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If you haven’t clicked the Google +1 button yet, chances are you will soon. Google has used its huge reach to ensure that web publishers worldwide were ready for their new social metric.
Whether users embrace it or not, and as with anything Google, +1 could end up influencing web traffic and the all-important bottom line. So it might turn out to be big news For SEO experts, search engine marketing gurus, e-commerce businesses and the enslaved legions of hypnotised Google Analytics users all over the world; of course we’re paying attention.
The moment +1 was turned on, the new button appeared under billions of YouTube videos alongside our accepted friends from social media kings Facebook and Twitter – who had to earn their place the hard way. Overzealous webmasters everywhere had the +1 code all ready to go and the rest of us are being ordered to install it every time we log into Webmaster tools, Adsense or Analytics.
Does +1 work?Well, kind of. Google has yet to sort out the mess of multiple accounts we end up needing. For example, if you are a business paying for Google apps... the button won’t work. D’oh.
What’s the point of +1 exactly?
Whether or not it does anything for users remains to be seen, but it might do quite a few things for Google.
For starters, +1 is yet another hook to force the common web serf to sign up for a Google account. That’s right – just like the tweet and like buttons, you need to be signed in to a Google account to use plus one. I probably don’t need to explain why Google wants more people to have Google accounts, but suffice to say they are hungry for your data.
As their war over who has the best collection of user data heats up, Google and Facebook will be locking horns for control of the online advertising market. Many are already predicting Google could lose this battle, so it needs to claim some territory in social, build some defensive social metrics on it fast, and hold on tight. If +1 catches on - and that’s a big if... then +1’s will soon be whistling past likes in a battle-scarred no-man’s land of vastly expensive advertising decisions.
As of today, Coca Cola has 29,976,824 facebook ‘fans’. Coca-Cola is obviously much more likely to spend on facebook advertising space than with Google. As well as giving them some impressive numbers to boast about, facebook has just become the most visited domain on the internet. Also, we don’t really need to look very far to find a can of coke, so Google’s historical advantage of search domination won’t help them there.
Many brands, especially those with global recognition, will be thinking along the same lines.
Prior to +1 buttons Google had no comparable social metrics to present as a counter-strike; but what exactly are they (and us?) going to do with them?
Well... currently all your +1’s vanish into the invisible pit of neglected personal web-space that is your Google Profile. Ever been there? I recommend creating your profile page just to have a giggle.
The big G is presumably intending to persuade web users all over the world that their Google Profile (catchline: what do people read about YOU when they search the web?) is a great place to visit, even become addicted to. A place where you can interact with your friends and family, share links, upload photos, link your favourite YouTube videos, share your likes – oops I mean +1’s – but... hang on, this sounds like f... f... familiar.
Good luck with that Google!