As I’ve been blog hopping the past few days I’ve seen heaps of discussions going on about Google’s +1. Some say they love it, some say they hate it and others don’t seem to give a damn. Those who dislike it seem to think it’s doomed and it’s only a matter of time before Google pulls the plug. Personally, I think as far as Google is concerned the +1 is more than just a social media tool.
Some of the comments on the posts I’ve read asked such questions as to which is more important. Should you delete the Twitter icon just so you can promote Google’s +1 or do you leave both. As far as I’m concerned I believe in giving my readers a choice so I’m not going to pull one just for the sake of the other. Even so, I believe both are of value, one short term and the other long term and I reckon you may just be interested in what I have to say about the value of both social media buttons.
Twitter’s biggest value, as far as promotion is concerned, is short term at best. Let’s say you write a brilliant post and someone with a huge following gives it a tweet. That tweet may be picked up by someone else who also tweets it and on it goes. This can lead to a huge traffic spike, I know because it’s happened to me a couple of times, but unfortunately it is very short lived. If you’re lucky you’ll get a few comments, you might even get a couple of people subscribing to your list, but that’s it. Once the spike is over things go back to normal as if it never happened.
Now we have Google’s +1 button. Is it really a rip off of FaceBook’s like button or is it a lot more than that? If you ask me the +1 will have far reaching consequences as its way more important than merely being tied to social media interaction. Think about it, apart from making the lives of SEO experts, and bloggers miserable, what is Googles main purpose in life? According to Google:
Google’s mission: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
So, they don’t really care about us except for when it comes to two things; the first is making them money by displaying Adsense ads and the second is by us providing quality content for their users, but these pale next to their main purpose for existing, that of providing the best search engine results for their customers.
Why do you think they keep changing their algorithm? I put it to you that backlinks will lose it’s importance sooner than you think. The biggest problem with backlinks is that it may not offer the most accurate way of determining the worth of any given site. Google knows that just because someone has a huge amount of backlinks doesn’t necessarily mean it’s providing the best content. It could also be because they have a bigger bank account or know how to do better SEO than the rest.
What if Google decided to let it’s users decide as to which is the better site? It could well be that Google’s ultimate plan for it’s +1 button goes way beyond the social media aspect. What if it plans to incorporate the results of the +1s into its search algorithm? Let’s say there are two sites discussing the same topic, one with a lot of backlinks and one with only a few. Let’s also say that the one with a lot of backlinks only had a few +1s but the one with a few backlinks had a lot more. Google may decide that the one with more +1s has a lot more relevance, because that’s what it’s users are saying, thereby bumping it up in the SERPs!
Yeah, sure there are going to be a lot of wankers who will try to game the system by fixing the results, but seriously, don’t you think Google is aware of that? After all, they weren’t born yesterday! If I know Google not only have they got a plan to prevent this, they also have a plan to make those who try to rig the system pay for it. Oh, and there are so many ways they could do this, the least being cancelling their Adsense account and the worst being removing them from the SERPs altogether. If you don’t believe me try it and see what happens.
As far as I’m concerned I think the +1 is a great idea and I hope that it takes off. As long as I continue to provide my readers the best content possible it can only have a positive effect. Anyway, that’s my take on it. Do you think I may have hit the nail on the head or do you think I’ve got it all wrong? If I am right, can you afford not to have Google’s +1 displayed on your blog?