So, a couple of weeks ago Moz published some great work about the correlation between Google +1s and higher search rankings.
We've written about Google+ before. But, when Moz posts. The marketing world listens.
The Moz Post
Basically, after a great deal of scientific research, Moz determined that after Page Authority, a URL's number of Google +1s is the most important factor to search rankings.
They determined it was more important than backlinks, Facebook shares, and any other factor. Additionally, Moz surmises that Google+ will only become more important as Google more fully implements Author Rank.
As with all things Moz, the blog post and the research behind it, was very first class and well done. And while +1s impacting SEO has been long-suspected, there was never any concrete and scientific data that proved it, until Moz did the work and wrote the post.
The Google Response
The day after Moz published their blog post, Matt Cutts, The Google Czar of Search, responded. He says, unequivocally, that Google +1s do not lead to high web rankings.
Here are few quotes from Cutts as quoted in Search Engine Journal:
Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let's start with correlation = causation.
Cutts basically said that quality content is all Google cares about. They DO NOT care about likes, shares, and +1s. BUT, naturally good content is going to get liked, shared and +1ed.
If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doens't mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.
Correlation vs. Causation.