Marketers lose sleep over the metrics that determine page ranking. While the rest of the world is counting sheep, internet marketers are counting Facebook likes and +1s. And, it’s a good thing they are.

Every couple of years, the Moz Data Science Team runs correlation studies to uncover some of the qualities that top-ranking search pages possess. The latest study looked at the relationship between +1s and page ranking. After “page authority,” Google +1s are more influential to a page’s search rankings that any other factor, and that includes linking root domains and Facebook likes and shares.

And, the Moz study was not just a one-time deal. Other correlation studies, such as one done by Searchmetrics, found similar results. So, the question begs, “Do more +1s really help your pages rank better?”

We surely think so.

It’s not just the fine print in the studies that have us nodding our heads, but also the fact that the relationship between +1s and page rankings makes sense. Here’s why.

Google+ Discovers New Content

Google wants to deliver new content in real time, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by discovering content on Google+. Not only is the site a great platform for sharing fresh content, but also it has fewer limitations. Facebook has privacy settings and restrictions on data sharing, while Twitter hides much of its information from Google. So, that leaves the search engine with access to Google+, which is why it crawls and indexes pages with +1s so quickly.

Google+ Builds Link Equity

When you share a link on Google+, the anchor text becomes the title of the page that is shared. These shared links are followed and pass link equity.

Google+ Acts Like a Blog

One of the brilliant things about Google+ is that each post offers the same value as a blog post. It has its own URL, the first 50 characters are in the title tag, it can include internal links and it can be as long as you’d like. In fact, there are correlations between longer pages and higher rankings, just as with blog posts. These factors send stronger semantic signals to Google and helps boost a page.

Google+ Shows Authority

Thanks to Google+ Authorship, author photos can appear in the search results. While it’s believed that Author Rank is not used to rank pages at the current time, many feel that this will be a future metric, and we should be mindful of it.

Whether intentional or not on Google’s part, giving attention to +1s is a surefire way to boost your site’s search rankings.