The social web has been further enhanced with Google announcing a competitor to the Facebook “like” button as Google starts rolling out its new “+1” button that appears next to every website that is displayed in it’s search results pages.
Facebook “like” buttons have been the marketers magic button for the past 12 months as they have grown in popularity as they spread like wildfire to blogs, websites and newsletters and companies Facebook pages.
The Facebook ‘Like’ button displays social proof to viewers by revealing the level of “attention quantification” of a company’s Facebook page… as an example if 50,000 people are displayed as liking a brands Facebook page, that shows the viewer that this company is popular and maybe worth checking out further.
The like button also provides the means for the company’s latest Facebook updates to potentially appear in the news updates of all people who have ‘liked’ the page. If a company posts an update to its Facebook page then potentially 50,000 people can receive the company’s latest news in their personal Facebook profile. So by posting your latest Blog post to your Facebook ‘page’ allows your content to spread and to be amplified across the web.
How Does Google’s New +1 Button Work?
When you perform a search on Google a ‘+1’ button will appear next to the each and every Google search result. You can effectively ‘like’ the individual search result(s) by clicking on the +1 button. (see below)
You can also perform this function on the the ‘Ads’ that are served up at the same time. What Google wants to make very clear that is that this will be public data. Before you rush in and try and use this service there are some things to note.
- It is not available to everyone at this stage and is only available to random US based users
- You will need to create a Google profile
- To see the the +1’s in your search results you will need to be logged into your Google account
How Will It Appear In Search Results Over Time
When a search result has been +1′d, you’ll see if any of your friends have +1′d it (in a similar way to the current Social Search look with people’s tiny profile icons under the result itself).
What is really important to note is that total number of other people that aren’t in your social circle that have +1′d it as well will be displayed. This will show publicly the popularity of the link over time as the aggregate number of Google +1’s grows for that page result.
What Are the Implications For The “Social” Web?
Facebook’s display ads are a real threat to Google’s display ad revenue and these two giants will continue to face off as the battle for the control of the web escalates. Facebook isn’t seriously doing search ‘yet’ but it is starting to make moves in that direction and this would put further competitive pressure on Google. The other implications are that Google could roll this out for mobile with an app especially with Google’s Android having such traction in the mobile market as well as across its other online properties such as YouTube.
What Are The Implications for Companies?
Creating content that is worth “clicking on” with Google’s new +1 button will enhance the influence of your website or blog through social proof! Also having your brands presence ‘liked’ will enhance your importance to Google’s indexing engines as they aggregate the total of +1’s and give that statistic higher importance.
The recent changes also to Google’s search algorithms that place a higher importance on social networks in their search results as discussed in a recent article “Google becomes More Social And It’s Hurting Your Business“, should make a company look hard and long at its social engagement and activity. The importance of of being on social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks has been further highlighted.
Also in the frame are your SEO activities which will need to be considered in light of this announcement as Google has stated on its blog “+1s will be one of many signals we use to calculate organic search ranking“.
Companies using Google Adwords will need to look at this development and for more information if you’re an advertiser and want to learn more about how the +1 button works on search ads and websites, visit the AdWords blog. If you want to take Google +1 for a test drive click here
If your business isn’t social then its time to get involved. How important do you think this announcement is? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.