Google’s New “+1″ Button – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Google has recently revealed their new “+1″ button to emulate and compete with Facebook’s “like” button. Many businesses still see Google as the golden goose, so this new feature is likely to be very hyped. Don’t get me wrong, this is an exciting feature. However, people always want to find ways to game the Google system, and the “+1″ button will open up a new floodgate of black-hat marketing schemes and overblown expectations. So let’s take a moment to look at what the new “+1″ button means, how it effects your business, and what place it has in your Internet marketing strategy.
Google became the king of search engines by having the best algorithm to give us useful results. This algorithm is always changing and being updated, but always with one goal in mind: to show results that human beings find the most relevant. Try as Google might, no automated computer algorithm can truly produce 100% relevant results.
The ultimate solution to this problem is to somehow harness the human mind to produce search engine results. Google does this to an extent by using site traffic and incoming links to judge a site’s importance, but the “+1″ may be an even more direct method of tapping our collective input to judge a site’s relevancy.
The Bad: Facebook “Like” Is Still Better
There are hundreds of actions to choose from in the world of social media. You can ask visitors to “like” you on Facebook, “tweet” you on Twitter, “digg” you on Digg, etc. The more options you give visitors, the less likely they are to do any of them. If you want your site to grow a social following, you need to stick to one main action. Google may be king of search, but having someone “like” your page with Facebook is still a much better action to promote to your visitors.
If someone clicks the Google “+1″ on your website, Google will see it. If someone clicks the Facebook “like” on your website, PEOPLE will see it. The reality is that Google has yet to have any of their social media efforts take off. Additionally, Facebook has the advantage of letting you communicate with those who have “liked” your page. For every “like” is a new audience member for you to reach out.
The Ugly: A New Wave of SEO Spam
Google is equal parts a mystery and an obsession among business owners. One of the better features of “+1″ is that people can see how many “+1″ recommendations your website has received when they are viewing Google search results. This is going to open the flood gates for scammers offering paid “+1″ clicks on your website. Google isn’t going to let “+1″ recommendations greatly effect search results for a while for this very reason, but that won’t stop the emotional effect of seeing hundreds of “+1s” show up next to your website in Google.
Google “+1″ is worth keeping an eye on, but don’t let it derail your Facebook efforts. If you want a lot of “+1″ recommendations showing up next to your website, run a limited and targeted campaign just for that purpose. This isn’t going to end here, Google won’t rest until search engine rankings are 100% spam proof and relevant.