3.9K SHARES

A while back I decided that I really wanted to dig deep into the effect of social activity on Google+ and how it relates to shared links. Social proof is a hot topic in social media and online authority, so the end goal is to discover the best ways to share links to your website or blog on Google+.

The end result of this study changed everything about how I share links on Google+, and reveals how much more powerful it can be when compared to other social networks.

I created a series of experiments to test out how sharing links on Google+ affects social signals on the link destinations. I started with a team of testers who agreed to help by following a series of experiments with specific instructions.

Each of these experiments were informative, and each one led to the next. But if you really want to get to the big discovery, you can skip ahead to Experiment 5.

Experiment 1: The +1 Button

Using the +1 button on a new blog post, I shared the link asking my team to only +1 the post from within Google+. This experiment was first to see if a link post on Google+ would transfer the +1 count to the designated link. In other words, do the +1s on the Google+ post show up on the actual web page that is linked?

In simpler terms, if someone +1’d the linked post on Google+, does it show up in the +1 count on the actual web page that is linked?

here and there

The result was affirmative. All +1s that happened on the Google+ post linking to the blog post were counted on the blog post I shared. Additionally, the count was +1 higher on the actual blog post. The Google+ post received +21 and at the time, the blog post itself reflected +22.

This result led me to believe that the +1 count on the web page is also factoring in the sharing of the post on Google+ into account. This led me to the next experiment.

Experiment 2: The Reshare Button

Again, using the +1 button on a new blog post I shared the link to Google+ and asked my team to only use the reshare button on the Google+ post. The question to be answered was, do reshares on the Google+ link post get attributed as +1s on the actual blog post?

The result, again, was affirmative. However, this time the number reflected on the blog post was +3 higher than the number of shares the Google+ link post received. I’m not quite sure why this was. Unless one of my team members accidentally hit the +1 on the blog post, I’m not sure why the numbers would be higher.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the first comment from an individual on a post is counted as another +1. So Each individual has the potential to add +3 per post by hitting the +1, resharing, and leaving a comment. It doesn’t matter how many comments are left, each commenter is only counted once.

Experiment 3: The +1 and Reshare Combined

This experiment was a bit more complex. Team members were asked to both +1 and reshare the original Google+ link post and then find a few other reshares of the same post from other team members and +1 and reshare a few of those.

This was very tricky to quantify. My original Google+ post had +20 and 25 reshares. Currently the blog post reflects +128. So my closest hypothesis in this case is that it is counting all activity from all posts into the one blog post. Pretty powerful social signal attribution.

This leads me to believe that Google is trying really hard to give your shared links all the social credit they deserve. Something that the other networks are definitely not doing.

Experiment 4: Sharing From Google+ Rather Than The Original Blog Post

On all previous experiments I used the +1 button on the blog post to share to Google+. What I wanted to do for this experiment is begin the link post on Google+ and see if it still effectively linked the activity on the Google+ post to the blog post.

new link post

The results, again, were affirmative.

I gave my team a string of text to copy/paste into a new Google+ post from Google+ on their own which contained a link to the blog post. Nobody +1’d or shared anyone else’s post, only original shares of the link were performed. Each one of those shares was attributed to the +1 button count on the blog post.

Are you starting to see the power in this yet?

Experiment 5: Image Post With 1 Link

This was really the kicker, and completely changed the way I share blog posts on Google+.

It has been clear for quite some time that images perform much better than link posts on most social networks. This is why Pinterest has become so popular. I had always wished that the social networks would allow for sharing of blog posts (or any web page) in a way that would pull in a full-sized image rather than just a tiny thumbnail.

In this experiment I wanted to see if I could share an image post on Google+ that contained one link to a blog post and have all the +1/reshares attributed to the blog post as in the previous experiments. I didn’t really expect this to work.

new image post

To my great surprise, it worked!

This means that you don’t have to use the link post format on Google+ to have the social activity attributed to your blog post. If you use an image and have one link within the body of the post, all the +1s and reshares (as well as the +1s and reshares of the reshares) will be attributed and reflected on the original blog post (or web page) that is linked in the body.

Do you understand how huge that is? I know you might feel like you’re in the movie Inception and your brain is spinning, but let it sit for a second and it will eventually click.

Why does this matter?

Social signals are one of the factors that human beings use to gauge authority, trustworthiness, and importance. A web page that shows a lot of social shares appears more important or authoritative than a web page with very few social shares.

Think about it, if you see a website that shows that 40 Million people have ‘Liked’ it and compare it to a web page that shows only a few ‘Likes’, which one would you think is more relevant/important/legitimate? Likewise, for blog posts, the more social signals, the better.

But that’s not all.

Social proof is now being factored into search engine rankings. There are various studies that have been done on this, but all of them agree that the more social shares a website or blog post has, the better it is likely to rank. And with Google+ giving more and more weight to the +1 button and social recommendations, this knowledge could be huge if you understand how to use it well.

Conclusion

With this knowledge, we now know that you can effectively post an image and ,within the body of the post, add one link to a blog post or web page and all +1 and share activity will be successfully transferred and reflected on the +1 count on the linked page.

Note that if there are any other links in the body of the post, including if you +mention someone, the link connection is broken, and the activity isn’t transferred. Hashtags are fine to include, but no other links or +mentions can be included.

UPDATE: After doing some more testing, I have confirmed through multiple sources that +mentioning does not break the linkage! We’ve only tested with one +mention per post though, so it has yet to be seen if there is a +mention limit. But for all intents and purposes, feel free to +mention in your image posts!

After making this discovery I now share an image post for every new blog post I write. In fact, it’s likely that you have followed an image post with a link in it to find yourself here reading this blog post!

Image posts stand out more in the stream and always elicit more activity than just a standard link post.

If you want your posts to really stand out from the crowd use the image post format as outlined above. In this follow-up post I cover a formula that I’ve seen work time and time again. I call it, The Anatomy of a Perfect Google+ Post.

A very special ‘Thank You’ to all those who participated as part of my Experiment Group:
Parris Payden – Stephen Uchacz – Matt Hooper – Roger Høyem – Chris Wilson – Chris Sehorn – Nathan Roten – Kenneth Manesse Sr. – Stephanie Calahan – Adam Smith – Ray Flores – Dave Knepper – Matthew Snider – Jonny Kirk – Shannon Reece – Alicia Feliz – Robert Warren – Jeff Schultz – Marianne Sansum – Jo Anne Thomas – Alexandra Ostrow – David Tonen – Ken Harkey – Ayoub Habchi – Kalynn Amadio – Tina Jones – Jeremy Smith

For further reading, my friend Ben Fisher did a series of similar, more controlled experiments. You can read his conclusions here.

If you have any questions, throw them in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. John Ellis says

    OK.. HOLY $#@! that is huge. The blog post URL in body get activity cred. It took me a few to let that sink in. Now I do not have to choose between format and target. I can use a big image to draw more attention to my post. This will change how we deal with bylines a bit I think. Adding them to the image right in plus is one option. Kind of Flip board-ish…

    Curious if you’re using images from Pinterest, your google+ photos, or both now? Do you think there is an advantage to one of the other?

    • says

      I create all my images (either from scratch or using a stock photo as a starting point). So all image begin on the blog itself and then I upload that same image to google+ to use as the feature image there. Does that answer your question?

      • says

        you’re totally insane to be doing this manually!!! (assuming manually but hey, i could be wrong). use nextscripts SNAP autoposter. it’s a premium plugin & it’s worth every red cent. i post ALL of my social media right from wp. image posts to twitter, fb, and g+. i handcraft each and every one but i have a template set up for each. i always post an image post to g+ with my note, the URL, and the image post.

      • says

        Dustin,

        Yes that does. I did not see this reply or I would have responded sooner. :)

        There was also news about Google+ post in body links being no-follow, does this change your process knowing the link juice is only passed via the link post buttons? That being the case it might be better to link directly to the image in wordpress and not a duplicate uploaded to Google+.

        The social power may be more important, but it’s good to note that body links are no-follow for those using Google+ posts to boost rank for WP pages and posts.

        Thanks for the update!

        Joghn

        • says

          John, the post here is really more about “social proof” than “link juice” and SEO. Photos do really well on social networks, and because of Dustin’s experiments we can take comfort that posting a photo that links to our blog will actually help the article out a little with social proof. Otherwise, you end up having to always post a link to get the social counter to go up, which doesn’t always appeal to people.

          • John says

            Stephan,

            No argument there.. the social value is immense for sure. I’m just thinking of the long term value of the post for rank. As those signals rack up, that post may provide link value that can be used later on. The best part is, we can edit the links down the road as needed.

    • says

      It’s only huge and trust when I say I hope it’s epic in size if it’s able to used for short and long term optimiztion… right?

  2. says

    This is fantastic and immensely useful work, Dustin!

    Now, at first blush your advice in Test #5 seems to run counter to what I’ve been telling people in my Google+ SEO posts and conference presentations. That is: the featured link in a Google+ post passes PageRank authority from the profile of the person sharing it. So it would seem the best SEO advice is to share direct from the web page and let Google+ create that followed link in your Google+ post.

    That’s what I used to say. And we faved a sad farewell to creating beautiful, full-size images for our posts that we knew got better engagement.

    Well now because of you, i say welcome them back!

    Why? Because getting more social share numbers early on in the life of your blog post is more important than the authority value of that one link in your first share.

    When you share your own posts, those are all links coming from one domain to your site. (Assuming that Google treats each G+ profile like a domain, which I think to be the case for SEO purposes.) Nice, but Google likes to see domain diversity. If a lot of links are coming to a site all from the same domain, after a while those links don’t mean as much to Google.

    So don’t waste that first share of your new post on just another link from your own profile. Instead follow Dustin’s advice and create a post right in Google+ with an eye-catching full-size image, and put the link to your blog post in the body of your share (even though that link will be no-follow).

    Now your share has a much better chance of getting more initial +1’s and reshares, all of which run up the +1 count back on your post on your site, as Dustin has shown. New people coming to the blog post through those initial shares see higher social proof, and are more likely to click that +1 button and reshare it themselves. And most of their shares will be have the featured (followed) link, so you end up with more SEO juice in the end.

    Dustin, you truly have changed everything, or at least the way I will be advising people to share things from their blogs to G+ from now on!

    • says

      Awesome add-on to this post, Mark. The domain diversity element is important, I’m going to piggyback on that and recommend something that I see you do often, that is to take an opportunity when you see a post already “getting legs” with shares to do a separate share of your own, whether it be through the link (as you did with Dustin’s article here) or as a totally separate photo post with the link added like in Dustin’s #5 experiment.

      This creates another “source” for sharing of the same article. Maybe because both posts are coming from G+ users, this wouldn’t be too big of an issue, however I know from your research with PageRank of Google+ profiles that this does play a part in the strategy. And since your Google+ profile has a ton of authority, when you share someone’s link directly it’s a pretty big deal for them.

    • says

      Wow! Thanks Mark! I’m glad I could help shed some light in this area! And to say that little old me has made a discovery that change the way Mark Traphagen consults is humbling!

    • says

      However, when placing a link in a short text post with a large Google+ photo post what happens is that clicking the picture opens the picture instead of taking the reader to the designated page (so the pic is getting the attention instead of the page).

      How does one get around that?

      • says

        It only takes a user once or twice to realize that clicking on a picture takes you to the picture. If a clear call to action is created in the post then you need not worry about this.

  3. Jorgen Poulsen says

    Brilliant test Dustin.

    This does change everything :)

    ps. I wonder why I can’t post via my G+ profile.

  4. says

    So what happens if you share a G+ post with multiple links in it? Do they all get the attention?

    I like doing my contextual curation posts and covering a topic pretty completely. I don’t do them often because it takes a lot of effort, but it still makes me curious.

  5. says

    Dustin, a question. Have you noticed a delay in these total plusses being accounted to a third-party +1 share button on your site? I have a post that went out hours ago and has accumulated 13 +1’s on my G+ share of it, and has been re-shared four times publicly by others (nine times altogether). But right now the +1 button on that blog post shows just 4.

      • says

        There is more than 1 day delay Dustin. I’m using Share This service for the share buttons. A post that I shared on G+ on Aug 3 has about 103+ and its been shared 19 times but the G+ button in my actual blog post only shows 43+. Earlier the post buttons showed the right numbers but ever since the beginning of August there is major discrepancy in the numbers it shows.

      • says

        My post’s numbers are now full caught up and incrementing in near-real time. I suspect the delay may also have something to do with the API access of whatever service we use for our social share buttons. They can only make so many calls on the API per hour.

  6. says

    I skipped to #5…after reading this I had to back up and see what else you had said. You’re right, 5 was the best..but the others weren’t bad either!

    The fact that images can now play a huge role in social credibility makes G+ look and feel a whole lot like Pinterest. That’s not a platform that I’m a huge fan of, but I can see the importance of this.

    Great research Dustin, and good to meet you!

    • says

      Thanks Wade! You’re right about the Pinterest feel. But if you understand why Pinterest works so well– the rise of visual content– then you can begin to disassociate with big visuals being only a Pinterest thing. It’s just the next wave of digital consumption.

  7. Elias Nathaniel says

    You did a great job Dustin!! Those experiments are very interesting and the results will likely affect the way we all post on G+. I am thinking that it may be a good idea to also test whether search rankings are being positively affected. Keep in mind that the link is still no-follow for a reason. I can’t help but wonder whether big G has two accounting systems running in parallel just like pagerank. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here so no stone is left unturned.

  8. says

    Awesome, awesome, awesome. Did I forget to say awesome? ;-)

    Thank you so much for sharing the results of your experiments with us. I’m definitely going to test things out that way from now on!

  9. says

    Power to the Picture!
    This is great news, as before, I was kinda bummed when we discovered that we did not give real value to the blog post unless we shared the link (which gave such a puny thumbnail image it was embarassing!)… now I can be happy sharing big pics again!

    No +mentions, eh? Gots me a question for you Dustin (or others)… when we first post on G+ and forget to +mention someone, then go back and ‘edit the post’ and add in the +mention of their name, they do not get notified. It still becomes a link but doesn’t send a notification. Does that same idea hold true here and perhaps we could add that all important +mention of their name (via an edit) without taking value away from the post’s link to the blog?

    • says

      To my knowledge Ronnie, they do not get notified when you go back and re-add the +mention. However, as per my update above, the +mentioning does not effect the linkage as previously stated.

  10. says

    great article Dustin.
    One comment all web links in the body of a post are tagged as no follows, means they have no real SEO, However by no means you should be discouraged as even no follows have a certain reference in today’s algorithms on SEO.

  11. Keith McMEan says

    I guess this puts to bed the whole debate about should you use Google Plus as your ‘home’ and post all your content there, like Mike Elgan does or on your ‘standalone’ website. Website it is then.

  12. says

    OK, no additional mentions or links in the body of the post.
    Well…. I suppose I’ll just have to make the first comment mine and chock full of these little details. :)

    Thanks for all your work and the post.

  13. Zachari says

    Wow!
    This is actually the MOST informative social network post I have ever read. Well done. Thanks to you all for doing this experiment. This will change the way I use Google forever.

  14. says

    This also explains why one of my blog posts bog over 100 plusses. thats over 10x the average :) I couldnt understand that since my original g+ post to that blog didnt have that many plusses. But I guess I formatted the g+ blogpost properly :)

  15. says

    awesome explanation Dustin. Earlier I used to share my posts as a link but after starting to share them on G+ with pictures as you mentioned in Exp:5 the results were simply amazing.

  16. says

    Wow, great insight, Dustin! Enjoying the comments that add even more value to what you’ve discovered. Nice when experts like you all share what you know for the benefit of us all. You are now my go-to guy for all things Google.

  17. says

    You have written by far the best argument to invest time in Google+. I’ve been living in G+ for a month now and I love it. One feature I love is the community aspect. I love it so much I even. Went as far as creating a community to connect with other communicators. G+ has so much power and potential. I just hope it gets traction as people discover what it can do to catapult their content in more ways than one.

    Thanks for taking so much time to conduct this experiment. Really think its great and super helpful!

  18. says

    Great stuff, thank you very much. I’m well along with G+ but have so much to learn. Here’s a question and I hope you have the answer! I have found that I naturally prefer to write 300+ words in a post ON G+ and include a picture, a title, and hashtags. Hope I’m clear so far. Good content.

    What I have then found myself doing, since sometimes my blog feels like a ball and chain, is after I do a blog-type post on G+, I:

    1. copy and paste it all into my blog
    2. go back to my post in G+ and put in my blog post link

    Is that ok? I have been enjoying originating my posts in G+ and then thought, hmmmm, maybe I should do what I described above. It means the link to my blog goes into G+ later.

    Thank you!

  19. says

    Is there a way to add links without the full URL showing in G+ posts? Sorry this may be a very lame question/ but I’m still in the infancy stage here. Thanks for taking the time to do your experiments (and to those that participated) so that folks like me can hit the ground running!

  20. says

    Dustin, Is there a particular plugin that you’re using for your social media sharing buttons? After reading your article I checked my site to see if my g+1 share button is corresponding with the +1’s and shares that I’m getting in G+ and it’s definitely not. Some of my posts show 0 from my site, but within G+ it’s gotten 23 +1’s and reshared 3x’s. Do I have something hooked up wrong? Thanks!

  21. says

    Dustin,

    Man is it cool to be part of a team that keeps hitting the ball. Singles, doubles, triples and then grand-slam homeruns like this ensure that everyone who plays WINS.

    The only person who loses is the person who refuses to play.

    Thanks for letting me play, even if my role is just ball boy.

  22. Ian says

    Thanks very much for doing this research and sharing it. I’d seen some of these effects on blog posts from my site, but it’s good to have confirmation that this is exactly how it works.

    Great job, thanks again.

  23. says

    Incredible work Dustin. I would doff my cap to thee if I wore one.

    I now aim to spend more time following your suggestions in how I use Google+.

    Thank you kindly good Sir

  24. says

    Question for ya Dustin. Does this work the same if the link shared is a post, the +1s and shares for each page add to the total for the site? Does that make sense?

  25. says

    This article provides so much tangible value, that a perfunctory “thanks, great article” would be a masterpiece of understatement. After reading this, Dustin, I literally said to myself, “shoot, I need to up my game!” HaH!

    By the way, when you shared links with a full image on Google+, did you share the full link, or did you use Google url shortener (that’s what I’ve been doing, but now you have me wondering if it makes a difference).

  26. says

    Thanks so much! You may have convinced me to take back up Google+

    One question though. I am uncertain about one thing. I saw that if I post a image with a link in the post that a +1 in Google plus will translate to a +1 on the page. Does that +1 translate back to the googleplus post if other people +1 the post on the web page?

    Thanks again. This is pretty cool stuff

  27. Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio says

    Great info to digest and put into practice. Thanks for sharing your key takeaways. They really make sense to me now! Thanks again.
    Cheers to you and yours!

  28. says

    Thanks for sharing this, Dustin. So many “experts” make sweeping statements based on a single observation. Appreciate the time & effort that you & your team put into this.

  29. Jim Banks says

    Excellent analysis Dustin. Love the way you tested out the various scenarios.

    I’d be interested to know how this works with Interactive Posts (if it does). The adoption rate of IP’s hasn’t been as high as I would have thought.

    • says

      Jim, so far IP’s do nothing for the social proof, at least as it relates to the +1 count on your web page. Having said that, I’ve spent the past few days promoting older blog posts that already have some good social proof (and all the SEO that went with it because of the Google+ sharing), and they do send quite a bit of traffic and shares (and the shares IMO help G+ posts sustain traffic back to the site). Maybe it’s because the IP’s are eye-catching. Still lots to understand from them because the data being provided is incomplete, but I can affirm that the +1 count does not go up when IP’s are shared.

  30. says

    Social proof is near and dear to my heart. I kinda feel “dirty” that more than half of the people in my circle are only there to give me social proof (i.e., people who I don’t really have any connection with other than one time I read something on their blog and I added them and they added me back) and I really feel I should try to connect more with the people in my social circles.

  31. Spook SEO says

    M-I-N-D B-L-O-W-N!!!
    You’re definitely right with how images can greatly impact a post rather than just the links wit thumbnails.

    Your tip number 5 is POWERFUL! Thanks for sharing Dustin! I’m sure this post is going to make it to the top marketers and a lot of people will now be using this strategy.

    Now that’s what I call providing value! Cheers!

  32. says

    A Great post :) these activities what you have done, was started since 28th July night, I was wondered to see my G+ page’s likes increased to 40 to 70 % on 29th morning :D

  33. says

    Thanks for the great post. The experiment is really great, and the results are very useful for the whole SEO community.

    But we should remember that we still don’t have any certain evidence that social signals are an SEO factor that should be taken into consideration. We have only correlation, not certain proof.

  34. says

    This is a fantastic article. Thanks for doing all the work and sharing it with us. I have been using shareaholic and sharing directly from my posts… In order to save time in my initial sharing process, I’ve used the share buttons from my blog and noticed that the images are sometimes thumbnails and other times (ie, Facebook) not even the featured image. So, I will buckle down and share as you have demonstrated… thanks again!

  35. says

    I came to the same conclusion as you do: +1 is very important, it is cumulative, and it will soon affect the search results I see in google + my friends see in google. To be honest with you, right now when I search for something on google, I am inclined to click FIRST on a link that was +1’ed or shared on google plus by one of the friends in my google circles, and secondly I click on links that have the author’s picture there.

    Google is collecting all these social signals, since they missed the “twitter hose” or the “facebook bus”, and the +1, the google reshare, the picture share on google+, and all that will soon have a great impact on the way we find and digest content…

  36. says

    Fantastic analysis Dustin.

    If you’re interested, I’ve noticed that embedding YouTube videos seems to break the passing of the +1. Anytime I embed a YT video, and then link to a page, the +1s don’t transfer. Even though it might show +100 on G+, it shows +2 or so on my actual website.

    I wonder what’s the right way to do that?

  37. Neil Ferree says

    I did a fast forward to Tip #5 and look forward to running your image test formula. Very handy and timely Dustin!

  38. C. Raine Williams says

    Absolutely love this article! I have a better understanding of the power for utilizing Google+.
    Thanks Dustin!

  39. says

    Great info Dustin! Do you know what happens if someone shares an image, then shares scoop.it link, which in turn refers users to the source?

    • says

      I call partial hogwash. Mark Traphagen would have far more insight than myself, but what I know is this: with personalized search results a +1 from a peer can cause a piece of content to be in your results. Therefore, there is certainly something that is taken into account when +1’s happen.

      I really think they just don’t want people gaming the +1 system, so they’re making huge effort to keep it under wraps until they’ve got a fully grasp on how to intelligently analyze them.

      • says

        I agree.

        I’m pretty sure that +1s are at least for faster discovery, so not using their ranking signals would be silly–especially since they admitted using signals from Twitter as far back as 2010.

        -Matt

  40. says

    I just want to say well done on this post. I give kudos to Google+ for many of their efforts compared to facebook and twitter. I’m not convinced they’ll ever catch up but they are sure trying their best to force the situation.

    Facebook has over 1.15 Billion users

    Twitter has over 500 million users

    Google+ has over 343 million users

    yet the #1 social media source for determining page authority is google+

    hmmm…..

    • says

      Thank you +Kries Dietz for this insight. It is very relevant to a few efforts I am involved in. Just because I will be asked, could you share how it is determined that G+ is the leading social media source for determining page authority? Sorry if this is basic. I truly appreciate the insight.

  41. says

    While this is all very interesting, what effects did the +1 votes have on the page’s position in the SERPs?
    I would assume the end result of higher positions should be the objective.

    A couple of years back I did a test to find out and my results were in direct opposition to Matt Cutts statement that +1 votes do not affect search positions.
    (NOTE: Results could be different due to changes in Google’s algos.)

    For the test I took a page that had been stable at position #24 for it’s primary keyword phrase.
    During the time of the testing there were no major Google updates, nor did I build any other links to the page.

    In the first part of the test a single +1 vote moved the page to #3, where it stayed for 9 days before dropping to it’s original position.
    The 2nd part of the test was to have a tweet regarding the page retweeted.
    One retweet and the page moved to #1 where it again stayed for 9 days.

    After several weeks the page got 7 +1 votes and rose to #9 for a longer period of time.
    When there was no longer any activity about the page, it again descended to it’s original position, where it sits today.

  42. says

    Thank you for this article! Apparently I haven’t been using Google+ to its full potential! I try to blog weekly on behalf of my company to drive people to our site. I plan to see huge improvements to traffic by implementing your suggestions. Thanks again and great read!

  43. Konstantin says

    +Dustin W. Stout

    Thanks, good investigation. Have a question.
    Does it work with shortened with goo.gl or bit.ly links?

  44. Usama Arshad says

    The new feature by Google+ ( i.e auto sharing on Google+ ) will definitely help bloggers and web entrepreneurs to save their time, though. thanks for the content Dustin!

  45. Marianne says

    Great article. Really helpful. I found it via a search for why I had 4 +1’s and it only showed a +3 on one of my shares – which this blog didn’t answer – but kept reading for all the helpful info and have shared it with various groups and through social media as it is one of the best explanations of how G+ sharing works that I’ve seen.

    Look forward to following your blog Dustin!

    • says

      It seems that Google+ may eliminate duplicate signals (like if the same person +1’d it on one post and then +1’d another share of the same post). The other reason numbers may be off is because of an occasional delay.

  46. says

    Thanks for sharing this article. I read parts of it twice, but have 1 doubt. You said below:
    “In this experiment I wanted to see if I could share an image post on Google+ that contained one link to a blog post”

    What do you mean by that? As far as I tried, when you do Image post on Google+, the image has to be uploaded or selected (if it exists in Google+ photos). How do you link it to your post? By adding a link in the text file above image upload field?

  47. Preston Odenbrett says

    +Dustin Stout – Just to let you know I did one experiment today. I usually don’t get many +1’s on the actual posts of my stream, where I get 1+s is in the communities I belong in. Would there be a difference in the number of +1’s if that post, which of course is written differently goes into a community as well?

    I just posted from wordpress my blog from this morning but It never showed up, even though I have it set to do so, or I can’t find it? I just posted it again using a larger picture like you indicated and of course a link to my blog.

    I am then going to send out to a community that will not mind having it there, however that might not be possible until I get a hold of the owners of those communities.

    Do you think I will have more 1’s in the community or outside? Do you think they will match my 1’s on my blog or will the screw the numbers?

    Just thought I would share.

  48. vivek says

    If you are a newbie, trying to post quality content but not having social signals like you mention, that means your article is not worth it.
    I mean if this practice will be good for people new to content writing, no body will read their article because their counter is 0(initially) in terms of social signals.
    0 G+ counts will reflect into the minds of readers that it is not authoritative content.
    correct me if I am going wrong.

    • says

      Let me clarify– this is about psychological perception. It doesn’t mean your article isn’t worth it, but a new reader could perceive that the quality is lower. A reader will potentially see the low signal count and potentially perceive that the website/article isn’t popular/authoritative. We’re dealing in perception here so there aren’t a whole lot of absolutes because every reader is different in how they interpret signals. If they can see the share count, they have obviously arrived at the site and are already reading, so there is a chance that your content is still compelling enough to override the low signal.

      • vivek says

        You are right-Psychological Perception. When I read an article heading, intentionally or not, these social signals draws my attention-their presence after an article heading cannot be ignored. An if that article has a list of social signals like Facebook share, twitter, LinkedIn, g+ , with reasonable counts in favor, than most of the time I also read that article only. Most of the time I have overlooked an article whose social counters are null.

        but anyways thanks, for this valuable information.

  49. says

    Well, I have already figured this out and I have always done it this way. So now I have 2 questions:
    1) What tool do you use to allow people to share your content through social media?
    2) Can I be on your team the next time you have an experiment???

    Thanks :)

  50. says

    Oh Dustin you’re a star – this is just what I wanted to read as I’ve added my url to an image post many times hoping it might pass some juice :) Thank you and your team of helpers for figuring all of this out. I’ll now be able to share even older blog posts this way using my photographs :)

  51. says

    I remember seeing this when you first posted, Dustin. Great discovery! Do link shorteners still work with this? I tried it yesterday and it didn’t seem to. I was, however, looking for immediate results. I don’t know if that plays a factor.

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