Author // Mike Kalil
If you’re using Google while signed into your account, you might be seeing buttons that say “+1″ next to search results. When you click the button, you’ll be asked to confirm whether you want to recommend the link to your friends. As Google puts it: “The 1+ button is shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool’ or ‘you should check this out.’ Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”
To share your +1 recommendations, you first must create a Google profile. All of your +1 activity will appear in a tab called �+1’s.� Your profile will display the recommended page’s meta title/description and an image from the page, if one’s available. The information will be visible to anyone in your Google network.
Google has also launched a button that webmasters can embed on their sites. The button went live shortly after Twitter released a similar feature that allows site visitors to follow users’ accounts directly from external sites. Previously, site visitors had to visit a Twitter profile to follow it; the button shaves a few seconds off the process. The code is easy to generate; here it is:
Experts are still unsure what effect � if any � the +1 feature will have on SEO. If its usage is widespread enough, +1 data could become a significant ranking factor. Google has confirmed that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do affect rankings. The more content is shared on social networks, the more likely it is to rank prominently. Well-shared content is obviously more likely to earn natural inbound links from blogs, news sites and other online resources.
The +1 feature is a clear attempt by Google to compete with Facebook, which is closing in on 700 million registered users. Plus 1 is similar to Facebook’s “like” functionality in that it allows users to share content with their connections with a simple click of a button. There is some skepticism about whether +1 will take off, as the search giant’s previous jab at social networking, Google Buzz, is seen as a failure.
What do you think of the new feature? Do you plan to use it?