No sooner does Cyrus Shepard proclaim "an amazing correlation" between the number of GooglePlus +1's and higher search rankings, then Matt Cutts debunks it.

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No sooner finished reading Cyrus Shepard's Moz post, "Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings" when I saw Hobo SEO's (Hobo Internet Marketing now, I guess it's called) Shaun Anderson quoting Matt Cutts "debunking" the "Moz Data Science Team scientific correlation study" via Cutts' post at Hacker News.

So there you have it, essentially a causation vs correlation issue - but what do you believe to be true? I'm guessing with the best of 'em, but I suspect the truth lay somewhere in the middle.

Cyrus Shepard did respond to Cutts' post via Hacker News. After all, his post did read "...Correlation...", not "causation".

Thoughts on this?

 

 

Comments

I thing Cyrus jumped the gun

While his title clearly didn't claim a direct relationship, he certainly implied it. and Matt responded in this HN thread, saying:

Suffice it to say that I would be very skeptical of anyone who claimed that more +1s led to a higher search ranking in Google's web results.

Knowing Matt's penchant for precise speaking, I read "led to" to be his way of disclaiming any direct influence. That doesn't rule out indirect, though. I've believed for a long time that Google is already implementing some level of agent/authority rank, and +1s could indirectly contribute to a higher ranking for an associated entity.

'Course, that's just me. :p

There is more..

There is more data just awaiting to be drawn, to conclude this theory. The tip of the ice burg hasn't even been touched.

found this interesting tidbit

According to this google + comment it was not a direct refuation https://plus.google.com/+MarkTraphagen/posts/jbqmn9c1HsH

"In a nutshell, it is not the number of +1's that causes the ranking lifts, but the shares those plusses generate that contain followed links back to the post."Although I personally have not seen the correlation spoken of here, In general, I think it is in google's interest to say that it is not a ranking factor (even if it is), for the simple reason that if they stated it, it his highly likely that google+ would be overrun by spammers sell 1000 +1s to your homepage for $200 on ebay. Maybe i'm being a conspiracy theoriest here though?

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