts that are really yours, that 'life' on your website, and really have something to offer to the readers. Communities are moderated by smart people that know a good post when they see one. If they reshare it, then you have hit a small jackpot. Post rubbish and you will strike out in no time at all. It's all about checks and balances.
Creating backlinks from Google+ comments
All links, or URLs actually, in comments on Google+ posts are nofollow. These sort of backlinks can have a positive effect on ranking but are of another magnitude then follow links. Also links to a profile from commenters are nofollow. There is one exception.
Creating internal links with Google+ +mentions
Google+ mentions of a person or Google+ page occur when they are mentioned in a comment. We do this by placing a + sign before the name of the person or page that we want to mention. Mentions can be used in the header text of any post and in comments. When a page or profile is mentioned this way then this in effect creates an follow link to the Google+ page or profile. If we assume that the amount of internal links to a page within a website determines the internal PageRank of a page then a +mention to a profile makes it more important.
Google+ and PageRank (profiles, pages and communities)
It is not well known but all Google+ page objects can have PageRank. This is relevant because of the fact that all webpages that have PageRank, should transfer some of this rank to pages that they link to with followed links. On Google+ we know that Google+ pages, profiles and communities can have PageRank. We can check this with the PageRank toolbar and various free online tools. We used prchecker.net.
Example of a Google+ profile and page with PageRank
|+Mark Traphagen Google+ profile||+SEO Google+ page|
On the 24th of januari Albert Niekamp reported that links in the About > Links section of the profile had become nofollow where they where follow before. Closer inspection by Alain Sadon showed that Google uses a different relational attribute here then the one used for external links found in this section. We don't know what it’s significance is at this moment. We do know that they are different from the rest.
Example of a Google+ community with PageRank
The below example shows that the community +SEO has an PageRank of 3. This is not the community owner page but the public stream of an public and searchable community.
If you would like you can see that Google+ communities can have PageRank by checking the next example for yourself.
Google+ mentions and PageRank
A Google+ mention in fact creates a follow link to the profile of the person mentioned. In theory this should add to the internal importance of the page linked to, this should be the same for a Google+ profile as for any other regular webpage if we reckon that Google+ profiles are normal webpages. It’s not proven, but I think it is safe to assume that +mentions contribute to the internal importance of a profile on plus.google.com and thus to the overall PageRank of a Google+ profile. A Google+ profile and Google page are considered the same by me in this context.
The screen grab shows a regular Google+ comment threat. I used a plug-in that highlights nofollow links with a red border. We can clearly see that all links to profiles of commenters are nofollow except for the mentions in the comments themselves. This is the HTML for the +mention of Christy Correll of +Daniel Mulder that actually created a follow link to the profile of Daniel Mulder.
<a class="proflink aaTEdf" href="/105804249247884841399" oid="105804249247884841399">Daniel Mulder</a>
We used the following sources when writing this post as part of the research or that inspired us otherwise:
http://searchengineland.com/how-google-plus-profiles-pages-gain-search-authority-176828 (21/2013, Mark Traphagen)
+SEO community (my personal favorite for SEO related intel)
Contributors and special thanks to the Dutch +SEO NL community
Jeroen Nieuwstad, Danny Verhoeven, +Arjen Karel,
people that inspired and paved some of the way for us:
and all the others who helped with this post!
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