Google has announced that it will be “slowly unrolling” its Google +1 feature. This feature allows registered Google users with public profiles to recommend their favorite sites directly from their search results by pressing on the +1 button that would show up after every search result.
In effect, their friends and other people connected to their Google accounts will see these recommendations when they search for that particular service, product, or item. Google deems these recommendations as more relevant to you as a searcher, so it turns up on top of your search results.
So does this mean the end of SEO?
Not quite. For one, Google +1 is highly dependent on your social network that is based on your Google Profile. If you do a search while not logged in to your Google Account, you will get the results sans your contacts’ recommendations.
Google +1 nullifying SEO is in itself highly doubtful as Google has been totally lacking when it comes to social media. If you ask a roomful of people to raise their hands if they have a complete Google Profile that they use to sync all their social media sites, you’d probably get only a few hands. And we think that’s a generous estimate.
Nevertheless, searchers on Google would be able to benefit from the personalization involved. It really is nifty to be shown recommendations from your friends, like the restaurants they rave about or that vacation they took last summer might be something you would be interested in too.
It will be too early to guess what Google +1 would be up to. But here’s what we’re sure of for now:
It will be useless to just go search for your site and “like” it.
Google +1 relies on the connections from your various networks to serve up its recommendations in your search results. If you are not logged on to your profile and you press that +1 button, it’s just going to be a total waste of time.
Google +1 highlights the importance of a well-connected Google Profile and underscores the importance of tying SEO with social media.
If you have been neglecting your business profiles on different social media sites, now is the time to rev it up. The more people you have in your network, the larger your influence would be.
It is high time that you think about your brand’s SEO.
Having strong SEO for your site would definitely help you now. A strong foothold in the first page of Google would definitely help you stay on that page, even as recommendations come in.
Also, a good way to ensure this is to build on a good brand. If you search for Levi’s or Marlboro, chances are you would get the company’s official Web sites as your top result, and it is very unlikely that recommendations would be able to topple these brands from that spot.
It’s good to be early.
Google’s +1 is its latest foray into making search more social, which is an effort that it’s doing for quite some time now. Think as far back as Google Buzz, Orkut and even Google Social search. However, it seems to us that Google has slowly worked on what makes Facebook and Twitter great: apps, profiles, activity streams, likes.
All that’s needed now is a platform that would bring these components together.
It’s easy to dismiss Google in the social arena, because it has failed so many times before. But with its resources and talent, it could easily come up with that one idea that would tie things together.
In time, it could be THE social networking site + search site to beat. Meanwhile, there is no harm in pouring in some Google +1 into the mix if you’re planning your SEO and social media efforts.