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From Google +1 to Google Plus: Our Take on the Red-Hot Social Media Drama

| Posted in category Social Media

Google +1

The Web is abuzz with Google+ discussions these days. We definitely have a lot to say to the point and would like to give our analysis on the matter.

When Google introduced +1 for webpages, many people thought it was similar to the Facebook "Like". Now Google is launching its own social network that might become the new Facebook. This would change the balance of power in the social media realm forever. The platform is still in the trial phase, and is accessible solely on invitation. And, although it's been only about a month since the project began, Google+ already hit 10 million users - which is, according to Larry Page, the current CEO of Google, a "great achievement for the team".

The new social network certainly has its advantages. Take Google Circles. The feature permits you to choose who to share certain info with.  I mean, who wouldn't like it?

Besides, Google has been more diligent about protecting their users' security than Facebook (take the 2-step verification in gmail, as opposed to Facebook's multiple security leaks). Also, add images that zoom and shrink as if at the trust of the magic wand, the uber-convenient Google Hangouts feature that allows you to video-chat with a whole group of people at once - a memorable user experience guaranteed.

But, of course, just like any other social platform, Google+ has its drawbacks. First of all, it does not allow one to create fan or corporate profiles. However, Jeff Huber, Google's VP of Commerce and Local, has recently said in his comment on Mike Blumenthal's Blog that Google is planning to introduce business/fan pages to Google+ in the nearest future.

Another disadvantage of the Google+ network is that the use of +1 is still confusing. If a user  +1's a webpage, will it contain a recommendation when a friend sees it in the search results? Google says it might contain a recommendation. Or, if  somebody 1's a post on Google+, will that be visible anywhere in the SERPs? As the tests indicate, so far it's not. So, all these things are not easy for the average user to grasp.

Search engine/social network hybrid

Both Facebook and Twitter have their own search engines. But they are nothing near Google in their functionality. Google is the world's search leader, and it is now introducing its own social network. There will be a lot of areas in which these two services intertwine, and this may lead to the appearance of a totally new phenomenon - a new-generation search engine/social network hybrid. Where will it leave SEO and social media marketing? Let's see.

PageRank or EdgeRank?

How many of you know what EdgeRank is? This term is more familiar to social media marketers than to SEOs. To put it simple, EdgeRank is the algo that Facebook uses to decide what to show you on Facebook in areas where different things can be served to users, like in this section below:

Facebook News feed

Some Web marketers predict that, in the future, Google will rely more on +1s and less on backlinks, and the new PageRank will be more similar to Facebook's EdgeRank . However, this might not be true of all niches, since some niches are not social by nature.

Will social media marketing absorb SEO?

It's pretty obvious that SEO is evolving towards social media marketing. Rankings will probably play a less significant role in the future , because the new-born social network and the +1 button will enable Google to take search results personalization to the next level.

The only thing that will remain for sure is keywords. However, the criteria for choosing keywords will probably be different.

Google+ and Google+1 Qs and As

Well, the things mentioned above might happen in the future if Google+ and their +1 button actually work out. As of now, a lot of SEOs and site owners around the world have many questions regarding how to use the new features to their advantage.

How can I add a +1 button to my site?

The code is available here. Webmasters can even add multiple +1 buttons that plus-one different URLs to one and the same page. Google +1 button comes in several sizes and "speaks" 40 languages.

Who can use +1?

Anyone with a Google account can.

Who is going to see what I plus-one?

At this point, your plus-oned search results and webpages will be visible to the people in your gmail chat list, your Google Contacts list, people you are following on Google Reader and Google Buzz and the contacts in your Google+ circles.

If I click+1 on a webpage, how will it affect search results?

This webpage might:

A. Be served more often/at higher positions in your custom-tailored search results

B. Be served more often/at higher positions in your friends' personalized  search results

Does +1'ing a page help indexing?

It does. It sort of prompts Google to crawl or re-crawl your webpage.

Does Google use +1 as a signal?

As Google themselves said (hilighting by the autor):

"This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page's relevance and ranking".

Love it when they say "may".

Is +1 available in regional Google's varieties like

It's not. Little +1 buttons appear only if you click " in English". And, because Google normally automatically redirects users to a corresponding local search engine, quite a lot of people do not even suspect the +1 button exists.  Yet.

Can I +1 a PPC ad?

Yes, the recommendations will appear right next to the ad when it’s displayed together with the search results.

Reading between Google's lines

Google urges webmasters not to spam +1 recommendations for their sites, as these recommendations will only be visible to a limited group of one’s Google contacts. However, at the same time Google says that it might expose those recommendations to non-Google users in the future. Well, with Google, you never know.

The importance of being honest

Just the way it was with links, Google will probably look at user's various activities and characteristics, while attaching certain value to +1 votes.

What this means for SEOs is:

-More impact on reaching out to the community

-More effort put into creating quality content

-More importance of being honest with your SEO practices (that is, practicing White-Hat SEO).

However, at this point it's a bit early to jump to conclusions regarding Google+. Whether or not will become the new Facebook - time will show. Meanwhile, why not add a +1 button to your site just in case. 😉

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