Google has now made several attempts to create its own social network (Google Buzz, Google Wave) and failed, for the most part. Not that this failure can really dent its huge grasp on the internet, it’s merely a matter of time before the Search Engine giant finds the right way to bring everyone who searches with them together in an organised way.
Today they released an experimental +1 button. This is essentially the ‘Like’ button from Facebook, but it links up with your Public Google Profile. (If you have a Google account you can create one, mine is here for example: https://profiles.google.com/camillawnw )
The +1 button can be clicked to indicate you like a website, and if you choose to make your +1 selections public then they will be shown to your Google Profile friends and connections, and if not they will simply be shown to all browsers as an anonymous number of +1 clicks. The +1 clicks are managed and recorded by Google, giving them a map of the internet and the most PlusOne’d and least PlusOne’d websites.
Now I wouldn’t normally write a blog post for every little beta Google brought out, but this one is different. Search Engine Optimisation (getting your website top of the search engines for your chosen phrases) is about your website is accessible, clear, usable, understood and respected by the Search Engines. One of the many ways Google, for instance, assesses your website’s worth is by checking how many people have linked to it. They consider a link in like a vote of worth from an internet user (after all, for the most part you would link to sites to show friends or colleagues their content, making them useful in some way).
So suddenly we have a brand new way of Google seeing how many people think your website is worthwhile – how many people have clicked your +1 button.
It’s not panic stations of course, but this isn’t one to ignore. Google are giving us a direct way to demonstrate how many people like our sites and consider the content worth sharing, and that’s something to encourage. Added to this, social networks are built on sharing, and the +1 button is something that turns the relatively inactive Google Profile into something that can share and bookmark, and do all the things that encourage web users to communicate.
They are rolling out the +1 button gradually, and if you don’t already have it as a tab in your profile you can sign up here: http://www.google.com/experimental/
To add the +1 button to your site (which you can do without a Profile), code and instructions can be found on this page: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/index.html. (Contact us if you want to do this but need help)
It may not take off, especially as many Google users are not familiar with Google Profiles and may not be interested in one if they already have their established social networks. But if it does take off, you’re going to want to be on board.
About The Author: Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01395 542569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.