Google +1 Button – Another Facebook ‘Like’?

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Updated: May 27, 2011:  Google +1 & Search Rankings

As we eluded to in the below post we published on Google +1, the affect of the new social media ‘recommendation’ button will impact search results. Matt Cutts confirmed what Google said when the +1 button launched: Google will use +1 activity to influence its search results. “It’s definitely a signal we’re paying a lot of attention to,” Cutts said. “It has tons of potential. It looks very promising.”  Google is expected to offer the +1 button for website owners in the near future.

Who is Matt Cutts? Matt Cutts works for the Search Quality group in Google, specializing in search engine optimization issues. He is well known in the SEO community for enforcing the Google Webmaster Guidelines and cracking down on link spam. Cutts also advises the public on how to get better website visibility in Google as well as webmaster issues in general, and is generally an outspoken and public face of Google.

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Google +1 Button

Great. Another new social media tool marketers need to put in their marketing arsenal.  Taking Facebooks ‘Like’ head on, Google recently launched the new Google +1button.

Google’s new +1 button is similar to the social function of Facebook’s ‘Like’, to let you recommend a piece of content to your digital social circle of friends, family, visitors, etc. that you find is worthy of mentioning.

Similar to Facebooks ‘Like’, Google +1 button aims to allow individuals a way to make a recommendation, or in some way ‘advice’ on something that you feel is important to share and that others will find helpful. This builds on the value and power of personal referrals, or more technically, ‘personal collective intelligence’ to make referrals and recommendations on products, brands, content, etc. vs. the now old-aged corporate ‘drive-the message-down-the-throat’ push-message approach.

While both Facebook ‘Like’ and Google’s +1 button helps web users see the value of content recommendations by others, what makes this different than Facebook ‘Like’ is the new social recommendation tool displays the personal recommendations within Google’s Search results, vs. pushing the content to your Facebook wall.

Since both Facebook and Google are the two Goliath’s in the online space, its difficult to say which will provide more value, or in my early opinion, both will work in tandem.

While Google Search is the #1 stop over Facebook, Google’s approach is a pull-referral vs push-referral that Facebook relies on. Individuals will need to use Google Search to then see the recommendations, while Facebook, which is tied more intimately to millions of users personal lives, uses a push-referral to drive your recommendations to friends Facebook walls, and pushes the recommendation to their mobile devices and email.

So how is Google’s #1 button used? Let’s say your browsing the web for a local seafood restaurant in Google. You may find a few organic search results, or paid search results, returned with some highlighting the Google +1 recommendation by your friends.

Those people who are within your personal digital social circle may have already eaten at a specific restaurant and visited their website, and clicked to make the Google +1 recommendation.

The idea is that based now on the ability to see recommendations of websites, products, services, etc. in Google Search results, should help drive more traffic, and qualified traffic to your website.

However, from an SEO Marketers view, many already know Google is using social data in their algorithms. This is just another weight SEO experts may interpret as another way for Google to use this data to display and potentially tailor higher search results for those websites your inner circle considered ‘recommended’ and worthy to check out. And this is may not be limited to organic search results, but also paid ads / PPC search results. Yes – this is all speculative at this point…but would not be uprising to see.

Just as Google Local has done for delivering local search results based on your physical location, its possible Google may add to this granular level of search results by placing a heavier weight search results based social recommendations from your visitors and clients website traffic.  Once again – search positioning could be elevated to not just local results, but also based on the idea of your websites “recommendation reputation”.

In the Google +1 button video overview (see below), they say you may experience more and better qualified traffic based on visitors seeing the personal recommendations of your website among the search results. This eludes that the Google +1 tool is not impacting the organic or paid search results at this time. But based on the premises of delivering relevant, reputable, local and personal search results, it wouldn’t be uprising to see.

How Get Add Google +1 Button:

Visit your Google webmaster central to get the code. And those with Google paid ads, its already there for you – no work required.

Where is Google +1 Button Found:

  • Natural / organic search results
  • Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) ads
  • Any web page where the Google +1 button is embedded (similar to Facebook ‘Like’)

So what’s next in store for building on personal recommendations in the social media environment? First we had Facebooks ‘Like’, now Google’s +1 button, so I’ll call it here. Next – Yahoo “Yike this!” (ok they already have the Buzz) and Bings ‘BoingThis’ to start.

Video: Google +1 Button Overview

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