Google Goes Social

Google’s “Plus One” Goes Live

Google has taken a page from the social networks’ book and introduced a way for their customers to provide feedback on search results–and now Web sites!–that they like. What this means to us is that visitor opinions of our sites will now be shared with others as part of Google search results. Sites with favorable comments will obviously get more visitors, so it’s time to take this seriously–right now. This Newsletter describes Plus One, why it matters, and what you should do about it.

What It Is

Within search results, and now on Web sites, Google offers the opportunity for visitors to indicate they like it by clicking a Plus One icon. Doing so, for now, will provide feedback as part of Google search results for other visitors.

Will Google use Plus One results as part of search ranking criteria? They haven’t said so. But Google is facing increasing pressure from social networks to use human opinion in some fashion in search rankings. And a new competitor, Blekko, has started with the express goal of using searcher opinion as a factor in ranking, in reaction to complaints about the quality of Google results.

If you don’t put Plus One on your site and your competitor does, then your competitor could end up outranking you in Google results–and your competitor’s site would be found instead of yours.

How to Use It

Google gives you some Javascript snippets that you add to the page that you want visitors to endorse with Plus One. Then they click Plus One, and you’re endorsed.

If you’d like to try it, click here to visit my home page. The Plus One icon that you click is on the bottom of the page in the center. Try it (actually please please try it) and you’ll see what your site visitors will experience.

Then go to Google Webmaster Central Central for instructions on how to put it onto your own site.

The Bottom Line

Don’t waste time. Put Plus One on your site today. Get the edge on your competition. It’s free. There’s no reason not to do this, and significant reasons to do it. Now.

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