Although, it was not a big secret that Google had been working on some sort of Facebook Like button rival, last week Google started to roll it out. It is called the +1 button (“plus one”), and even if it hasn’t rolled out publicly to everyone—yet—this is your first chance to jump on a little button that could significantly boost your SEO and site traffic.
First of all, just a few short months ago, Google and Bing announced that they were taking into account links shared on Twitter and Facebook to determine page rank. Since then, Facebook Like buttons and Twitter share buttons have become standard practice for good SEO. Now Google has realized the benefit of such a button and has created its own—but it is slightly different. Although many see +1 as a rival to the Facebook Like button, in reality it could be even more powerful.
The simple fact of the matter is that in order for your site to benefit from a Facebook Like button, you have to voluntarily put it on your site. As a result, only a small number of sites on the internet have a Facebook Like button. Although it may seem like most sites have it, really there are only a few hundred thousand sites that implement the Facebook Like button, and there are hundreds of millions of websites in existence. The difference between the Facebook Like button and +1 is that +1 can reach all of the hundreds of millions of sites.
You don’t have to put a +1 button on your site in order for people to click on it. The button appears in the search results. So anyone can click a +1 button next to any link on the internet without the site owners having to do anything. So, whether you like it or not, you’ve already got a +1 button for your site.
All that may be fine a good, but why should anyone care about the Google +1 button? How can it affect your site ranking and SEO? Well the answer to that question is complicated. Google has not said anything about how +1 affects your SEO. In fact, right now, there is no direct tie between +1 and your site SEO. However, that does not mean it doesn’t exist. In fact, if Google has invented this button, it would be foolish of them not to use it—in some degree—to measure site SEO and boost or downgrade site rank based on +1 button statistics.
Part of the power of the +1 button for users and for your SEO is the way that it appears in organic search results. If you’ve filled out a Google Profile and connect it to your social networks, you may already be viewing social-rich Google results. But the +1 button will take it to the next level. Although Google will naturally show you your contacts when they have +1’d a link, it will also publicly show users a total of +1’s the link has received—no matter if you’re using a social-rich Google experience or not.
For example, lets say you do a search for “skateboard shop.” In the top 10 results, you see a skate shop near your home with a 10, +1 ranking. But you also see a skate shop a little further away, and you noticed that your cousin has given it a +1 and it has a +1 rating of 22. Which skate show are you more likely to go to? Although one shop is closer, you already know someone who recommends the other skate shop plus 22 other people.
This is how +1 will affect your SEO. By driving more visitors to your site through organic search results tagged with +1 stats. Increased traffic to your site means more +1’s, more traffic, and an SEO boost.
As Google places more and more emphasis on website authority over site content, it seems impossible that user data from the +1 button won’t have an affect on your SEO behind the scenes. That is, as the +1 button rolls out and becomes more popular, Google will most likely raise the status and SEO of sites with high +1 stats. Although there is no direct link right now, as the button becomes more popular, +1 will join the ranks of the Facebook Like and Twitter share buttons in determining website rank and SEO.
Think about the +1 button as an added boost to your already awesome SEO strategy. It’s simply another tool to help you flourish in the search results and get you noticed and clicked on more often. If you are providing great content, great services, or great products, +1 will only help you increase your SEO and search engine rank.
If you are a local business, you’ve probably already learned the power that Google reviews can have over your business—both good and bad. You may also know that in order to get to the top of a local search results page, you need some great reviews. Although it is bad form to pay people to give you good reviews, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility to simply ask your loyal customers to give you a favorable review online.
Think about he +1 button in the same way. When you have given a customer good service or you know that they are satisfied with their product, go ahead and ask them to give you +1 on Google. This is a simple way to get people to notice the +1 button and to help raise your organic search results rank at the same time.
Lastly, Google has announced that it will soon have a +1 button for anyone to post on their website—similar to the Facebook Like button. When this feature rolls out, take advantage of it as soon as you can. When you make the +1 button prominent on your site, like the Facebook Like button, you’ll be subtly encouraging your site visitors to click it and boost your SEO.
All in all, the +1 button should be a part of your SEO strategy. Encourage your customers and site visitors to click it, and you’ll rise in the organic search results, boosting your status and SEO at the same time.
Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association