This is a guest post by Kevin Lau.
Google+ is still gaining some traction online, slowly building an audience and drawing more people in to give it a try for the first time. Perhaps most importantly, marketers are still getting used to how things work, in particular with reference to the Google +1 button.
Whenever you read items in your information stream from other users of Google+, you’ll see you have the ability to +1 them if you like them.
You can also +1 anything you see on a website, so for example if you read an article you particularly like and it gives you the opportunity to +1 it, you can do so. It makes it easier to get more involved with other sites and also of course for other people to get more involved in yours, if you supply them with a +1 button they can use.
But what about ranking more highly in the search results? If two pages are created as total equals and one page has more +1s than the other, would that page rank higher in the search results because of this? This is an interesting question that has been popping up online of late, and it is worth exploring the possibilities. It should however be remembered that Google is making a lot of changes to how they present their search results at the moment, so there could be more improvements made that will change how +1 sites are presented.
More +1s Does Not Mean You’ll Be More Popular in Search Results
In the above example it is likely that both sites would rank the same, since the +1s are not used to enhance the search engine positioning of a particular page or site (at least not at the moment, from what we can tell, although as mentioned above this could change at some point).
But here’s the thing. If you have a Google+ account and you are signed into it, you will notice that you have more personalized search results. If you search for something and a website pops up that people you know on Google+ have +1′d, it will show as such in the results. It might say that Joe Bloggs and seven other people have +1′d it. So you’re getting more in depth results than you would get otherwise.
Now with this being the case you’d be more likely to click on that link than you would be to click on a link that no one you knew had +1′d. You know other people you are familiar with and have some degree of trust in have already expressed their approval of the page, so you’re more likely to do the same. So instead of automatically going for the first one or two results on page one, you might actually be more likely to click on a result that is further down, if you see that other people you know have recommended it. As you can see, +1s are extremely powerful when lots of people start using them.
Do +1s Have Any Bearing on SEO at All?
Clearly they do in some sense, but they don’t look to be relevant in terms of ranking any website higher than it already is. However they do have the power to make a website more clickable if it has already received lots of +1s. So in this sense they can have a bearing on SEO – just not in the way you might think.
Sounds confusing? It might be a little, but once you get your head around it you’ll see that it is worth getting as many +1s for your own site as you can. It may help it do better and receive more click throughs in the future. Fortunately it is easily done by giving people a +1 button on every page of your site that is easily seen and easy to click. Promoting your membership of Google+ is another good way to enhance your results.
Finally it is worth noting that things may always change in the future. Google is, after all, a huge search engine provider above all else. Their social network and +1 facility could all end up influencing the search results more than they do at present. Needless to say, we’ll be watching very closely indeed.