Following on from a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the powerful little red box on Google+, this week we explore the +1 feature… which is possibly even more powerful than the little red box!
The +1 feature allows you to endorse content that you like, similar to the Facebook ‘like’ feature; although there’s a significant difference – its effect on search.
Your +1s affect your search
If you +1 an article by a particular brand or author, Google+ will feed that information back to Google which will prioritise content from that source in your future Google searches. It is building up a picture of what you like and trying to provide you with the results it thinks you want.
Your friends’ +1s affect your search
Your search results will also be affected by the +1s from people in your social-sphere. For example, referring to the image below, B2B Marketing Insider publishes an article called ‘Will content marketing destroy social media?’. You do a search for content marketing on Google and because your friend, Michael Puschmann, previously +1d this article, Google prioritises this piece of content in your search results.
The reason it does this is because it presumes (and usually rightfully so) that you prefer to read content that has been recommended by people in your social-sphere.
So what does this mean for your business?
Well, if your prospects like what you’re publishing and are +1ing it, Google will keep your brand in front of them as much as possible. It will also assume that their friends want to know about your brand and will start returning your website in their Google searches too.
A point worth noting is that the +1 is tied to the destination page i.e. the page on your website where the content is housed. The more +1s you get, the higher quality score – and hence search ranking – Google gives you.
Hubspot recently carried out some research about the +1 button and the results showed that websites using the +1 button get 3.5 times more Google+ visits than those that don’t. This is mainly due to the reader being able to see how many people have +1d a piece of content before they even click through. If there are lots of +1s, people are much more likely to click through. How powerful a tool is that for driving readers to the content on your website?!
A social vote
Think of the +1 as a social vote. When someone +1s your content, they are basically saying to each and every one of their social connections: “This content is awesome, you must read it!” Then, when those new people +1 your content, it begins its journey through the social-sphere. It takes your brand with it; creating inbound links, driving traffic to your website and building your readership.