Quick Guide to Google +1

Over the past few weeks Google has some pretty significant innovations aimed at providing a better user experience and faster search results. Amongst the most important has been launch of the Plus One (+1) button.

Plus One is Google’s late entry into the social search space.  This space is currently being pioneered by Bing and Facebook.

Plus One is yet another step in Google’s journey to socialise and personalise its search results. The company first launched the service in the US in March this year and globally in June. You need to have a Google Account to fully utilise the +1 feature. Google has hinted that +1 might influence search results and could improve paid and natural search traffic.

Where can you find the +1 button?

The plus one button can be found in the Google search results (SEO and PPC) and on websites who’ve chosen to incorporate the button on their content pages. In the paid search results (PPC), the +1 button will appear next to your headline on search ads.

How does +1 Work?

In a nutshell: When a signed-in Google user is searching, your Google search result snippet may be annotated with the names of the user’s connections who’ve +1′d your page. If none of a user’s connections has +1’d your page, your snippet may display the aggregate number of +1′s your page has received.

In PPC ads personalised annotations will appear beneath your Display URL. For example Mike +1′s a page selling a laptop holder on a website, when a search ad with that same URL appears, his friend Will might see the ad with the note “Mike and 28 other people +1′d this”.

Google have also produced an official video which outlines how +1 works and highlights the benefits.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAyUNI3_V2c&feature=player_embedded

How can I Implement Google +1 on my site?

Visit the official +1 site for full instructions on how to implement the button on your website.

What has Google said about the +1 button and search results?

Google has not directly linked +1 to rankings, however, it has used phrases like “may in turn” and “increase the odds”.  For example in relation SEO, Google has said the following:

“+1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

Google are recent entrants into this market and while the +1 does not currently rival the Facebook like button in terms of social reach, it is something that cannot be ignored.  Google’s scale and dominance in search and its relentless pursuit in socialising the search experience means that this definitely something to watch.