Google's "+1" Button Will Add Up to Higher Search Rankings
Google+, the search engine's social networking site, has quickly gained popularity despite the fact that it was only released and launched a few months ago. No doubt most internet users have already seen Google+'s "+1" buttons all over the internet within search results and on news organization sites. Many businesses and marketers are asking themselves if they should cash in on this popularity and how to begin. The endorsement of early trendsetters can have added value to marketers and businesses. Ultimately the factors that drive up internet search rankings are the same factors that existed before Google+'s "+1" button or Facebook's "like" button.
For those unfamiliar with the "+1" button, it is an equivalent to Facebook's "like" button or thumbs up button. Users throughout internet websites can add their endorsement to the website with a "+1" button or "like" button that gets added to the website. When a reader clicks on the button, they are added to the website's counter of readers that gave their endorsement. Also the data is added to their own profile page within social networking sites Google+ or Facebook for all of their friends to see. As you can imagine, this can be very valuable marketing data.
Google+ proponents have touted it as the social networking site to kill Facebook. That is highly unlikely as Facebook and Google+ are likely to emerge as specializing in different social networking purposes, each carving out their own niches for their users. Tech savvy early adopters have become the first regular users and are already responding after the initial buzz when everyone was clamoring to see what Google+ looked like. They compared it to Facebook and bragged that they received a Google+ invite. Google+ was launched by invitation only and grew organically within networks of social groups. This has been an effective strategy for Google as it was also used to launch Google's Gmail. Google+ is emerging as the leader for friends to share information and content among a more tech savvy elite group. Google+ has the strength of Google as a leader in the internet as a search engine. Although it can't overtly raise the rankings of Google+ endorsed websites, data from Google+ for rankings will have an advantage.
Facebook has over 800 million subscribers. However, Google has become the name synonymous with internet searches globally. Google, once a silly internet startup name, is now a household name that has become a verb in place of internet search. Google is a clear leader in internet technology and is always expanding the company's reach in the internet for new ways to increase usage and function for users. Google+ has the advantage of integration with other Google owned services including Gmail, blogger, and YouTube. The ability to integrate these sister websites seamlessly will be a clear strength of Google over Facebook.
Current users of Google+ are trendsetters. Popularity of trendsetters and early adopters has added value. These individuals tend to be trendsetters among their social group with everyone else looking to them for advice on tech related topics as well as other buying decisions. This group drives sales because it is a younger network that has far more internet savvy than older groups. They have a far more intuitive integration of the internet in their lifestyle and decision making processes in choosing to buy products. This generation looks to the internet for information and research. They have grown up with the internet as a tool. The "+1" button endorsements from this group of early adopters carries far more weight within the generation that reaches beyond to the rest of the population. With the Google+ social network being built around Circles, an endorsement from someone in a social circle already has an advantage of being included in a group. Marketing to these groups becomes much easier with an endorsement. Trust of the individual and any anecdotal information can help drive sales among a social group. The endorsement will drive those within the Google+ Circle to go to an endorsed website, also increasing rankings.
Google+'s "+1" button trend will likely be comparable to Facebook's "like" button's growth in popularity. Comparisons are inevitable as there is no doubt that it was expected to follow in the footsteps after Google's introduction of Google+ the following year. The "like" button was first introduced in 2010 at a Facebook conference. Since its launch, the "like" button has been integrated into over 2.5 million websites internationally throughout the internet with 10,000 more websites added daily. Growth for the Google+'s "+1" button may in fact turn out to be even faster.
After the 2011 Facebook developer f8 conference, which focused on Facebook and other social technologies, there were many announcements about developments in integration of services to Facebook. With the recent and upcoming changes to Facebook, there will be changes to the "like" button and the weight of that endorsement. Facebook users will be able to connect to things even if they don't want to "like" the items. Users will be able to connect to anything they want from songs and services to books and fan pages. Soon users will not have to like a book; they can just read a book and share it with friends. Users don't have to "like" a movie; they can just stream the movie within Facebook and share it with friends.
So what does all of this mean for your search ranking? Anyone knowledgeable about search rankings will continue to stress the importance in remembering that the factors that drive up rankings before Google+'s "+1" or Facebook's "like" button will continue to increase those rankings. Getting more websites to link back to a business's website and driving more traffic to that business's website will increase the business's rankings. Having more pages and posts, including blog posts for readers to endorse with the "+1" button will increase rankings with added traffic. Also as before, it is important to include the right tags and keywords throughout a business's website. Integrating Google+'s "+1" button endorsements in your marketing strategy isn't about getting on the bandwagon of a passing trend. Becoming an early adopter will pay dividends in the future with increased traffic.