Google +1: Small businesses to get the most out of new recommendation system
This week, Google publicly rolled out its +1 button. I would say that the reception so far is divided. One camp thinks +1 will be revolutionary, and the other can’t see how this will be any different from the dozens of other widgets constantly bombarding them on the Internet. Like this! Tweet this! It can be a bit much. Now I am by no means an expert or a tech prophet, but I would like to think that Google is onto something really special here. So naturally, I have to write something about it when I see this video ranking #2 in Youtube for “Google +1”.
If you watched the video above, then I hope you enjoyed being yelled at for 2 minutes straight as much as I did. I’m sure it was all made in good fun so I’m not going to take it too seriously, but I will respond to his comment about the +1 button being just a Facebook ‘Like’ competitor. Yes, the pages you +1ed will be in your Google profile. And yes, no one ever looks at Google profiles. But if that’s all you think it +1 does, you’re incredibly misinformed. Here is Google’s promo video of their +1 button.
As you can see, pages you decide to +1 will show up in the Google search results of people within your Google network. There were already signs of social media related results in Google Search even before +1; for example, if you search on a ‘trending’ term, you’re likely to see tweets, etc. But this takes it to another level by actually replacing the organic search results you would have seen with the recommendations of your peers. I’m already seeing it in action, which is pretty exciting.
This has particularly important ramifications for businesses that rely on their web presence to generate sales (notice that the Google promo video is hosted on the ‘Googlebusiness’ Youtube account). If you’re a small business, you don’t need me to tell you how important your Google ranking is.
According to Business Insider’s Chart of the Day (above), almost 40% of the 418 U.S consumers surveyed said that they went to Google first when making an online purchase of some kind. Only 1% said that they asked their friends on Facebook. Google can breathe a sigh of relief; for now, consumers are not spurning traditional search to ask for advice and answers from their friends. That being said, I think +1 shows that Google is not ignoring the usefulness of a network that allows these recommendations to happen. Way to cover your bases, Google.
This brings me to my next point. With +1, Google now has a huge leg up if they are seriously thinking about building a Facebook competitor. With +1, you give people the ability (Or the illusion of the ability) to directly affect the search results of everyone within their network with a click of a button. That’s immensely powerful. Anyone with a stake in the organic ranking of a website now has a compelling incentive to create a Google profile and get as many Google ‘friends’ as possible. I would also guess that Google might pull in +1 numbers to determine their natural organic rankings. It’s a brand new metric and it will be interesting to see how the SEO community responds to it, how susceptible it is to spam, and how Google responds down the road.
What +1 really needs to succeed is a change in how consumers approach recommendations on the Internet. Instead of ‘Liking’ a comment on Facebook about how great AcmeCorp muffins are, you go directly to AcmeCorp’s site, +1 their page, and then all your friends will see AcmeCorp when they search for ‘muffins’. I wonder how long it will take for that to catch on.
Like this article? Don’t forget to +1 it! (Sorry, had to. :P )