Google+ Can Drive Traffic To Your Site

A case study

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[ Social Media]

Google+ is still very young, but it’s already becoming a significant traffic source for some sites.

Are you seeing any traffic to your site from Google+? Let us know.

“I was quite surprised to find how strong Google+ was as a social media traffic source driver,” Larry Kim, Founder and CTO of WordStream, told WebProNews. “Google+ beat-out LinkedIn, and was even closing in [on] Twitter and Facebook!”

He put together a case study looking at this a little bit. “Like any case study, I can only speak for my company’s own experiences, but nevertheless, I found the results of my case study to be quite surprising.”

For the case study, Kim compiled web analytics data for WordStream’s blog for the week of July 18 – July 24, which he says was an unusually high traffic week for the firm. He analyzed which social networks drove the most referral traffic, and Facebook took first place, accounting for 47% of visitors. Twitter was second at 27.51% and Google+ came in third at 15.42% of visitors. LinkedIn trailed with 9.81%.

As we’ve discussed before, LinkedIn can be a solid traffic source, but the fact that Google+ has been around for so little time, and is capable of driving a significant amount of traffic, before the product is even open to the public, is remarkable.

Here’s an infographic representing Kim’s findings:

Social Media Showdown - <a href=Google+ Holds its own as traffic driver” src=”http://images.ientrymail.com/webpronews/pictures/social-media-showdown.jpg” title=”Social Media Showdown – Google+ Holds its own as traffic driver” class=”aligncenter” width=”616″>

Kim’s not the only one to see Google+ making a contribution to referrals. We’ve seen some first-hand as well. Ryan Spoon wrote at BusinessInsider the other day, that Google+ had already become the #3 referring site to his site.

“Of course this has real implications for marketers & brands and how they should think about leveraging / interacting on Google Plus,” he wrote. “Furthermore, it is a powerful position for Google (should the trend continue) because they can begin connecting the properties (SEO, SEM, Plus, .com)… which in turn will cause marketers (and their budgets) to dedicate themselves further to Google.”

Google+, despite only being around for 1 month – and even then, being released in a limited ‘field testing’ mode, drove more traffic to our blog than LinkedIn – it was roughly a third of our Facebook traffic and over half of our Twitter traffic,” said Kim. “This was a huge surprise given how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers we’ve accumulated over the last several years, and given that at the time of this writing, I don’t even have a company presence on Google+ yet, or any Google +1 buttons on our website. (Though plans are in the works for both!)”

Kim brings up a couple of good points there. When Google launches its business profiles, it’s going to potentially be a huge part of how sites are able to gain more traffic from Google+. For that matter, we’re still wondering if Google will eventually include further integration of the +1 button into Google+ itself (for example, allowing it to share content to the stream like the Facebook Like Button) or merge Google Buzz with Google+ (which would mean this type of sharing via the Buzz buttons). Either would also potentially lead the way to increased traffic on heavily shared content.

Kim speculates that reasons why Google+‘s estimated 20 million users could beat LinkedIn’s 100 million users as a traffic driver may have to do with the lack of spam that has appeared on the service so far and a higher level of engagement among users. In terms of spam, I’m sure more will come in time. I’ve already seen a report of comment spam on the network.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land raises some good points about how building your following on Google+ may serve to help you in search rankings, based on Google’s use of social signals and personalized search features.

He notes that he saw a search result show him for him that was marked as being shared by Ford on Google+. That’s Google’e social search in action.

“Until recently, the social connections that Google Social Search uses have been mostly actual people,” Sullivan explains. “While brands were allowed to have Google Profiles until March of this year, few of them did. That meant relatively few brands were available for direct connections through Google.”

“It was possible to connect with brands in Google Social Search if you followed brand profiles on Twitter, Facebook or some other ways,” he adds. “However, it was fairly unusual for me to spot that something was getting a boost in Google’s search results through that type of connection.”

The point is that brands will soon (in the coming months) have Google+ profiles, and the more people that have your brand added to their Circles will probably mean you’ll have a better chance in ranking better for those people.

I’ll take it a step further and suggest that having your brand in these people’s circles may mean additional +1’s on your content. Google has already said flat out that it looks at +1 info as a ranking signal. If you’re putting your content in front of your circles, they may follow your links and +1 your content on your site, or they may +1 your actual Google+ post (which contains the link to that content).

It’s probably as good a time as ever to be a big brand.

Do you think Google+ is going to be a critical traffic driver for sites? Tell us what you think.

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  • Tami

    I’m sure traffic is being directed from some Google properties, like search, to Google + or some trick like that. It only means Google + is the referral site even though the query was entered at Google.com. Lots of Google + hype.

  • http://www.cctvfirst.co.uk/ cctv

    Can we create business pages in Google+ ?

    • http://celluleanreview.org Mike Fielding

      I haven’t seen an option for creating business pages yet, but I’m sure that Google will be releasing this feature soon.

    • http://www.patantconsult.com/articlesvault Carla Lendor

      It appears that it is in the making according to that http://www.secaucusnewjersey.org/google-plus-may-become-an-online-marketers-heaven-5508.html

  • http://www.seopawnee.com/ Pawnee Walia

    Nice post for all webmasters here. Google+ in increasing its graph!

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    I saw an immediate shift in traffic from other sources to Google Plus after the SEO community jumped onto the platform.

    A successful new platform will eventually develop its own internal synergies as people mix in different ways and make new contacts. If Google Plus only allows people to recreate their relationships on other platforms we’ll probably see zero net growth impact from Google Plus.

    That’s a derivative value that won’t be immediately apparent in referral data. You have to plot a trendline showing where you think social media referral traffic would be in 2-6 months and compare that to where it actually ends up after 2-6 months’ Google Plus referrals come in.

    If the second trendline is significantly higher than the first then you have internal synergy and true growth in social media exposure. If the second trendline is equal to or lower than the first, then all you have is Google Plus siphoning off referral numbers from other sources.

  • http://www.seo-first-page.com/seo-analysis.html seo analysis

    Its because of SEO guys… so thats why Google+ is increasing its graph…

  • Kate

    I read that google+ is removing business profiles. So now what are we supposed to do?

  • http://uplog.org Israel Rothman

    Google + and +1 are a home run, lookout facebook, twitter

  • http://uplog.org Israel Rothman

    Check it out Chris:
    B2B network news

    I own this page, would you like to know why?

    • http://www.patantconsult.com/articlesvault Carla Lendor

      Since Panda 2.3 I have seen my FB fanpage rise significantly in the Google SERPs. Inteestingly it has no backlinks, no more than 10 likes on FB and about 6 posts yeah and no G+ and ???

  • http://www.patantconsult.com/articlesvault Carla Lendor

    I think is all hype. Read an article yesterday that suggested that ceteris parabus the return visitors and social graphs for G+ was significantly less when compared to Facebook and Twitter notwithstanding it gained record uses in a short sapce of time. What would be interesting is the make up of users, who are they? Are they tech gurus,internet marketers or are they just the average persons. Ofcourse you can integrate all the Google gadgets for ease of but who are they meant for? The average person? I have used it and it really offers little and I do not see it breaking the Facebook/Twitter stronghold because the only one blowing it sucess trumpts are seasoned IMs and techgurus who are hoping to piggyback on it. The truth is it lack appeal and innovation and really offers little to the average user. But for its influence in rankings I would not be there. Its sad I have to dedicate time and resources to utter rubbish like G+ all in the name of traffic.

  • http://thescootersmopedsstore.com Don Bracco

    When Google dedicates itself to Google+ it will be “the” traffic driver.

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/blog Neil Ferree

    I’ve been active on G+ for a couple weeks. I’ve been tracking the phrase “google+ project vs facebook” because of the Scoop.it Topic I’ve been populating using their new content curation model.

    Google+ Plus Update http://bit.ly/GooglePlusUpdate on Scoop.it shows up on google organic on page 1 position 1, so yeah, there has been a fair amount of traffic as a result.

    My position falls down to #10 for “google plus vs facebook” which is still OK given the short 22 days my Scoop.it panel has been live.

  • http://level343.com Gabriella Sannino

    Sure, we’ve seen a spike from Google+. Personally I’ve only been playing on it for a week. I was off the grid for three weeks although I’ll admit I heard enough about it while in Europe so all the hoopla and launch did travel. With that said in regards to quality traffic, It’s too soon to tell really.

    I tend to agree with Don Bracco “When Google dedicates itself to Google+ it will be “the” traffic driver.”

  • http://danatanseo.blogspot.com Dana Tan

    Very interesting Case study and numbers. It made me curious to see if I was getting Google+ traffic to my blog, especially since I’ve been pretty hard on facebook-new-movie-without-men.html” rel=”nofollow”>Google+ because of their 9:1 male to female ratio. My results were the same as this case study. While it wasn’t a huge percentage, Google+ sent me 40% more referral traffic than LinkedIn, and was closing in on Twitter. Ver interesting considering how small it is right now!

  • http://www.mainemasterspaintersworkshops.com Fish Harris

    It’s been weeks now since I published my site. It still says “Under Construction”. I have tried every suggestion the Tech people have given me…NO RESULTS! I am frustrated beyond belief. Our workshops begin Sept 13, and I still can’t change that title. It’s like I paid money to be undermined by a “ROBOT”. Help Me Please…Donald L. Fish Harris

    • http://www.spidytechsolutions.com Rebecca

      Where/who with did you publish your site?

  • http://www.jobssearchsite.com Jobs Search

    As we all know Google can be a force to deliver traffic to websites so why would we think any differently of Google +1 once people become aware of it. I seem to recall reading an article some time ago as to how Google was going to be more active in Social Media!

  • http://www.catdoorsale.com Maleia

    I cant seem to get a invite to google plus? am i missing something?

  • http://www.pamhunterdesign.com Pam Hunter

    So, how do you sign up for Google+ ?

  • http://psoriasis-solution.com Clint

    How could i get Google+ and how to use it

  • http://itsanamy.com handmade beaded jewelry

    how much does Google pay you guys to keep on writing about Google +

  • https://mylife.microlifeline.net Free SMS Site

    I am using google + from last 15 days and its really effective in bringing traffic to my page. It makes easy to share your pages and sites online.

  • http://indovacations.in himachal tour packages

    This is quite good site very attractive

  • Adedayo Adeniyi

    Very nice piece! Will have to take google plus more seriously.
    But um…I think you should add their button to your RECOMMEND box, especially for THIS post… :)

  • http://www.u123.co.uk Neil

    I’m really going to have to put these links on my website, I think im missing out on the traffic if I read correctly in this article….

  • http://www.u123.co.uk Website Design Aylesbury

    Good Post Chris – keep them coming please!

  • http://www.invgate.com amelia @ IT Management

    Interesting statistics you have here. Google+ is new and it’s generating this much of traffic already.

    Many are attesting to how Google+ is really easy to use, much like Twitter, even on smartphones.

  • SLL

    I have to admit, I’m baffled. How is G+ driving traffic to sites that have no G+ profile? I don’t see, for example, WordStream on G+ at all (and G+ is kicking businesses off for now anyway) and Larry Kim’s stream seems to be blank or private.

    So by what mechanism is G+ driving traffic anywhere?

    • http://twitx.net twitx

      SLL, I don’t know this is the main vehicle but I think the Google +1 button (similar to Facebook like button) is an important tool to drive traffic without having a google plus profile presence.

      • SLL

        Ah, that makes sense. Thanks twitx!

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    How soon will it become clear exactly what Google + is intended to become? It’s dizzying truing to figure out exactly what it’s going to do and how much time to dedicate to using it for my business.

  • http://twitx.net twitx

    I need a Google Plus account. I thought they were supposed to open it up on 7-31? Just checked and it’s still closed for new users. I’m guessing they have the brakes on while they sort out the real user name issue.

  • Adam Moore

    I’m not sure how relevant this is. At the moment I’d say the figures were meaningless as all of the people on Google + are very much early adopters and are all visiting sites recommended by other early adopters. Time will tell I guess.

  • http://www.w3consultancies.com/ w3consultancies

    Interesting article.Today in the age if Internet Marketing these statistics you have here will matter for you.

  • http://www.burberryuksale.com/ burberry

    This is a fairly well-known fact, but that doesn’t make it any less of a nightmare for SEOs

  • http://www.abercrombiefitchshop.de.com abercrombie

    The point is that brands will soon (in the coming months) have Google+ profiles, and the more people that have your brand added to their Circles will probably mean you’ll have a better chance in ranking better for those people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/notes/security-camera/alert-logitech-wireless-outside-cameras/286375034734522 Security Camera

    Very difficult create business in google

  • http://www.facebook.com/notes/weight-loss/healthy-breakfasts-for-weight-loss-high-fiber-diet-weight-loss/316637315015733 Weight Loss

    How can get traffic site in the facebook?

  • http://www.facebook.com/notes/security-camera/alert-logitech-wireless-outside-cameras/286375034734522 Security Camera

    But how can do for more traffic from google

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