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Understanding Google +1
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Back in March, Google began testing their +1 button. It was being tested as a mechanism that could be used to recommend content to your friends and contacts directly from Google search results and ads.  Today, Google officially launched their +1 button for websites.  So just what is Google +1?  According to Google, "+1 buttons let people who love your content recommend it on Google search".  Think of it as Google's answer to Facebook's "Like" button.

Google has been communicated the fact that they are, and will continue to leverage social signals and site engagement signals as part of their ranking algorithms.  Google +1 button is a mechanism that can be used by users to recommend content that they find useful.  Quite honestly the +1 button is a mechanism is another way for Google to help identify "quality content" in their search for improving their search results post Caffeine.  It makes sense does it not?  Improving search results with recommendations from searchers.

But will people accept it?  Being third to market does not always deliver success.  I mean we already had the Facebook "Like" button, will people accept and use the Google +1 option?  Google suggests that "The +1 button is shorthand for "this is pretty cool" or "you should check this out." really Google?  +1 is yet another attempt by Google to re-enter the social arena an area where they have not been successful as of yet.  Where  +1 might become of use is when we examine the trust factor of a site.  There is no better way of aggregating user behaviour than through user recommendations or information that is voluntarily offered for free.  Trust is a key factor in social environments. One of the examples used clearly defines this:  a movie review from an expert is useful, but a movie review from a friend who shares your tastes can be even better.  

As of today,  +1 activity continues to show only on English-language search results on Google.com but Google is planning to roll it our worldwide. 

Google +1 Specifics

Who:  Google
What: +1 Button for sharing meaningful content.
Where:  Google search results, Google Ads, across the Web on websites featuring the  +1 button
When:  June 1, 2011
Why:  Google's response to Facebook's "Like" button and Twitter's "Follow" button

10 Google +1 Tips

Here are ten hints and tips for using Google's +1 button.
  1. Google recommends using the +1 button in conjunction with the “rel=canonical” tag.
  2. You must include one <script> tag and either one +1 tag or a call to the render functionality.
  3. +1 must be performed on a public URL.  If the URL is not public, the result will be an error.
  4. The URL that is +1'd is determined by one of three things, in this order:
    • The href attribute  
    • If the href attribute of the +1 tag has not been set, the next place Google will look is a link tag with rel="canonical" set.
    • The URL of the page as defined in document.location.href
  5. You can place multiple buttons on a single page that all +1 different URLs by using the href attribute as specified in +1 tag parameters to indicate the URL to be +1'd.
  6. Location of +1 is important - consider placing your +1 button above the fold and close to other sharing features on your pages.
  7. Consider pages speed - although Google states that there are no latency issues by using +1 functionality, Google suggests that by placing the tag at the bottom of the document, just before the body close tag, you may improve the loading speed of the page.
  8.  Ensure that you have Google Webmaster Tools set up so that you can access the +1 dashboard that will become available.
  9. Promote the use of +1 - without being "pushy" consider communicating to your visitors to +1 your content if they feel it is of value.
  10. Read this article:  How Google's "+1" Will Impact The Digital And Interactive Advertising Industries
Need more information on how to add +1 to your content, check out Google's Instruction on Adding the +1 Button to Your Site

From an SEO perspective, Matt McGee over at Search Engine Land reminds us that "When +1 launched in March on Google’s organic and paid listings, Google said it would look at +1 click data “as a potential signal to improve search quality.”  Google continues to look at engagement signals and this is an ultimate engagement signal that Google may use to determine sites that users find of value and integrity.

Related Google Resources

Google's Official Announcement:
The +1 button for websites: recommend content across the web
Google's Original Announcement

Share |


posted by Jody @ 8:54 PM  
  • At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Nick Stamoulis said…

    Internet marketing experts have been hearing about the +1 for awhile now. However, I'm not sure that the general public will "get" it. They all know what a Facebook "like" is though. It will be interesting to see if this amounts to anything significant in search.

  • At 2:00 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    I don't see yet another button working. While it's a great idea, as usual in social, google is too late to the party. I mean, the average user knows facebook and knows the like button, but is the average user going to know what clicking +1 means?

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