A new “+1 button” endorsement system being trialled by Google not only mimics a well entrenched Facebook feature, but also has the capacity to become a powerful factor in search results.
Currently available as an “opt-in” service on the Google Experimental website, the “+1 button” will enable anyone using any Google product to give websites or search results a positive approval, with such a ranking currently being visible to any other person in that users internet network.
What this essentially means is that if you use a Google product then anyone you know who also uses a Google product will be able to see the approval you gave. Based on the Facebook “Like” button, Google’s “+1 button” will appear in search results, as well as in a new publicly viewable tab on your Google profile.
In addition to being a recommendation system for your “Google network”, the approval system will undoubtedly provide feedback to Google on exactly how well it’s search algorithms matched the search term used, enabling greater refinement of search results.
Google +1 button for website content
Google also plans to enable website owners to use the “+1 button” on website content, and also plans to integrate the “+1 button” into social network streams such as the Twitter short messaging service, though Facebook is likely to be out of the search giants reach.
Google describes the “+1 button” feature as: “+1’ing is a public action. Anyone on the web can potentially see that you’ve +1’d content when they’re searching on Google or viewing content you’ve +1’d. For this reason, you should only +1 pages when you’re comfortable sharing your recommendation with the world.
Your +1’s may appear to anyone who sees the pages you’ve +1’d. However, we’ll try to display your +1’s to people (specifically those in your social connections) who would find them most useful.
Similarly, the +1’s you see will typically be from people in your social connections. You can chose whether or not you see +1 annotations that include the names of people in your social connections. Learn more about +1 on non-Google sites.”
Randomly selected US Google users will soon start to see the “+1 button” appearing in search results, with those not “selected” but wanting to participate able to join the programme on Google Experimental
Internet users who are not currently a Google product user will also see the “+1 button” starting to appear in search results which will direct them to create a Google profile if they click it.
Though Google publicly states that your “+1 button” choices are public, the Edit profile settings in your Google user profile will enable you to hide your “+1 button” choices there from public scrutiny.
If you change your mind about a search result or piece of content that you’ve “+1’d”, you are able to reverse that endorsement by signing in to your Google profile and selecting it in the “+1 button” tab.
Google +1 button and Serp’s
The “+1 button” has the potential to provide Google with large amounts of data on internet users search habits, in addition to providing users with the ability to flag websites to Google with high quality original content.
When Google first started talking about website load speed at the PubCon 2009 conference in Las Vegas, knowledgeable webmasters and search engine optimizers new that it wouldn’t be long before this factor would soon be a part of the Page Rank algorithms – and they were right.
In April 2010 Google officially announced via it’s Webmaster Central Blog that website load speed was part of the algorithm. In just five months the website load speed factor went from being a discussion point, to being one of the hundreds of signals Google uses to calculate page rank.
After being publicly humiliated (See: Content is king returns with Google’s new search algorithm) over the inflated page rank given to a number of large websites using dubious quality and obviously purchased links, the new “+1 button” could rapidly become an important signal in Google’s page ranking algorithm, helping it further refine the page rank and search algorithms to reflect the “[good, original] content is king” philosophy.
If the speed with which Google took website page load speed as a page ranking factor from obscurity to a monitored and incorporated part of its search algorithm is any indication, webmasters have only a few months to go through their websites and improve the quality of content on them, before user endorsements of content through the “+1 button” likewise becomes a page ranking factor.
Watch the Google +1 button video introduction
Footnote: The Google “+1 button” is currently only utilized for search results. Website plugins are planned. If you would like to be notified when the Google “+1 button” is available for websites apply at +1 your website