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, artdriver.wpengine.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.

Oleksiy is the Founder of ArtDriver. He oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends. In his spare time, Oleksiy enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family.

  • Karen

    Thanks, this is a really useful experiment. I'm currently running a test as well and will let you know if my findings are any different.


  • SEO Consult

    Good experiment, we need more testing like this. Thanks Oleksiy.

  • Great to see that you found it interesting!

  • Takeshi Young

    Looks like your site is now ranking for this keyword.

  • Takeshi, the reason we rank for this keyword is because it is mentioned in the blog post....I do not think that this is a result of the anchor text link....any ideas?

  • Well, no way to tell now! You'll just have to conduct the experiment again, this time without including the keyword.

  • Daniel Beránek

    hi, i´ve spread my URL via some dozens of google docs with same intention, but i have also put them for indexing in Bing, Google and one local search engine - we´ll see if that has any impact on indexing:))

  • Tim

    I found your doc file by searching: "google docs as a backlink" and found you at the third position. I would have to agree with Takeshi your conclusions are erroneous but probably only because you didnt wait long enough. The reason I was doing such a search is because I found a google doc show up as one of my backlinks on a backlink check and was surprised.

  • Thanks Tim! Yes, the google doc can be found in search; however, what I wanted to check is whether my site's URL gets any link juice from the link inserted into my google doc. This still needs to be investigated further.

  • Hello, any update about this experiement?

  • saku miah

    nice post tnx for share . 🙂