Will Google +1 be an SEO game changer?
Archived post from April 14, 2011
As most of you have already heard, Google recently launched Google +1, a social recommendation tool which allows users to vote for organic search and paid search results, in effort to improve search engine result relevancy.
Google +1 has been compared to Facebook’s “Like” feature and is, indeed, quite similar. However, Google aims at sending users to external pages by providing them with links most related to their search queries. Twitter and Facebook, on the other hand, want to keep users on their pages.
Who will benefit most from Google +1?
For now, paid search marketers. Since users can vote for paid search ads, the need for paid search advertisers to create relevant ad copy and landing pages is more important than ever. Google will be taking ads with +1 votes into account when calculating Quality Scores, which means that ads with +1 votes will likely experience reduced CPCs.
Some say that +1 might also lead to a slightly lower quality of some ad clicks but others think some users may specifically look for ads with +1 votes when searching.
Advertisers who prefer not to receive votes can opt out by submitting a form to Google.
Potential implications for SEO
Google has not yet announced exactly how +1 will affect SEO but it is safe to assume that it will have quite an impact on organic search rankings.
In fact, it wouldn’t be a big shocker if Google were to start rewarding pages with the most +1 votes. It makes perfect sense, actually, since Google strives to provide users with the most relevant match for a user’s search query.
Whether Google +1 takes off or not, it serves as an excellent reminder as to how important it is to create relevant website content. Site owners will now need to put further emphasis on providing high quality, valuable content written for the user, and not just for search engines. We have yet to see what impact +1 may or may not have on SEO but just in case, keep optimizing your texts and always write for the user. After all, you want to generate concrete leads and sales, and not just a lot of traffic.
While link building will still be a valuable part of search engine optimization, it may become less valuable since Google will likely take users’ votes into account when determining whether or not a site is worth its ranking.
It will also be interesting to see how Google factors +1 into their algorithm to determine website search rankings.