Google+ Ripples – Another Awesome Tool by Google
May 14, 2013
Have you ever stopped and visually pictured how something goes viral? Imagine one link getting submitted, then a couple of your friends share that link, then their friends share that link and so on and so forth. Why do some links stop while others get shared by 100’s of random people? Viral marketing has been one of the most effective forms of marketing since the dawn of the World Wide Web. In recent years it’s been such a valuable technique that even email marketers, social media marketers and other forms of internet marketing specialists have adopted it into their strategies. Now Google has forced the SEO’s to adopt viral marketing as well.
In a world where thousands of websites have optimized pages, abide by the Google webmaster guidelines, have their target keywords in the content, and contain hundreds of backlinks, Google had to determine a way to differentiate which sites are ultimately better than others. They’ve spent multiple years scoring various types of links and how they are obtained. However the reality is, as long as anyone and everyone can build a link, Google has to veer away from giving backlinks the strength they used to give them. Therefore Google had to incorporate other measures such as site performance, referral traffic and social shares when ranking websites.
Site Performance: There’s no better way to measure how your website compares to your competition than to see how users interact with your site. Are users spending more time on your website than others? Are visitors clicking the back button as soon as they land on your webpage and moving on to the competition? Are people visiting 10 pages on your website while only checking out 2 on the competitors? These types of questions help Google determine how to rank websites. After all, Google prides itself in delivering the best results to its searchers. The best way to evaluate your sites performance is to use Google Webmaster Tools and install Google Analytics.
Referral Traffic: Google is starting to measure the true relevance of your backlinks through referral traffic. If you have thousands of backlinks to your website, and only 5 referring visits that says a lot about the links you created. It implies that these links are not seen by visitors, are on pages with no value, are on pages that aren’t relevant to what that page’s visitors are reading, and are probably there solely for SEO purposes. You should seek to get links from sites that will send you targeted traffic.
Social Shares: In combination with site performance and referral traffic, Google had to address the most obvious measure which is social shares. What better way to see if a page deserves Google’s recommendation than to see if it gets shared/recommended by users? A great way to see how valuable a website is, is to track if people are willing to share it socially with friends, email to co-workers, + it on profiles, etc. If the website is legit, resourceful or interesting users will want to bookmark and share it.
Facebook shares and Twitter tweets are great indicators of the value of a website. However Google, does not own or control those websites, so the information they get from them isn’t 100% accurate. All they can do is speculate and use comparable measures that are at best a guesstimate. This is why Google had to come up with its’ own social network, Google Plus. And just like Google always does, they provided us with a tool to help determine the spread or reach of our target URLs. The tool is called Google Ripples.
Google Ripples allows you to enter a URL and see how far it’s gone within the G+ network. Sometimes you’ll see that a post has just been shared by a couple people here and there. Then sometimes you see a post shared by one, then shared by someone in their circle and spreads out from there. Just getting a high number of G+’s is not enough. I believe the goal is to create “ripples”, where you share a page with people in your circles, those people share the page with their circles, and then the people in their circles share the page with their circles and so on.
I encourage you to play around with this awesome tool. See what types of pages didn’t receive any shares, which posts just got G+’d, and which ones created ripples. Once you find a couple of pages that got ripples, Google something similar to that post and see how it ranks. You’ll notice the correlation. Have fun and start turning pages into skipping stones!