It’s Official: Google +1 Launched for Organic and Pay-per-click Search Engine Results
July 1, 2011 § 3 Comments
Have you seen the new “+1″ feature recently launched by Google? I’ve been reading about it and, lo-and-behold, today its there along with a tightened up search engine results page (SERP) interface. Granted, you have to be logged in to Google to see the new feature, so if you are one of the few people without one, go get yourself a Google account. After that, you’ll have to create a public profile so you’ll be identified when “plus-oneing” something. Wait a minute. This is just like Facebook! No wonder Facebook secretly launched a smear campaign against Google. So, now I have yet another profile I have to manage and I can like, er I mean, retweet, uh no, I mean +1 stuff now. Likes and tweets and +1s, OH MY!
When I saw the new +1 feature, the very first thing that came to mind was where is the -1 button? What if I don’t like something? In fact, I wish there was a “Don’t Like” button on Facebook. Why the omission? Well, we’ll leave that for another post. My second thought was this new feature will probably create a cottage industry of people who will accept payments to +1 your search engine results, especially pay-per-click. I’m sure the folks at Google have thought about this, too. When Kim Kardashian gets $10,000 to tweet for a brand, the concept has precedence.
Where’s the value?
According to Google, here is how it works. This comes directly from an email they sent to me yesterday.
Let’s say you own a hotel in Madrid. Brian had a lovely stay at your hotel last summer. When Brian starts researching accommodations for his next trip to Spain, he searches on Google while signed into his Google account, and sees your ad. He clicks the +1 button on the ad to recommend it to his contacts.
When Brian’s friend Ann plans her trip to Spain, she signs in to her Google account, searches, and also sees your ad – plus the personalized annotation that Brian +1’d it. Knowing that Brian recommends your hotel helps Ann decide where to stay during her travels.
Think of the +1 button as a way for fans of your business to recommend what you offer, for all their friends and contacts to see. By helping searchers see more personal, relevant ads, we believe you’ll see more qualified traffic. You can also add the +1 button to your site to give your customers the opportunity to +1 your site after visiting it.
The biggest question I have is how do you connect with all your Google friends? In other words, how does Brian become friends with Ann per the example above? I’ve created a Google profile and I haven’t figured this out yet. I’m assuming they use your existing Facebook and/or twitter accounts but that isn’t obvious to me. Seems like a pretty important piece of the puzzle, no?
Adding +1 to your website
Now, this is where I can see a lot of value. Like Facebook, you can now add +1 buttons to pages on your websites and blogs so visitors can tell the world they like your content. The best part is Google Analytics will now report to you how many +1′s your content gets so you can organize your site based on the popularity of pages in addition to page views. Google Analytics will also tell you how your content is being shared across the socialsphere. This goes a long way towards explaining why Google purchased PostRank last month, a social analytics company.
Google’s move into social media space is a natural trend we’ll continue to see as the lines between the old school “search for website, find website, visit website” model are eclipsed by the “influencer” model that revolves around what your friends think. Just keep in mind that, if you want good recommendations, keep good company.