Manipulating Google+ for Fun and Maybe Profit…

by Craig Addyman
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

On Friday I did a post about Google’s Authorship affect on rankings and this morning I was replying to some comments and checking to see how well it had done etc. and noticed something interesting; the Google+ shares was higher than both FaceBook and Twitter combined! After digging into the analytics with Dave we noticed that the traffic driven from G+ was significantly lower than Twitter yet the number of shares was higher (about 100 more shares…at the time). See screen shot below:

Date range 7th – 10th Feb

Google Plus Social Shares

Now why would this be? Surely Twitter should have the most shares??

The number of G+ shares this morning was at 251, take a look now. At the time of writing, it’s currently at 381. We inflated this number ourselves! Within about 10 minutes we had risen this number by 51%! It turns out Google are counting everything towards the total share number, this includes shares, comments and plus 1′s.

We simply opened up Google+ and searched for the post and then ran though all the shares and plus 1′d them, along with some of the comments too (See all the red highlighted +1′s below).

google plus shares

Now this is just my account, you could run through this with your entire team and add follow up comments for each and maybe even set up multiple pages and use them to inflate the number further.

Try it for yourself, check the current G+ share count on this post and then go to this search page while signed into Google+ and +1 a few of the shares and then refresh the post and you’ll see the figure climb.

I can only assume Google are doing this so they appear bigger than they actually are to get more buy-in from bloggers etc. and if they are using this towards their algorithm in any way, then it’s an easy way to manipulate it. Not that we’d do that :)

Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency
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