Monday, June 6, 2011

Google gets social sharing eventually

Google has now launched the +1 button, which is basically a way for your visitors to easily recommend your site within the search engine. By adding a +1 button to your site (you’ll probably need you site developer’s help in doing this) you are adding Google’s equivalent of a Facebook ‘Like’ to the page. This allows people viewing Google’s search results to see which links their friends positively rate and therefore add more relevance to the results. In other words… someone is more likely to visit a site found in Google if one of their contacts also thinks it’s a good link.

However, there are a couple of caveats to consider:

  1. This functionality is currently reserved just for the main site, with other local versions due to get theirs subsequently
  2. You need a Google Profile set-up and be logged into Google while you browse
But there’s a big positive consideration….. rumour has it that Google say they MAY use the +1’s as an additional signal for ranking pages. Yup, this means that your contacts could potentially help your SEO efforts if you add this little button to your site (and visitors click on it). Google have carefully said they will see how peer recommendations affect search quality before using +1 as a raking factor, so this isn’t yet a way of quickly gaming the engine by getting all your mates to promote your site. And you can bet that the ‘black hat’ SEO market will be instantly looking at ways to use this to artificially manipulate results in the future.

Whether this also means a +1 has an effect upon your site’s ranking in Google for everyone or just those who have linked contacts and are logged in remains to be seen.
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