Last week Google took a big step along the path of blurring the line between search and social media by rolling out the Google +1 Button for web pages.
This is huge news because their +1 recommendations will influence results that everyone sees when they search with Google. With Google sending such a massive amount of traffic to most websites (we get about two thirds of our traffic here at SuccessCREEations from Google searches) anything that has the potential to shake up the search results this massively is huge.
If you have a website which is important to what you do then you need to know about this.
Google +1 Button On Search Pages
A few months ago Google added their +1 button to the search results pages. As they roll it out users have to opt into using +1. You can do so by going to the Google Experiments page and clicking the “Join the experiment” button by +1.
When you do that you will then see +1 buttons next to each entry on Google search results pages. When you find what you are searching for with that keyword you can click the +1 button and it will change color to make it easier to find again if you ever go back to that page.
+1 Button For Websites
Then last week they made their Google +1 buttons available for owners of websites to place them right on their pages.
Really this makes more sense when you think about it. How many people are going to go back to the search results page after they find what they are looking for to click a button?
People have gotten used to clicking social media buttons with Facebook and Twitter. Google is wisely tapping into that behavior by making their button available for websites. They’ve got an easy Google +1 button generator for website owners to get the code for their own sites.
And if you use WordPress then I recommend the WordPress Google +1 Button plugin. The plugin makes it easy to adjust the settings and add the +1 button to your site without having to know any programming or deal with the manual button generator that Google offers.
Search Getting Social
This is blurring the line between social media and search. Google has made it clear that they will be factoring in +1 recommendations into their search results.
Users will be able to see what has been recommended via the +1 button including by people inside their social circle. It should help users filter out some of the noise in the search results as the more relevant results naturally bubble up to the top of the results.
Therefore you are going to want to integrate the +1 button to your web pages. If you don’t, and especially if your competitors do, your website will likely have a much more difficult time ranking well in the search engines.
A Couple of Caveats
In order to use the +1 button to recommend pages you need to have a Google account. If you use most any Google service like Gmail, Google Analytics, Adwords, or even YouTube then chances are you already have one.
To me this makes sense. You can’t recommend things on Facebook or Twitter without a user account. Why would you be able to recommend anything to Google without an account there too?
The other thing that should be noted is that this isn’t available to Google Apps users yet. That doesn’t make any sense to me.
We use Google Apps here at SuccessCREEations. Have for years. Yet the +1 feature is not available because we can’t enable Google Profiles with Google Apps accounts. Google really should allow Apps administrators choose whether they want their users to have profiles. It doesn’t make sense for Google to shut out this segment of their user base, especially when Apps users tend to be even more loyal Google users.
Already Making a Difference
The +1 seems to already be making a difference in search results. I’m starting to notice some differences in search results when I search for the same terms in a browsers logged in with my Google Apps account versus my plain Gmail account.
I think you are going to want to add the +1 button to your website sooner rather than later.