Every once in a while I get a call from a customer saying they read an article and why aren’t we doing this or I went to website and they scored my website as weak in this area. SEO is very complex and there are very few sources of information that can be considered completely credible.
Moz, a very well known SEO company that sells analytic software, recently published a blog post “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings“,. After I read the article I scratched my head and said to myself “Now that doesn’t seem quite right!”.
About a week later I came across another article on Search Engine Watch entitled “Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking“. The article referred directly to the above referenced Moz article and contained a quote from Matt Cutts that was left in response to the MOZ article. Matt’s comment went against the findings of Moz.
From my personal experience if someone +1’s a page on your site it is not directly going to drastically impact your sites rank, however, if the person who +1ed your page searches for a keyword that the page has been indexed for that page will rank higher in the search results for that individual. The SEO value of someone +1ing your page comes in when people visit your site as a result of that individual’s +1, and as for how much SEO value these visits carry it depends on many factors including how long the visitors spend on your site, how many other pages they visit, and if they too +1 a page leading to the possibility the cycle continues and more people visit the site.
Moz and Search Engine Land Both provide some insight into what is happening in the SEO industry and provide some idea of what changes have or may be coming to Google’s algorithm. The problem with Moz is their articles are written to market their services and many of the authors who contribute to Search Engine Land are publishing articles for the purpose of promoting their own businesses and therefore must also be scrutinized. As for the various websites out there that score your site, maybe 1 out of every 100 provides accurate, honest results and the whole purpose of all of them is to sell you their services.
The way search engines rank a site in the search results is constantly changing. I spend many hours each week reading articles from dozens of sources some very credible others swayed by marketing and sales motives. In addition, I also seek out posts and comments where companies and individuals express concerns over their website dropping in the search results. This gives me an idea of how the environment is changing and when combined with my personal experience of what works and what doesn’t I can make the best decision on how to improve the ranking of my customers sites each of which has its own unique needs. The only source of information I ever consider to be concrete is that which comes from individuals like Matt Cutts who are actually working on the algorithms which determine search rankings, and they are notoriously tight lipped!