googleplus-revisedGoogle+ has slipped off the radar a little after big changes behind the scenes and growing speculation about the platform’s future. However, one marketing expert claims Google+ could one day surpass Facebook and traditional link building for SEO purposes.

It’s a bold statement to make but Merry Morud – social advertising director at aimClear – says social signals have already replaced links as the top commodity in SEO. Meanwhile, Google itself claims social signal don’t currently play a significant role in page ranking – despite studies that suggest otherwise.

Social and search move closer together

Despite what Google says, you can’t rule out the impact of social signal when it comes to your website’s position in search results. Even without direct influence on Google algorithms, brands with a strong social presence tend to come with everything a search engines want to see. However, it’s hard to deny that social signals also play a direct role in how search engines index content from your domain and many experts support this claim.

“In the old days of SEO, link building was the ultimate, but with social, SEO becomes democratised, more of an aggregate of symbols and authority,” explains Morud. She also points out that Google+ offers its subsequent search engine the “purest” social signals – a factor that could see the platform surpass Facebook in terms of SEO impact.

Defining the role of Google+

As time goes by it becomes increasingly difficult to call Google+ a social network as such. Google itself shies away form the idea, although this could have more to do with its failure to rival Facebook than anything else. And over times it’s become more natural to think of Google+ as a hybrid social and content publishing network. The growth of Google Authorship only encouraged this and Google+ seemed like the pace to be for people that wanted to share their content.

However, the days of authorship are numbered and a string of high profile changes behind the scenes at Google have left a rather large question mark over the future of Google+. While a key question that seems as unclear as ever is what exactly is Google+ supposed to be? If it’s not a social network or the publishing platform we expected, the options seem fairly limited.

Google still holds the ace card

Google certainly has some work to do in order to get its latest social effort back on track, but it has a huge advantage on the competition. Whether it decides to take a new direction with Google+ (it may well have to) or simply tries to remarket itself, Google+ will always come with the SEO prowess marketers crave.

This is what sets Google+ apart and precisely how Morud expects to see the platform get back on track. “Google is going to make social signals from Google+ so important they can’t be ignored,” she says – a trick no other social network can pull off. The real challenge for Google will be getting users as excited about Google+ as marketers will be if it can become the driving force behind social SEO.