The day Google launched the Plus One ( +1) buttons, I was having a meeting with our SEO team at [x]cube and I said Plus One is definitely going to be a factor in search results very soon. Whether you are a blog or a website, there needs to be a way for you to integrate Plus One button and entice your users to plus one for you. I had similar discussion with few of my other SEO friends too and not many of them agreed to the fact. One of the few reasons I received against the point was that it is too obvious, this could not be applicable for all types of sites because corporate websites are not likely to get Plus Ones compared to blogs and that Google would probably not like to get into another controversy of pushing their own product based on their search dominance.
While most of the reasons look good, the reason I believed in Plus One being eventually used as a search signal are:
- The way search technology has been improving the only way to stay abreast for Google is to involve human intelligence and Plus One buttons are an excellent way of crowd sourcing human intelligence to judge the quality of search results and websites.
- Facebook has already married Bing and is not likely to share any data with Google
- Google is done courting Twitter and now they don’t have access to the hose. Even when they had it, they didn’t seem to be going much beyond displaying real time results for certain results and displaying pictures of friends who have tweeted them
- Plus Ones can easily be tracked back to a user’s Google profile which contains a lot of personalized data. While collecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not something that Google or for that matter, any company would not admit to, Plus One actually provides the scope for the same and it is indeed a treasure trove for any search engine to serve personalized results and also to leverage the social connections of the users ( crowd sourced human intelligence from people with a strong understanding of the user’s personal taste)
Now, why am I saying this again today? It seems Google actually admitted to be using Plus Ones as a signal for ranking websites in their search results in one of their meeting with Forbes, which was also published as an article titled Stick Google Plus Buttons on your Pages or Your Search Traffic Dies ( yes, I borrowed the title) on 18th August, 2011, but quickly canned by Forbes before it could garner more attention from the not-so-friendly Facebook or the Justice Department. The story was not only removed from Forbes website but was also removed from Google’s cache. However, before they could do all that a copy of the same was saved by the Raven Tools SEO Blog. In case these gets removed, I have got a screen shot of the same too
a)Google Plus One Likely to Effect Search Results