Experiment: Value of Backlinks From Public Google Docs

Google Docs SEO experimentWe recently ran an experiment to find out if backlinks from popular public Google Docs (docs that are linked to from multiple domains and major social networking sites) pass any link juice, and now it is time to reveal our findings.

What we’ve learnt is that Google Docs links DO NOT PASS any SEO juice. Moreover, public Google Docs are not even indexed by Google, or at least they did not appear in SERPs when we tried to search by unique keywords contained in our test Google document.

Here is what we’ve done:

1. We created a public Google Doc containing the following copy:

“Google Docs Backlink Experiment
By: ArtDriver
February 3, 2012

Hello All!

If you are reading this doc, you are helping the SEO community to figure out if Google values backlinks from public Google Docs. We are testing this on our website, www.artdriver.com, using a backlink with this unique anchor text testinggoogledoclinkjuice.


Please link to this doc URL, and then we can analyze if the backlink to our site actually passes any link juice.

Thanks to everyone who helps!

P.S. I plan to write a blog post revealing my research, once I have some relevant data.“

2. We asked our friends and SEO folks to link to our test Google Doc from Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs to ensure that the public doc is widely referenced online.

3. After two weeks of testing, we ran some queries on Google to search for “testinggoogledoclinkjuice,” as this was the unique anchor text used in our Google Doc. SERPs did not return any relevant results for this keyword where we’d see a reference to our experiment. We also ran a report on the Open Site Explorer to see whether there was any mention of “testinggoogledoclinkjuice” anchor text and had no luck.

4. We also checked the source code of the Google Doc page to see what coding is used for the backlink, and we did not find any mentions of; rather, a text only version which you can see below:

Source code of the Google Doc backlinks experiment


While we found out that Google Docs backlinks are not indexed and do not pass SEO juice, we could still have been mistaken about this due to the fact that our test Google Doc did not get enough backlinks to be considered an “important document” by Google or 2 weeks was not enough time for Google or SEOMoz’ Open Site Explorer to index our document and record the anchor text that we used.

Thank you to everyone who helped in this experiment and please do share your thoughts/comments on this.

Author: John Miller

John oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends.