Posted by: Affiniti Digital Media | September 12, 2011

Google +1: Impact on Social Media, SEO & Paid Search

Over the summer Google has widely rolled out it’s +1 button as a rival to Facebook’s “Like” button. You’ll see it against search results in Google and you’ll see it added to a rapidly growing number of independent websites including Affiniti’s and also on blogs (like this one). Very soon you’ll see it everywhere.

The Google +1 button allows you to vote for a site – the site’s given you what you need and you think it would benefit others to see it too. So, it’s easy to see why it’s great for social media (just like Facebook’s “Like” button). But its strength goes beyond just this “sharing” aspect. With +1 Google also has the potential to take these votes and incorporate them into their natural search ranking mthodology. Within natural search one of the factors that impact rankings is in-bound links to a site. These have always been viewed as votes for a site. Obviously these votes have been open to abuse and while Google has undoubtedly found ways to weed out poor quality votes (e.g. links from sites of poor quality themselves or from less relevant sites) they continue to seeks ways of refining their ranking algorithm. +1 gives them an additional tool – potentially it allows millions/billions of people to add their weight behind what is is useful and what is not. So, watch this space.

But how about this – could it also impact on bid prices for paid search (i.e. Google AdWords). Google’s famous “Quality Score” impacts on bid price – if your quality score is lower than a competitor’s then you’ll have to bid more than your competitor to keep your advert as high up the list as the competitor. But what if everything were equal? What if (for a given keyword) a greater proportion of people visiting your site from an Adwords ad click on a +1 button than they do for a competitor for the same term? Surely this would be telling Google your site is of a better quality? If this were the case you’d be able to lower your bid without losing position?

While this is speculative the potential seems to be there. Which begs the question – do you have the Google +1 button on your site? If you don’t then contact us and we’ll help you.

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