Google +1 Button – 5 Questions Surrounding Its Potential Success

Do people care about search like they care about friends?

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Google +1 Button – 5 Questions Surrounding Its Potential Success
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Last month Google unveiled its new +1 button, which the company came right out and said would contribute as a ranking signal for its search engine. While it has yet to roll out to everyone (you can opt-in for it), the button has the potential to either be a huge win for Google (and search in general) or a huge bust.

There are a lot of questions surrounding the button, and the impact it will actually have.

Do you think the Google +1 Button will succeed or will it be another flop? Share your thoughts.

1. Will publishers adopt the button?

One of the reasons Facebook’s “like” button is so popular is because publishers all over the web post it on all of their content. It helps drive engagement among readers, and potential traffic as users share that content with their friends.

Google already offers the Buzz button, and it does appear on many content sites. It stands to reason that any site currently using the Buzz button will adopt the +1 button, as it should do essentially the same thing, while also contributing to search rankings. Why not use it? that leads us to the second question, but before we get to that, it’s also worth noting that the Buzz button is not nearly as omnipresent as the Facebook Like button. Do you see a Buzz button on individual athlete pages on ESPN.com? How about on movie pages on IMDB? Product pages on eBay? Again, the search implications may still encourage sites like these to adopt the +1 button.

The Like Button on ESPN 

The Like Button on IMDB

The Like Button on eBay

2. If they do adopt it, where will Buzz fit in?

If sites adopt the +1 button, you have to wonder how many will continue to use the Buzz button as well. Both buttons will post content to the user’s profile page. One will have the advantage of contributing to search rankings. Content sites are getting cluttered with social buttons as it is. How many will use both Google buttons? For that matter, how many current Buzz users will use both services? Is this the beginning of the end for Google Buzz? (Note: Facebook has a new “send” button as well, expect to see both this and the “like” button on a lot of sites).

Google did address this somewhat when the +1 button was announced. “Buzz button[s] are used for starting conversations about interesting web content (‘Hey guys, what do you think about this news story?’),” the company said. “+1 buttons recommend web content to people in the context of search results (‘Peng +1′d this page’), and +1′s from social connections can help improve the relevance of the results you see in Google Search. Soon, you’ll be able to use the +1 button, or the Buzz button, or both—pick what’s right for your content.”

The +1’s and Buzz shares will both appear on the user’s Google profile, but under separate tabs. It may make sense, however, for the two to be merged in the future, though Google has made no indication that it would so.

Google Plus One From the Profile

3. Will audiences click it?

Let’s say that Google’s +1 button does get the kind of widespread adoption that Facebook’s like button has, in terms of sites placing it on their content. Will the average web user click it on a regular basis? People click the Facebook like button because they want to share things they like with their friends. They associate Facebook with their friends. You have to wonder how many people actually care about content showing up in search results or recommending search results to others.

Search is not a social task. As I’ve discussed numerous times in the past, I do believe social data can have tremendous value to search, from an input standpoint. While there may be some value, I believe from an output standpoint, it is far less. In other words, comments my friends may have made about a restaurant or a movie that I’m searching for may help me make a decision, but how often are you looking at web content and thinking, ‘I bet my friends are searching for this.’? Maybe occasionally, but probably not that often. At least the average user, who is not in marketing or the search industry. If you disagree, let me know.

4. Will searchers click it?

This same audience is using Google to search for things. Again, more often than not, they’re probably not looking to make recommendations while they’re searching. Site-owners and marketers will certainly click the button for their own sites in the search results, but how often is the average user going to search for some piece of information and recommend it as a search result before they even click on the result? If it’s a good result, they’re probably not going to know as much until they click through to it and find the information they’re looking for. At that point, what reason do they have to click back to the SERP. To say, ‘Ooh, I have to recommend this to other people who are searching for this topic!’? Maybe a few, but most will probably just carry on with their day.

It’s different with Google’s domain blocking feature (which is also a contributor to search rankings now, and could almost be seen as the “- 1″ button). When you don’t like the result you’ve clicked on, you return to the search results. When you do like it, you carry out the task and move on.

5. Will other search engines use the data?

There is also the question as to whether or not other search engines will gain value from the button. I don’t see why not (if the button is indeed successful). Bing is obviously not shy about using other data from Google users. This would simply be yet another indication of when people feel positive about content. When the subject came up at at SMX Sydney, Bing Director Stefan Weitz said, “Maybe,” according to a report from SMX leader Danny Sullivan, though Sullivan himself is hesitant to think that Bing actually would use the data. Based on a recent conversation WebProNews had with Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta (video up soon), that search engine doesn’t seem opposed to it.

What the +1 Button’s Success Depends On

Google’s implementation of other social features and their integration with one another will be key in whether or not the +1 button becomes the next Facebook “like” button. Google has to get social right for this to work.

Facebook’s “like” button works because of Facebook’s social nature. Google’s nature is largely search. Google has also been careful to position the button as heavily search-oriented. Probably the biggest question of them all is: Do people care about interacting with search like they care about interacting with their friends?

What do you think? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation on our Facebook Page:

WebProNewsDo you use Google’s +1 button so far? Will you use it if you see it on content sites?

Google +1 Button – 5 Questions Surrounding Its Potential Success
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  • http://www.thyroidproblemssolved.com Thyroid Problems Solved

    Yeah at this point its really hard to say what will happen regarding +1 button. But I like the way you explained different scenarios and possibilities that might happen whenever it get fully implemented.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Of course we won’t know for sure until it’s out there, but I just try to look at it from how I use the web myself, and how other people I know do. Several of us around here opted into it when they announced it, but rarely find ourselves actually using it. Things could change when it gets rolled out to sites, but we’ll see.

  • Adsense Publisher

    All this is going to do is enable publishers to game the system more. Why is Google adding more fuel to the fire?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      It will be interesting to see how they handle it. They say they’re “careful” in their approach to new ranking factors. With the domain blocking, they’re only using it in “high confidence” situations.

  • http://freeseoservicecompany.com/about-me Anirban Das

    Google search becoming social bound day by day and plus one recommendation is footstep for that, but for G it will be tough to compete with Facebook like button….
    Like to see more correlation ratio for +1 recommendation vs Facebook likes vs Facebook share vs re-tweet..

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Facebook also has the “send” button now. I can see publishers using two FB buttons before a Google Buzz and +1 button. Some will still undoubtedly use all 4.

  • Chris54

    Like, +1 or whatever. I will not click. Never. I don’t care what anyone else “likes” and, does anyone else really care if I like something? I’d hope not. Like in music, popular in most cases, does not equal good.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I do have friends that have good taste in music whose “likes” I am more likely to be interested in than others.

      • Chris 54

        But if you already know you “like” what they do (or that they have good taste to you), why would clicking like mean anything? One will discover more by personal conversation, with some real insight, rather then, a one click like. To me it seems more like a “bot” reaction rather then any real interest or knowledge in what you are liking.

        I like ‘this’ cause they posted a cute little picture of a puppy……but in reality they could be, a puppy mill or a lab that does animal testing. But you like it.

  • http://www.onpagewebdesign.com NH SEO

    Hey Chris, great article but you left out the real reason why Google +1 won’t work. It requires you to be signed into G Acct. I think for G to really make it in Social they need to have a more open concept that everyone can use “to start”. yes you have to sign into FB and Twitter, but G is different and people are just not going to sign in just to endorse someones website. I personally think they should give up on social and concentrate on really making the best search engine better or buy myspace.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Not sure about the buying MySpace part, but yes, requiring people to be signed in could be seen as a barrier, considering a lot of people simply use Google to search, and not necessarily for other products that actually require an account.

  • http://www.mrmediagroup.com Misae

    I’ll use it just because it’s Google, but from a strategy perspective I do ask if this is really an ActivityStream type of behaviour or merely Digg2.0. Would an acquisition/partnership of one of the already established “thumbs up to this site” data pools would have been a better solution for both G, the end user and for publishers? Big data immediately for the geeks to model with, less upheaval for users and publishers?

  • http://www.twittersuccessonline.com Dave Cleinman

    IF this is something that will affect rankings, I suspect it will end up being an issue for Google itself. Any well funded site, no matter how cheesy, scammy, or malicious could effectively game the system with such a tool. Meanwhile, a new, truly unique and beneficial site will be penalized if it cannot get clicks on the 1 Button.

    FB’s Like is useful because it allows interaction and helps drive traffic. Unless Google’s 1 Button can do the same, it will only be a boon to already established or well-funded sites.

  • http://www.digafriend.lv Iepazīšanās

    To my mind this google button will not become popular as nobody really using google profiles to communicate with their friends in Social Networking – so who to share for? But whatsoever google is the bigest search engine so it can easely advertise this button and I belive that sites who will instal this button will rank better – just another trick for google as with adsense. I have many sites and observed that when I remove adsense banners from my sites they rank wors than with these banners – so google just wants to dominate in ewerything on the web and I would say that it has all necessary means for it – but in social networking they would need to employ better experts it looks that they are not even good in this field:) – but that’s just my oppinion..

  • http://flamencoaustralia.org Paul

    Facebook’s like button works on sites because everyone is already signed into facebook all throughout the day to keep up with actual friends in their real world circle.

    With all this technology, people just wanna crack jokes, share pictures and play games ;)

  • lw92 moses

    I think google should go for it rather than to let FB out do them.

    • http://margaritamasters.com Michael

      Facebook out do Google? FB is for social networking, Google needs to stick with the search and the +1 button, as others state, is just another ploy for those whom use black hat techniques and trying to game there way up.

  • http://www.leisurecom.com Shay

    How do you know if you like it before you have visited the link??
    Its just another method of spam. Google started the whole SEO, then PageRank, then Inbound Links craze and now we are faced with another method to try and spam it.

    • http://thewebsensesolution.com Jon

      Goot point Shay, I see potential for abuse.

  • http://www.blissseo.com.au Mark

    Great points Chris, I agree with all of them. When news first broke of the +1 button my main point was that the +1 button would just become another service like link building…

  • http://www.webartistuk.com/ Uk Wen Designers

    If the like button starts to play a role in search engines, then ill drive through the whole of uk once a month visiting every internet cafe i possibly can to get unique ip registered button clicks. I might start charging people for this service…”drive by seo” lol

  • http://weblinkcomplex.blogspot.com/ Rishi

    This information Really Helps Us.

  • http://aanmetro.blogspot.com aanmetro

    goods succese fully

  • http://www.websites-seo.gr Websites SEO

    I think +1 will personalize visitors preferences. I guess we will find out soon

  • http://professionalseowriter.com SEO Writer

    I think I would be more likely to click the Google +1 button than the Facebook like button. I hesitate to “like” things sometimes because I don’t want to inundate my real-life friends with posts about things they have no interest in. No one looks at my Google profile anyhow, so I could let the writer know I like their article by clicking the +1 button without worrying about annoying my real friends.

    On the other hand, that defeats the purpose if it’s supposed to be all about the social aspect.

  • http://www.almuntakaa.com haider


    tell us you’re human

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Google+ is something I am now part of but don’t know how to use, really. And I don’t know if it’s worth the time to take to figure out exactly what it can, if anything, that I really need.

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