This guest post is by Jacob of BlogRevolter.com.
On March 30th, Google announced the release of its latest addition to the search engine, a small button called the +1. As with any Google announcement, there are always going to be implications—both great and not so great—for the average and professional blogger. Understanding the potential effect of Google’s new +1 feature can better help you prepare for the next six to twelve months of your blog.
What is Google’s +1?
In essence, Google’s +1 is a way for people to vote up the results in Google without making it appear like a Digg setup.
In other words, if someone likes the result that they found on Google, they hit the +1 button, then go on with their lives. When someone makes the same search that person made, they’ll see that there’s a +1 attached to the particular search result, and that, at least in Google’s eyes, will encourage them to click on that result.
Should you decide to allow your name to appear, people within your network will see that you, specifically, liked this result. But this last aspect is voluntary.
Why is Google’s +1 important?
For some time now, Google has been talking about how social media and social networking is going to directly tie in with search engine optimization. It used to be that we just built a bunch of links to rank for keywords. But, what I’ve noticed as a SEO is that other aspects are becoming increasingly important, including how a site deals with social media.
We can tie this increased reliance on social media to Google’s quest to provide the absolute best results possible. Here’s an example.
Darren Rowse runs this site about how to make money blogging. He’s got 173,000 readers via RSS, 128,000 Twitter followers, and nearly 23,000 people who like his Facebook group. In other words, he has a ton of readers.
Now, you’re Google and you’re trying to figure out who to position as the top results for the keyword “Professional Blogger.” Sure, someone might have a ton of backlinks, all containing that anchor text, to back up the claim that they deserve the number one result.
But how does Google know that those backlinks are genuine and not, say, purchased? It doesn’t.
The only way for them to truly know if that website is considered an “authority” is to see what people believe. And what better way to do that than track how Darren is doing in the social media and networking world?
The implications of Google’s +1 for bloggers
I look at this update as a powerful move for bloggers. Because we are taught that we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket, we’ve all been focusing on social media, search engine optimization, and other aspects to bring traffic to our blogs.
Now that social media is, in part, connecting to search engine optimization, the amount of work that we do now doubles for both social media growth and search engine growth. But, there is still more to it than that.
Google will be releasing a button similar to the Facebook Like button. And if you click the +1 button, you’ll have automatically given your vote to that search result. You are saying to Google, “Yes, I like this.” And the search engine will remember that.
What this means, as a blogger, is that you need to produce the highest level of quality that you can. If others are getting that +1 and you’re not, are you going to be missing out on potential search rank? I’d say that you are.
If Google believes that it is important enough to create a new button and include it on their SERPs, they are definitely going to take it into consideration when trying to decide which site to put as number one. And, if it’s a difference of +1s that determine who should be first, I’d wager everything that the person with more +1 votes will get the number one ranking.
Since 34% of people click the first result first, and the second to fourth results get less than 34% of the clicks, total, it’s very important to get that number one rank.
How to get ready
Since it was just announced on the 30th, this is obviously a component that will take some time to roll out. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be getting ready for its complete implementation. Here are a few steps to getting prepared.
- First, ensure that you are publishing content that is high quality. No longer can you get away writing garbage content, or ripping content from other sites. Google’s Panda Update slammed people with this kind of content and no one will give you a +1 for it.
- Second, play around with it yourself when you start seeing it pop up. If you head over to Google’s experimental page, you can join the experiment and be put into the program to start working with it.
- Third, don’t start abusing it. One of the things that I think will play a major role in the success of +1 is who’s voting with it. If it’s the same few people, Google might not give those votes as much credit as other pages that get votes from random people. So, don’t start searching for every article you wrote to give it a +1.
Google’s +1 is not a social network, per se. However, it is a voting system that will give Google a better idea of what content people like and don’t like. And, when they release the button for inclusion on your web pages, you’ll have the chance to encourage your readers to +1 your site.
With Google’s love for social media growing, this is definitely an important step in your blog’s growth. How do you see +1 affecting your blog?
Jacob is a 22 year old SEO who works in Manhattan. When not managing SEO for a company, he works on his own network including BlogRevolter.com. He discusses topics such as link building and blog monetization. He is giving away a free ebook on how to get people to your website as well as how to keep them there. Be sure to follow him on Facbook.