You know the Like button? Well, Google one upped Facebook with the +1 button. What makes the +1 button unique but comparable to the Like button is the ability for users to like links and share it amongst friends. But the +1 button works on a slightly different level in that it can directly affect the way Google ranks a site in their browser.
When a user uses Google to search, they will be able to click the +1 button that appears next to each site if they like it. The only way a user can do this is by logging into a Google account; either Google+ or Google profile will do.
What happens when a site is +1’d? When a site is +1’d, it will show up in the search results of your friends (as long as they are logged into Google). Your name will appear below the link as a sort of endorsement to the site, signifying that the site is worth checking out. Your friends will be more likely to click on the link after seeing that you recommended the site and more than likely they too will +1 it.
By doing this, the site’s viral ability increases. As more friends see the recommendation, check it out and cast their vote, the site begins to get passed around the entire world and eventually becomes a viral phenomenon.
This also brings up traditional search principles. When a search engine is employed to search for specific keywords, it brings up the sites that are the most relevant—or at least they should be the most relevant. Sometimes spam will pop up as well as mediocre sites in the search results. This is often the result of black hat SEO. Google has dedicated a lot of time to make their search engine the best, but unfortunately even it makes mistakes. +1 is another way to rectify the problem.
As users peruse through the sites, they come across these irrelevant pages and grow frustrated—something that Google is adverse to. As users find the good sites in the list, they are able to give them a +1. Google can then review the results and reevaluate the rankings.
What does this mean for the WordPress community? For those that do own a blog or WordPress site, you want people to find your work. Heck, if you have a website you want people to find it. And +1 will help more people find your website or blog. But there is also the other side of the coin. If your blog or site is irrelevant, then users are not going to give your site a +1.
This new innovation ultimately means that content is king (It always was by the way). If your site is irrelevant to the keywords that supposedly define it, then your site will be demoted. Likewise, if the content is poorly written or presented, then your site will suffer as well. So pay strict attention to the content you post on your page.
Also be sure to install the extension on your site. There is a +1 extension that is available to for WordPress users that can be placed on the site so viewers can press it while they are at the site so they won’t forget.
The +1 button isn’t something that should be feared. As long as your sites offer good information that is relevant to the search terms there isn’t anything to worry about. +1 is really an awesome tool that will help users find the best information faster without having to wade through a list of crap. Also if you do a great job you have the chance of increasing your SEO. Really a win win in the end.
Guest Post By: Jesse Langley enjoys all things search and social networking. He is also an advocate for online training.