For years, Google has been trying to break into the world of social media in the same way that Facebook and Twitter have done so. I even recall reading a rumor years ago about Google’s efforts to purchase Twitter. Their latest attempt is the new “+1” service which they rolled out a few weeks ago. So how does it change SEO? Does it change it all? Here’s what you need to know:
Google Already Personalizes Search
Before we start discussing the new +1 service, let’s make one thing clear: Google already personalizes search results for you. If you are logged in and or cookies are enabled, they track what you searched for in the past and present appropriate results.
This is why your website could appear to be getting the top spot for a keyword even though it’s really not ranking well at all for it – because Google’s system knows you search for and click on your own site quite a bit. By the way, as an aside, if you want to ensure that you are getting real results, consider using a proxy such as hidemyass.com to see what the general public might see.
A Rival to the Like Button
Now, what the +1 button is in essence is kind of like a rival to the Facebook like button. The like button, which has become ubiquitous, is a way for people to see both how popular a particular page or website is and whether or not their friends happen to like that page as well.
Depending on how it’s implemented, it will show you how many people like the page you are looking at. However, it can also show you which friends like it so that you know that people you trust happen to think it’s a useful page.
Google’s +1 button integrates with their Buzz service, which is their attempt at a social network to show you which of your friends like a particular page. If none of your friends like a page, you may see an aggregate listing of the number of people who like the page. In other words, it’s another way of showing how popular a particular page is.
Not Changing Much Right Now
For now, the +1 button is only available to a handful of users in English. Because of that and because it’s such a new service, it’s not having much effect at all on the SERPs for various web pages. However, that could change as it gets rolled out worldwide and becomes ubiquitous.
Another Thing to Optimize
Ultimately, just like getting your page liked on Facebook is important for SEO purposes, getting your page +1ed on Google will become extremely important as a measure of rankings so that you can reach the top of the SERPs.