Thanks Matt, I think we both agree that Google doesn't use +1's directly in your algorithm. But are you implying there are no SEO benefits to posting popular content on Google+? Google does use PageRank and anchor text, 2 things present in Google+ posts that aren't passed as easily in Facebook and Twitter. It seems to me that a popular post on Google+, shared and linked to by well known authorities, is just like earning a high authority editorial link - and this is a bit different than most other social media platforms.
Now, if you tell me you treat Google+ differently in a way that blocks link juice, blocks anchor text and doesn't pass link equity, then I think I would have to rethink my thesis. Regardless, I think we're both on the same page here. The goal is not to accumulate a massive amounts of +1's (and I'll amend my post to make that clear) but to share high quality content on Google+ and build your influence through this channel, and this can lead to real world success.
My argument is that Google+ as a platform passes actual SEO value, and I don't think this is a bad thing or something that needs to be debunked. Feel free to disagree if I'm way off base here.
> Now, if you tell me you treat Google+ differently in a way that blocks link juice, blocks anchor text and doesn't pass link equity, then I think I would have to rethink my thesis.
> My argument is that Google+ as a platform passes actual SEO value, and I don't think this is a bad thing or something that needs to be debunked.
Huh? You first say it doesn't pass directly in the algorithm ("blocks link juice, anchor text, and equity"), but then argue that it does ("passes value")? What part of the argument am I missing here?
If you're arguing that overall exposure to content goes up because social media sharing, then I'd be inclined to agree. Overall exposure then translates to better SEO because links are being used more often outside of non-seo-algorithmic social media (for example in blogs), hence the correlation.
A Google+ post passes SEO benefits (through linking) independent of the number of +1s it has. So although Google doesn't use +1s directly, it does use the link signals found naturally in the Google+ post itself. Because these link signals are by design blocked by Facebook and Twitter, this makes Google+ a superior platform from an SEO perspective.
i.e. if you don't use Google+ you will lose out in rankings compared to sites that do.
So the SEO advice about "make good content people want to see" needs to be amended to "make good content but make sure you share it on the closed proprietary social network run by the search engine".