Google recently unveiled their new social button, “+1”, pronounced “plus one” and digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool”.The +1 is similar to the ubiquitous Facebook ‘like’ button in that it allows users to share content they find on the internet with their friends and contacts. This content can be anything you find interesting, from websites and news articles to organic and paid search results.
How the +1 button works
When you use Google search, the +1 button will appear next to both organic and paid search results. When you mouse over the +1 button, its outline will color, and when you click the button it will shade in, as you can see in the example below.
You have the option to undo your +1 if you change your mind, or accidentally clicked the mouse on a result you didn’t want to +1.
It is important to remember that Google +1’s will be publicly visible to all people viewing the content you +1’d. If people are a part of your social connections – made up of your Google contacts, Gmail chat lists, and people you follow with Google Reader – they will be able to see that you personally +1’d something. If a person is outside of your social connections they will see an anonymous tally of total +1’s. Remember to only +1 sites and results that you don’t mind everyone knowing you like!
Currently, the +1 button is only available in search results, but soon webmasters will be able to add the +1 widget to their websites similar to how they’ve probably already installed a Facebook ‘like’ widget.
Get started with Google +1
First of all, you will need to create a Google Profile, or upgrade your existing one. Once you have an up-to-date Google Profile, you will be able to see a listing of all your +1’s, essentially you will be able to ‘bookmark’ the page in your Google Profile for future easy access. From your Profile you will also be able to edit and delete your +1’s if you no longer want to publicly endorse that item. To see and interact with +1 in search results you will need to be logged into your Google Account while you are using Google search.
Google is currently phasing +1 into all their search platforms, starting with Google.com. If you can’t see the +1 buttons yet, and would like to, you can opt-in by going to their experimental search site and clicking ‘Join this experiment’.
The Effects for Businesses
CTR and Adwords
The +1 button is bound to affect the click through rate of both organic and paid search results. Users are much more likely to click on results that have been endorsed by someone within their community whose opinion they trust. Users will not only be able to see the total number of +1’s for that particular result but also the names of people they know that have endorsed that result. Also, Adwords users will soon be able to see +1 statistics for their ads. There will not be a way to remove the +1 button from your ads; however, Google has stated the +1 button will not affect the way they calculate an ad’s quality score.
The +1 button will have a direct impact on search results. Google has stated they are more likely to crawl, or recrawl, pages that have +1’s and store the title and content of that page. Furthermore, it is quite likely that results with +1’s will appear higher in Google search results than a similar result that hasn’t been +1’d. We all know that social media affects Google’s ranking algorithm, and +1’s are public endorsements of trusted and popular results – this is sure to affect SEO.
For more information about the +1 button, view the following video from Google: