There’s been some discussion about the power of +1s lately. One of the questions is how big of a ranking signal is a plus one and the usual response is not much. And I know that Matt Cutts has stated that a +1 isn’t a major ranking signal but I have personal experience that says otherwise.
I want to share how +1′s moved a local listing of a client to the top of page one in the local 7 pack. I had moved this client to the top of the search results in the past and they were happy and decided not to utilize my monthly maintenance services. We lost contact and they eventually upgraded their website abandoning the old domain name and creating a new one. As a result they lost their top rankings in the search results. They were no longer on page one for their key search terms. So they contacted me again.
While I was debating whether or not to change all of their inbound links to the new URL, I decided to share with my friends on Google Plus that a former client had returned and had lost their top rankings in the search results when they changed their domain name.
In my post I included a link to their Google Plus Local Listing page. At that time the page had only two +1s. But after my G+ post the number of +1′s grew from 2 to 20. And in the next few days, the local listing had moved from page three to the top of page one where it has been for over a week. I’ve tested the search results incognito and tested again not logged in to Google to make sure the rankings were real and not just personal search results.
The +1′s seem to be the only factor that could have moved the local listing from page three to the top of page 1 in the search results. Granted, the local listing had an optimized website and plenty of inbound links. But it was sitting on page three for quite and didn’t move to the top of page 1 until the bevy of +1′s.
Of course, it will take more than just +1′s on a local business page to move a listing to the top of the search results, but it looks like they can be instrumental in achieving top rankings.