Is The Google +1 Button Changing SEO?

Google is an entity synonymous with forward thinking and innovation. Recently, the projects Buzz and Wave debuted less than spectacularly and are subsequently on the way out. That does not mean that Google is out of contention. After all, there is good reason that we utter the phrase “Google it” when telling someone to search on a topic. The world will definitely be watching as Google +1 makes its way into greater prominence. But what kind of bearing is the Google +1 button going to have on SEO?

The answer to that question is really a multi-tiered one. At present, Google is still hammering the kinks out of the system to ensure it won‘t be manipulated by BlackHatters. A badly aimed launch could skew search engine result pages. Thus it is natural to see these things implemented in a slow and steady fashion with the accompanying release of information.

Social SEO seems to be the next direction the internet is moving in. It accomplishes many of the same things that traditional backlinks do, only faster. The expectation that friends and family are not going to flood each other with garbage links and spam is reasonable. Utilizing an on page Google +1 button allows users with a Google account to easily indicate what they found useful. For those that use Google+, they will be able to share that page with selected Circles. Thus, counting those +1’s becomes a useful statistic.

The intended use of the Google +1 button is to coincide with the page it is found on. The webmaster can put multiple instances of the Google +1 button on the same page but it will need to be tied to the specific URL through HREF button code. Other ideas put forward include the ability to +1 an entire domain from the front page or +1 a directory of topics that might appear. It is not confirmed how much weight will be given to either when it comes to display results.

Initial chatter about integrating social networking into SEO was mostly about letting friends see results. Though that is still a major point, there is also the goal of using “Like” functions to help with PageRank. The idea is to take into account the authority of the user who is selecting like. Therefore, one would expect a customer +1’ing a page about home maintenance would be given less weight than a building material business or hardware store. The businesses would have more authority on the subject which would be reflected in their profile page PageRank.

That puts a new importance on just how valuable a profile page ends up being. A +1 from an authoritative profile page may end up being far more valuable than others. However, that is just speculation and we are still waiting for a more definitive statement from Google if they will give one.

Social networking is developing into an important aspect of SEO. Bing already provides search function based off of social ranks aggregated from websites such as Facebook. At present, Google’s approach seems to more about making that information work with the system that is already in place.

As the Google +1 button system continues to roll out and take hold, be sure to pay it the attention it deserves. It is definitely worthwhile to include this functionality on websites moving forward so your Google account using visitors can contribute to your ranking.

Feel free to sound off, we want to hear your thoughts on what the Google +1 button holds in store for SEO and websites. Will it be Google’s next high impact feature? Or will it go the way of Google Wave and Google Buzz? Time will tell.

Jeff Gross has been blogging and writeing about SEO and blogging for several years now. He likes to share his knowledge and experience with others, and helps them get the most out of their blogs.

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