Google’s Matt Cutts made yet another revaluation about Google’s current inability to use another social networking signal to affect rank positions. This comes after he recently revealed that Google is not using FaceBook, Twitter or their own Google Plus information to influence rank positions.
The Google +1 button is different from their Google+ social network. It is the small button sometimes found next to web site listings in Google search results as well as on many sites where users are allowed to express the fact that they like an article, which makes it the rough equivalent of a Like in Facebook. You can see a Google +1 button at the top of this article.
This is a rather lengthy Google video at 38 minutes. The comment came from Matt Cutts, the Google engineer in charge of their Web Spam Team. Matt enters the video at about the 26 minute mark. The comments about the effect of the Google +1 button come in at about the 32 minute mark.
The question is, “Does Google’s +1 button affect site rankings, and does it let the site come up to the top of the results?”
Here is what Matt says in response.
What this means is that while Google is not currently using social signals to boost rank positions, it doesn’t appear that they have given up trying to figure out a way to use them. But Matt refers to social signals as something that may be an important ranking factor ten years from now. I don’t think any of can envision the way the Internet will look in ten years.
Matt also indicates that Authorship could be becoming a ranking factor that may become more important in the future. Authorship refers to tying all of an author’s articles together through the Google Plus social network (something different than Google +1). This results in small thumbnail images of the author that appear in Google search results. I covered how to set that up in an article about how to set up Google Plus images in search results.
What is disturbing to a lot of web site owners is that after two years of pushing people to use social networks to help boost their site’s rank positions, Google has dropped just about every social networking signal from their ranking algorithms except YouTube. Quite frankly, it may be a blessing if they never start to use social networking as a strong ranking signal, because most networks appeal much more to the younger generation than to older generations who find very little use for them.