Using Google+ Ripples for SEO

Written by David Somerville - 27 Nov 2012

Google+ launched Ripples over a year ago, so it’s not exactly a new feature. However, many people are yet to discover it, and probably even less people have realised how the can use Ripples for SEO.

Here’s our quick guide to what Ripples is and the ways in which you can use it as part of your SEO activities.

What is Google+ Ripples?

Google+ Ripples is a tool that can create a visualisation of public shares of posts made or URLs shared on Google+. The posts have to be public, however, so if they’ve been shared with only a select group of people from your circles they won’t be taken into account.

These shares are then graphically represented by ‘Ripples’, and these are interactive – you can zoom in and out on the graphic in order to explore who has shared it.

To view Ripples for a specific post, you can click on the drop-down arrow to the right of any publicly shared ones. We’ve discovered that it seems the posts must have at least one share in order for ’View Ripples’ to display. You can also view the hot and popular posts in the ‘Explore’ section, all of which have the option to view their Ripples.

There are three key areas of Ripples. The example post below is this one from former Star Trek actor and current social media legend George Takei.

Who has shared

See who has reshared the link and the comments they have made. You can also then follow the trail to see who has reshared their reshare and so on.

This zoomed-in view of one of the main influencers that shared the post displays further details about them, including who else reshared it from that particular person:

zoomed in google+ ripples

How a post is shared over time

This allows you to play with a cool animated version of the graphic to show how the links were shared over the period of time between when it was posted and now.

google+ ripples animated timelinePost statistics

This section shows some stats on the post or URL including top influencers, how the post spread and languages.

google+ ripples statisticsOne word of caution to bear in mind when using Ripples: because it only shows actions based on public data, you may well see some differences between what it displays and what’s on your actual posts.

Identify industry influencers

One of the main ways in which Ripples can be used to help with your SEO activity is by identifying key influencers from within your industry.

While for many sectors Google+ may be a bit light on users, there are certain industries, such as motoring, travel and technology, that have some of the big players using it on a regular basis.

By identifying the key influencers you can then start to engage with them – start following them, +1 and comment on their posts. Hopefully they will follow you back and may even interact with you, thus allowing for further conversations to take place.

Remember to add them to circles (i.e. ’Travel Bloggers’) so you can easily see what they are sharing or even share specific pieces of content with them.

Discover your shared content

Using the ‘See Ripples for URL’ box, you can enter URLs for some of your content pages to see how these have been publicly shared on Google+.

google+ripples for url toolBy discovering which pages are popular you can get a good indication on what you should be writing more of.

Tip: Use the excellent tool Social Crawlytics to discover your most popular socially shared pages then run these through Ripples. You can sort your results in Social Crawlytics by +1s then use these ones first.

Track competitors’ content

Another use of Google+ Ripples for SEO is to track the content of your competitors. Similarly to discovering your own shared content above, run some of their popular pages through Ripples to get an idea of who is sharing their stuff. You can then hopefully start to tap into their influencers as well.

Do you use Ripples, or do you have any other possible suggestions for using Ripples for SEO purposes? Let us know by commenting below.