In the last year media both virtual and traditional have begun to give voice to what we here at 3dcart have long known, Google + is absolutely imperative for effective Search Engine Optimization. From industry blogs to the New York Times, the message is clear, as stated by Forrester’s Nate Elliott, “The database of affinity could be the holy grail for more effective brand advertising.”

Affinity means the tracking of click-throughs (Click Through Rate or CTR), which Google + mines as its users click through YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, Google Search, etc. to tailor each user’s search results based on what it thinks you most want to see. It’s no longer enough to know only what users search for, Google + allows you to know how they think—who their friends are, what they shop for and when, what music they like, etc.—to tailor search results for each individual user.

Searchmetrics’ The Ranking Factors- Rank Correlations 2013 for Google USA found that +1’s on Google + were the highest correlative factor in SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. Although Google claims +1’s are not a factor in their algorithm (which uses some 200 unique factors), it seems that the relative correlation with +1’s is that they become shared Google + posts, with active linkage on Google + itself. Those shared +1 links usually become content links using the title tag as the hyperlink.

As Claire Cain Miller says, “Some analysts even say that Google understands more about social activity than Facebook does.” Considering its recent moves to require Google + membership to do things like comment on YouTube videos, Google is demonstrating it also understands the importance of that proprietary information. The latest numbers according to Nielsen have Google Plus with 29 million unique active users monthly and 41 million smartphone users, and these numbers are anticipated to continue to expand.

The other part of the marketing equation that Google understands is building its data mining base for SEO by enticing the businesses, goods, and services its users want to Google + with FREE promotion. Says Elliot, “It is something that Google could make billions off of it they sell that space tomorrow, and they’re giving it away to try to get people onto the social platform.”

International corporations like Starbucks were some of the first to recognize Google +’s value, saying they absolutely post to the platform to boost SEO. Gaining a foothold in this burgeoning marketing space now, before Google decides to mine it for cash as well, could be the key to whether your business ends up with black or red ink in your bottom line at the end of the fiscal year.