The new Google +1 experiment (the blue box and the “You +1’d this” above) looks very familiar to another, big social networking company’s button. I wonder who?
It seems to me that Google is really trying to get in on the “I approve this link or page” deal and that isn’t a bad thing. Since Google has been changing some things up ie. new account / services bar at the top of Google search pages, new Google profile pages, heavier integration into the Youtube profiles, integration with Twitter, and much more, we’ll see the social impact of our daily lives and online habits playing in to the results for search engines.
This is big for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as I can see the traditional ways of getting web sites high rankings ie. good, unique content, an good user experience, back links, meta tags, title tags, optimized pages and such being put along side the social links and likes. I’m not sure yet (and I think it’s to early to tell) what kind of weight these social links have but I’ve certainly been noticing them in my search results. I’ve especially noticed the “Steve shared this link” on some of my search engine results pages (SERPs) and that’s gotten some sites higher in the rankings then some other traditional methods even when I thought that the link that was shared didn’t have to do with my search keywords. An example for my Google account and the SERPs for the keyword “wordpress”. Normally I’d be looking for the wordpress official site which a friend did share the link to but further down the list of results I see on of my hosting companies pages “we host wordpress” which is definitely not what I’m looking for. I follow that host on Twitter in order to see server downtime information in real time should there ever be an issue (there hasn’t been anything for years by the way).
As I see it, social is here to stay and it’s something that has to be embraced instead of avoided. It’s only going to get deeper and deeper in our online experience. Using that information securely, privately will, in the test of time, decide which way the people will go to and adapt to. I’m very curious about people exploiting the social aspect though. It’s time consuming but it isn’t tough to set up dozens or hundreds of fake online accounts and if someone is willing to take on that kind of management then I think there’s room for the system to be gamed.
I’m contemplating doing an experiment of my own with a Twitter account. I did like to see if following a ton of people, which will eventually get tons of followers back or using web based software to manage or drop people my account is following but don’t follow back ie. Flashtweet and others) then posting links to websites for SEO purposes. Would those sites get highly improved SERPs ranks? Is the social factor a huge factor for Google or a small part?
Thanks to my client Tyent Universe for use of the screen shot of their search result.