Those of you a little intolerant to technical jargon and mathematical algorithms may be forgiven for thinking that Google +1 should be left to the ‘experts’ to understand. However the concept is not too dissimilar from one most of us have become accustomed to – ‘like’ and ‘dislike’.
Google +1 are continuing in their attempt to jump on the band wagon of the social network express by using similar methods that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter use. Google +1 allows you to express your approval for a particular website or page by clicking on the ‘+1’ button next to the title in Google search results. Technicians are also in the process of developing a system whereby web administrators can add the +1 button to their own website. In this way visitors can express their appreciation for the site and encourage more users to visit it.
So what are the pros I hear you say? Well as small people in a large world full of choice and options, it helps us sift through the good from the bad, the useful from the spam. If we login to our Google account then we can see friends’ +1s and in turn help our friends out by recommending sites to them. This encourages the use of ‘good quality content’ and not spam which in turn helps keep the web clean and user friendly.
So what are the cons? Suggestion has been made that it will be easy to trick the system by creating numerous Google accounts and clicking on +1 in order to promote a particular site. However Google are wise to this and also analyse web behaviour and thus are able to identify real human users and ignore those trying to trick the system. It is hoped that it would be easier and more cost effective for businesses to pay for good content then waste time and money on trying to trick the system. However many webmasters are sitting comfortably waiting to see if Google +1 makes significant improvements in search rankings before even considering to put it alongside their Facebook and Twitter buttons.
Many of you may be wondering how Google +1 will affect SEO professionals and the service they provide. Well it seems to me that Google +1 can only improve the quality of the service and the reputation of the industry. The goal, whether Google +1 achieves that or not, is to improve the quality of the web and alienate spam rich websites. This also includes websites using SEO tricks to promote their sites without offering much information to the site visitor. It is hoped by many that Google +1 will force SEO experts to utilise good content in the quest for increased search rankings and move away from the tendency to ‘play the game’
Will it work? It is very possible that this could just be another way for Google to monopolise on the current interest in social networks without actually offering us as web users much more than we have already on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However it could be the starting block for something much bigger that certainly will be worth our time and effort. Only time will tell.
This article was written by Robert Kirk who owns a small Website Design & Search Engine Optimisation company based in Scotland, UK.