26 Aug 2013

A Look into Google Plus Link Graph and Flow

After all the talks about the correlation between rankings and plus ones (followed by Matt Cutt’s rebuttal), more and more people are talking about “Google Plus SEO

If you take a look at how Google implements nofollow within Google Plus, you can get a much better understanding of what it thinks about links in general.

Not All Internal Links Are Created Equal

You would think that all internal links are good as they give a crawler an opportunity to go to that page but that’s not what Google thinks!

There two types of links for Google: Reference (vote?) and self-put:

If you reference anyone in the comment, you are giving a “follow” link to that profile whereas your own “self-serving” link is nofollow:

Internal link flow Google Plus

Your own link is nofollow while you are following the link to a person you are giving editorial reference to

Interestingly enough, if you are re-sharing someone’s Google Plus update, you are not giving the credit to the original poster; Instead, you are “referencing” the update itself:

Google re-share link flow

(Google must think you are re-sharing because you like the update NOT because you think the original poster is cool enough; so if you want to *really* give proper credit, you need to tag that person in the update itself):

Not All External Links Are Created Equal

This has been brought up earlier: There’s only one way to give a “follow” link from your update, that is put it into the “Link” field:

Google links follow

Put your link here for it to be “followed” by Google

If you just copy-paste it into the update field, Google will nofollow it:

Google Plus infographic

Google Plus link juice infographic by Google Plus PageRank

So Are Plus Ones Created Equal?

Following the above logic, Google may be weighing all references from different Google Plus profiles based on:

  • How many people have him/her in circles (the more links from Google Circles from many users, the better)
  • How many people reference him/her (each reference = link)

If you are included in many circles and referenced a lot, you have a lot of internal PageRank flowing to your profile page (and hence possibly the higher rankings to pages he/she shares on that profile page).

Otherwise, if all you do is posting comments but no one cares to reference you or add you to circles, you are probably useless :)

Is Google simply implying an internal (in many ways outdated) link graph theory to its social network to measure people’s influence. Is it in any way new?

(Probably) No and no.

Is it interesting to watch and play with?

It is to me! What about you?