I installed Google +1….Now What?

You installed the Google +1 button on your website, and you are sitting there wondering to yourself, “…now what?” First, I’d like to congratulate you on making the decision to install it. With the release of Google +1, Google has set itself up to be in a prime position for effective search engine results.

Do you remember the time that you installed the Facebook “Like” button or the Twitter “Retweet” button on your website? When you are logged into Facebook, your search results show pictures of people in your Facebook network that have liked your page. This is called social proof.

The Google +1 button works in the same way as its predecessors. If you are logged onto your Gmail account, Picasa, or Buzz account, the people in your network could show up on that page or in search engine results as having liked it. These types of votes carry a lot of weight with the individual user and have been weighted in Google’s algorithm also.

What is Social Proof Anyway?

Social proof is a term that is heard more now than it ever was before. In the past, mainly psychologists have used it to define how someone reacts to a social situation when they are unable to determine the appropriate way to respond; they look to surrounding people to become better informed about the situation and then make their decision.

Advertisers and marketers branded this phenomenon to become an accepted term for SEO, and Google is preparing to make social search a bigger part of their algorithm than ever. With the recent Panda update and the release of Google + in beta testing, a lot of things have been going on in the background, making the Google +1 button a larger factor in social search.

How Does the Google +1 Button Help You?

Google has been positioning itself in a number of ways to make the Google +1 button a major part of search engine results. They have released Social Media Analytics add-ons for social media websites in addition to the Google Analytics features that already exist. They also released new search features like Google Image and Google Social. They discontinued their contract with twitter that released real-time tweets in the SERPs on July 3rd when all of the Real time Search results ominously disappeared.

Speculation upon all of this activity has led some to believe that it is a way to create a pathway for Google +1 to have more influence than any other online social media option in the past. So once again congratulations on your wise decision to install Google +1.

So, I installed Google +1…Now What?

Here’s how it works. You have to have a Google profile to use the +1 option and it is up to each user to turn it on.

  1. Go to Google Labs and turn the feature that allows personal preferences to show in Google searches.
  2. When someone in your network searches for something that you +1’d, your Google Profile photo will show up in the results.
  3. When you click the +1 button, it will also show up as a recommendation to your social circles on Google +.
  4. Go to your Google Profile to manage and view your +1s.

How Google +1 affects Search Engine Results

Effectively, all of these factors are factored into Google’s algorithm. Some speculate that a +1 recommendation will boost a link higher in the Google SERPs. They act as trusted votes from our peers. The more friends that like it, the more trusted it is. This also works on the assumption that friends are less likely to spam each other, unlike the methods that were being weighted before Panda made it’s update.

How exactly Google +1 will help you is not by any means definitive, but you can expect that Google is using this new feature to keep themselves as the leader in search engine results. The fact that Google + gained over 10 million members in the first week of beta testing says a lot, especially when it was still an “Invite Only” option. Can you say social proof?

So, if you have a Social Media Management plan, it is a good idea to promote your page in much the same way as you have done with Facebook in the past. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for when they open the Google +1 Entity Profile Page to businesses again, so you can get on the waiting list for the beta testing of business pages in Google +.