I’m Tom Howlett, and one of the key changes I’ve seen in 2011 is the Google +1 button. The Google +1 button was introduced in March in the USA and in June in the UK. This was Google’s answer to the Facebook “like” button, which was introduced in 2010. This gave users a chance to click the button if they liked a particular web page or felt it was worth sharing. Webmasters could also add the button to their own websites if they wanted to.
At the time, visitors using Google could see how many +1s a site had within the search engine result pages. They could also see how many +1s a site had when viewing a particular web page, and this would show roughly how popular that site was. Syncing with people’s Google profiles, it would also highlight sites that they had liked.
So since this introduction, Google+ has been released, which is Google’s own social network. This has made the integration of Google +1 button much more social by adding the ability of sharing the web page directly with people in your social circles. Search engine results now display pages that your friends have liked, which make using the Google search engine much more socially driven. Of course, this is only available for people with a Google account and will have little effect on the large number of people who browse Google without being logged in.
So what effect has this had for website owners? The presence of the +1 button on Google results and different web pages may influence web users slightly. A high number of +1s may suggest that a site is particularly useful or even entertaining and could act as a trust signal when people are browsing the Web. This could influence the amount of people who click through to your website. It could also increase the amount of traffic you get by receiving traffic via Google+.
Google may also use the +1 data to influence the quality of their search results, which could have an impact on rankings. However, this isn’t likely to override any other important ranking factors. The +1 button is bound to be a key driver next year.
For more information as the +1 develops, visit Koozai.com or any of the social profiles below.