Admittedly, Google does not have the best track record connecting people socially. Google Wave and now Google Buzz have been huge busts. So when I first heard about Google’s new +1 (plus one) service I was pretty skeptical, to say the least.
If you are unfamiliar with what +1 is all about here is a quick video and some good links to help fill you in.
What the heck is Google +1?
Essentially Google +1 will function a lot like Facebook’s “Like” button. This is actually the main reason I wrote it off the second I heard about it. However, the more I have dug into this the more I realize that I was wrong. While I do not believe +1 will replace Facebook Likes I do believe they can and will coexist.
Why I think Google +1 will take off
#1 Google is going to implement +1 everywhere!
Google is going all in on +1 no more messing around! When you do a search on Google you are going to see +1 recommendations. If someone you know made the recommendation you may see their photo as well.
Google will have widgets so you can +1 something right from your browser. Bellow is a screen shot from a recent Google commercial where they actually leaked a chrome extension.
The +1 button is even going to appear on Adwords PPC Ads! To be honest I was really shocked to see that this would extend to Ads.
+1 will be all over websites themselves, probably right next to the Facebook like button. Website owners will even be able to get stats and analytics about their +1s through Google Webmaster Central.
Lastly, I can only assume +1 will be tightly integrated with the android operating system for mobile phones as well as others.
This is way more exposure than Google has given recent launches and I think they have learned from their past failures.
#2 +1 Will likely Influence Google Rankings
Google has recently said that social signals from sites like twitter do influence their algorithm. Yesterday Matt Cutts (Google’s SEO Outreach Guy) said in a live webcast that +1 is “definitely a signal we’re paying a lot of attention to”.
SEO’s are now (finally) trying to get social links alongside the normal html links they have been going after for years.
Think of it this way. Google has always said a link is a vote for a site right? Now ask yourself, can your Mom create an html link? For most of you the answer will be no. However, Moms and Grandmothers everywhere have found their way onto Facebook and seem to “Like” Martha Stewart & Oprah with no problem.
Social signals are going to become increasing powerful ranking factors. They allow Google a much larger sample size of “voters” and a much less labor intensive way for a user to vote and as they say in Chicago…vote often.
#3 Google will leverage data from popular sites like Twitter
Trust me I know nobody wants something new to sign up for and deal with. This is why according to Danny Sullivan, Google will eventually use non-Google services, such as Twitter, Flickr or Quora to form your social connections.
By incorporating these powerful social media sites Google will be able to provide you with quite a large network right away. If Google could get along with Facebook long enough to integrate their “Like” button it will be even better. However, even without Facebook Google can still gather a ton of information about people you know and work with and use that to customize search results for you. The fact that they realize they need other sites like Twitter for this to work bodes well for them.
#4 Sites with +1 are going to get more clicks
Lets think about a situation we have all been in. Imagine you are looking to have a pizza delivered in a new city. You go to yelp and you see 10 pizza joints near you. One of those has 300 reviews and averages 4 stars while the other pizza places are all much lower. You are obviously at least going to check out the highly rated Pizza joint right?
This same thing will hold true in Google as well. You can bet marketers everywhere will try to get their clients websites more +1s. Because the +1 will be so visible I think websites will engage in vanity wars over their +1 count
#5 2011 will be the year social search went mainstream
Search engines have been playing around with social/personalized results for years. Bing has already successfully implemented Facebook into its results.
Google will make this practice even more mainstream when +1 is fully released. It will be commonplace to see your friend’s recommendations all over the web. Once the public gets used to it you can bet they will come to rely on it. This will start slow but eventually we will wonder how we ever got by without it.
Google is going to release +1 for websites very soon. My advice to you is to implement it on your site right away. Think about how you can get people to engage and want to click +1 for your site.
Remember when “Facebook Like” came out? Don’t you wish you had jumped on that right away? This is a great opportunity to get out ahead of your competition and by the time they realize what hit them you will be kicking their tails.
I am in no way a Google fan boy. It is very easy to bash Google for its recent product failures but you have to remember that every once in a while Google gets it right in a big way. I think they are due and will apply what they have learned from past social media failures into making Google +1 a success.
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