Google’s new social search: +1

+1 buttonTo your cadre of awkwardly-named social media “likers” and “tweeps”, you may soon want to start adding “+1′ers”.

Google just announce their rollout of the new +1 button, a way for searchers to promote links to their Google connections.  Instead of just sharing cool links on Facebook and Twitter, Google wants you to start marking useful links in your search results, so your friends can see them.

The web is a-buzz with criticism of Google’s latest foray into social networking, and whether it will be more successful than Buzz. End users don’t need to worry about it yet: it’s being rolled out slowly, and you need to create a public profile before you can use it. But, if you’re a webmaster or do online marketing, you should be aware of how it might affect you:

  • Your +1′s will affect your organic search rankings – they will be added as a new factor in Google’s ranking algorithms. Just as external links to your site are important to cultivate, you should cultivate +1′s as well.
  • +1′s may appear next to your Adwords ads as well as organic search results – another way for ads to help boost your influence.
  • There isn’t one yet (at least not officially), but Google will soon release a +1 button that can live on your website, next to your “like” and “tweet” buttons. This may be the most common place that people “+1″ your content, since I would imagine most people won’t recommend content from search results if they haven’t visited it yet.

This move from Google has been a long time coming, as they try to find a way to bring social recommendations into their standard results, and to compete with Facebook as the place that web users go for interesting content.  We’ll have to wait and see whether it takes off, but to me, the fact that +1 is tied to search rank means that we’ll at least start seeing the button on most websites. Whether people will use it is another question.

Can you see yourself using +1 as you browse the web?  Do you think you’ll add it to your site? If you’ve tried it out already, I’d love to hear what you think so far!

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