There’s been a lot of discussion lately as Google continues to roll out changes to Google+ and the +1 button. This week, however, they’re finally making the most obvious improvement: linking the two.
Similar to Facebook’s “like” button, Google’s +1 button allows users to recommend content to their friends. It appears next to paid search ads, search results and can now be added to individual websites. In turn, once friends are signed into their Google accounts, they can find relevant content from people they already know. Google+, on the other hand, is a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter all rolled into one, with some additional features such as Circles and Hangouts. Circles let you put your connections into separate groups, making it easier to share certain content with some groups while keeping it private from others (Think: pictures from Saturday night. Putting your boss in one circle and your buddies from college in another could really come in handy).
Up until now, the +1 button only allowed users to share content with their connections through channels like Gmail, Google search results, Gchat, Google Reader and Buzz. Starting this week, however, anyone who clicks the +1 button on a website can share that content within their Google+ accounts as well.
So what does this mean to you as a digital marketer?
Consumers who click the +1 button on your website now do more than just improve that content’s ranking in organic search results. First of all, the marriage between Google+ and +1 makes it possible for people on your site to share content with more relevant people (remember Circles?) faster. This opens up a conversation about your brand with a whole new audience you may not have access to otherwise. And the best part: consumers trust people they know. As we stated in a previous blog post, according to Google, 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know. Plus, 71% say reviews from family members or friends influence purchase decisions, suggesting traffic to your site from Google+ could potentially prove to have a higher conversion rate.
Also being rolled out this week are +Snippets. Using +Snippets, you can customize the appearance of your content being shared through Google+ so consumers see a name, image and description of your choosing.
These new features are not yet fully available, but will continue rolling out over the next few days.