Brian Chappell has an excellent post on 7 Google Plus Data Points That Could Change SEO. In a sea of repetitive reviews, it is the first intelligent thought on how Google+ could change SEO that I’ve seen.
I’ve also been thinking about how Google+ changes SEO and wanted to expand on Chappell’s post with a few thoughts of my own.
Profiling SEOs is Simple Thanks to Google+
It’s not news that Google profiles SEOs and puts their projects under enhanced scrutiny. Google tries to discount viral link building by SEOs while allowing viral links by non-SEOs.
Well, now Google has it really easy. Even if you avoid self-identifying as an SEO in your online presence, if you are on Google+ and a friend puts you in their SEO circle, then you’ve got your own three scarlet letters.
If I were half as smart as I think I am, I’d have a Cafe Press link here selling “Friends don’t add friends to their Google+ SEO circle” t-shirts and mugs.
Google Gets to Find Subject Matter Experts
How does an SEO expert look on Google+? They probably get put in a high proportion of the Circles labeled SEO.
Now when one of these experts uses a +1 button, tweets or links to another document with a related keyword, Google would be well-advised to give that document some more weight.
If I were a betting man, and I am so pony up, Google would give expert opinions extra weight in image and video search until they can do a better job of indexing audio and non-text content.
Of course, if you want to be identified as an SEO expert, you have to contradict my previous advice and identify yourself as an SEO. As an SEO, if you described your relationship to Google on Facebook, it would definitely be “it’s complicated.”
Profiling Authors Becomes Easier
Google has already shown enough interest in giving content creators reputation scores and ranking documents that they have already published a patent on ranking authors.
Let Circles identify the subject matter experts, then combine this information with the agent rank patent and the recent Google-Bing schema.org agreement and you can confidently rank and boost the best authors.
The only real obstacle I see is spammers using schema.org markup to identify their documents as being written by better known authors in the subject area. If you see Google encouraging you to link your own content across domains from you Google + profile, then you know they are struggling with it.
Chappell talks about creating networks of social media accounts to artificially inflate social signals, but there is more to anti-spam than just that.
Setting up multiple sites to manipulate search results also gets a lot more difficult if trusted sites are expected to be owned by a well-networked Google+ account while not associated with the other spam sites.
Google is a long way away from making a Google+ account mandatory because they can’t be dropping small businesses with a minimal web-presence, but if a site smells funny and isn’t owned by somewhat active Google+ account, then there’s a good chance that it is spam.
In fact, I fully expect the next generation of Black Hat SEO to include third-party social media services that employ hundreds of third-world social media account owners to Tweet, +1 and Like so that black/grey sites can benefit from social media signals without being tied to a narrow set of IP addresses or end URLs.
Let me know how you think Google Plus changes SEO in the comments.