Without further ado, Google has made the decision to jump both feet into the social media maelstrom. The search giant’s announcement this week to launch the Google +1 program brings up a host of questions about where they’re headed next. How will the Google +1 affect search engine optimization?
Google is the Goliath of search. It has muscled and finessed and “algorithmed” it’s way to the top. It enjoys an unfettered view from the very pinnacle of internet search. It’s the authority. The “hammer”. The engine that everyone looks up to, trusts to do the hard work, and expects the real results from.
Alas, Google hasn’t been much of a social climber. Facebook has outstripped Google for some time now as the most visited domain. Its cleanest foray into the social world was its marriage to YouTube. But emerging as a relevant social media presence? Not so much.
We trust Google for our search needs. Yet as hard as they’ve worked to get there, it seems their lackluster showing in the upstart world of social media is starting to eat at them. It appears as though Google is – dare we say – workin’ it. Jockeying for position. Shouldering their way through the crowd. Behaving sort of like they’re the class valedictorian, but now they want to be voted “Most Popular”. Or maybe they’re just playing – they don’t care about social at all and just want to mine the search field. Suddenly is seems the Google weird factor is back on the table.
To access +1 you first need a Google Profile, much like a Facebook profile only not yet as cool, which anyone who has your email can access. What we don’t yet know is how the +1 button will affect how consumer data is captured, shared or funneled. Since Google has a long way to go to get to the warm and fuzzy social comfort-level Facebook provides, how valuable will this data really be? Only time will tell! The +1’s will start appearing in the next few months, just like the local search results did earlier this year. They seem to be putting their toe into the water with this one, using Google-speak phrases like, “…a way to make search results more relevant.” Hm.
What does Google +1 mean for search engine optimization? That remains to be seen…there is no doubt that it will affect the specificity of search and how visitors gauge value. But what visitors? If you want to give this a go straight away, you can check out Google’s experimental search option. You can also get the +1 facts from Google . For now, don’t plan on putting your “Like” button out to pasture!