There is an ongoing conversation about the impact of the Google +1 button on search engine results. With Google’s +1 button push and integration in Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, it is inevitable that the +1 button will influence Google’s search engine algorithm, and ultimately a website’s rank in search engine results.
The level of impact, however, is still unknown and will likely change overtime as Google tweaks the formula.
Here are three possible scenarios illustrating how the +1 button will influence search results.
+1 Clicks Reign Supreme
The first scenario is the simplest, where the more +1 clicks a page receives, the higher it will rank in search engine results. This scenario, although the easiest to conceptualize, is the most unlikely because it will be too easy for spammers to “game” the system. There are already people selling +1 clicks.
+1 Limited to Your Network
The second scenario involves social integration and personalized search results, where the more +1 clicks a page receives from people in your network, the higher it ranks in your search results. This means the absolute number of +1 clicks for the page do not matter, but only the clicks from your network. This scenario is much more likely as more users begin to use the Google+ network. This scenario also makes it difficult to “game” the system.
The most likely scenario is Google will develop a formula that will involve multiple factors that include the first two scenarios. Other factors that may determine the impact of the Google +1 button in search results include:
- the number of +1 clicks over time (a continuous number of clicks over time is better than a single spike)
- the most recent +1 click (more recent the better)
- the number of +1 clicks by users in your city (the more clicks by users in your area the better)
How do you think the Google +1 button will impact search results?
This is a blog post about how a good idea can sometimes create a bad trend.
This month Bing announced it’s going to capitalize on the most powerful force of all – endorsements. 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of people unknown to them.
We already know that if our friends like something, we’re much more likely to like it too. Currently in the US, and soon in Canada, when you search on Bing you will see search results that also show who of all the friends in your Facebook network “like” the business, organization, brand or product listed in your results. In other words, search results will include your friend’s recommendations.
Think about it. Search “restaurant” for your city. Does the sea of results help you make a decision? Not likely. But under one result you see three friends have “liked” that establishment – and voila! You’re much more likely to choose it. Thank you Bing.
But the more I thought about this new development, the more I began to question how this actually might eventually erode the value of our friends’ opinions.
Here’s why. In the race for brands to accumulate the most “Likes” possible for their Facebook Pages, a trend has emerged. Contests, giveaways and other incentives to “Like” a brand’s Page are virtually ubiquitous now. ”Win an iPad 2 – just for Liking us!” Seeing as one click is all the effort that’s required, and the possible return so great – this tactic can be very effective. Except for one thing. Now it appears your friends are endorsing a brand or product that they actually aren’t. Over time, these powerful endorsements, lose their impact.
I’m not suggesting Bing’s latest inclusion of friend’s “Likes” in search results, is the beginning of the end of the value we place in our friends’ opinions. But I am suggesting it may reveal the often paper thin value of a Facebook Like… eventually resulting in total disregard of what started as a great idea.
It’s hard to miss all the conversations happening about Google’s new social network, Google Buzz. Twitter and Blogs are just buzzing with activity. So will Google Buzz gain traction or is the competition already too stiff? We can only wait and see.