A couple of months ago we previewed Google’s latest foray into the world of social search. After a few failed attempts at social media over the years, the search engine has officially rolled out its +1 tool across the web.
Google +1 is billed as a bookmarking-esque tool rather than a full blown network. First announced as a global experiment, it became available to webmasters the world over on the 1st of June. A simple premise, Google +1 allows you to +1 a page after reading it, giving it a virtual thumbs up and allowing you to see what friends in your social circle think is cool. This peer review process means you can recommend your favorite pages and search results to friends simply by clicking on +1.
When Google announced Google +1 back in April, the focus was on the user experience and the novelty factor of being able to recommend to friends and see what friends have recommended to you. But now that the code has been released for webmasters to add the +1 button to their own site, it’s possible to determine what the advantages are for the small business owner.
Should you add Google +1 to your site?
If you already have a number of bookmarking or ‘favorite this’ tools on your site, it should be quick and easy to add the +1 icon. Even if you don’t currently promote social media tools via your home or product pages, a new tool from Google is always worth considering.
While the search engine says that Google +1 won’t automatically give you a better search engine ranking, techs have admitted that in future, the number of +1s your site has gathered may be a determining factor in where your site sits in the SERPs. Since any way to get an edge and rank higher needs to be considered, this should be a powerfully persuasive argument.
A second reason to take the time to get the +1 coded to your site is the social factor. While any social media buzz managed correctly ought to direct traffic to your site, Google +1 allows potential traffic and contacts to see who has recommended your site in the search results from within their own circle of friends. This makes a useful ‘word of mouth’ flow of traffic and should result in better and more qualified site visitors. Since those visiting the site on the basic of a Google +1 recommendation will already know and trust those who have clicked on +1 for your site, your traffic should already be more predisposed to trust and buy from you. This can have a significant impact on conversion rates.
Google has also advised that adding +1 means that pages can show up more often in the search results, stating, “Adding +1 buttons to your pages is a great way to help your content stand out in Google search. By giving your visitors more chances to +1 your pages, your search results and search ads could show up with +1 annotations more often, helping users see when your pages are most likely to be useful.”
Perhaps the biggest draw for site publishers is that Google +1 can also be used to recommend AdWords pay-per-click adverts. For the same reasons that a high number of +1 recommendations can lead to more natural traffic, a +1 recommendation on a PPC ad can actually help to increase the quality of traffic clicking on the advertisement. This can help to generate a much stronger ROI and boost sales figures from paid search advertising.
How can you add the Google +1 button to your site?
The button is supported in 44 languages currently but only English annotations appear in the search results. For those with sites in multiple languages, you can either add to all pages or wait until annotations are available in the second language before installing. A publisher feed from Google is available for button updates to be sent directly to your inbox so you can roll out the +1 icon on secondary language pages when annotations become supported.