“Relevance is about relationships.” That quote from the Google blog represents the idea behind their new ‘+1’ feature, an answer to “Like” and “Share” from Facebook and Twitter. When people searching Google find something they want to recommend, they can hit the “+1” button in the search results or on the actual page to share their recommendations with their Google contacts. The short video below from Google’s blog gives a quick overview of how everything works.
However, B2B business marketers who have spent considerable resources increasing their page rank suddenly are learning that +1 revolutionizes search results. Google is developing an algorithm to account not only for search engine optimization factors like keyword patterns and incoming links, but from the point of view of social networks as well. A result that your friend +1’ed (for the record, +1’s, +1’ed, and +1’ing are the accepted spelling) could be elevated above other results for various search strings and appear higher in the search results. Not only that: +1’s will show up on both search results and AdWords. This may have major impact on your online advertising as well.
So What Do I Do Now?
First, there is no need for panic! Google’s algorithms will always place most emphasis relevancy, not exclusively on relationships. Not everyone will let the Google +1 button determine their clicks, or even enable a Google account that has a broad contact list. Top spots on the search result pages will still be highly valued. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the +1 feature will likely have far greater an impact on B2C business than B2B for now. Buying a coffeemaker because a couple of your friends recommended it is a vastly different decision process than choosing the right software solution to mesh with your IT infrastructure. There are more factors to consider when making a major purchasing decision for your company’s future than “what does my roommate from college think?” Effective SEO will still increase your company’s page rank to the level where major potential clients will take notice.
That said, it is important to be prepared for the possibility of Google +1 becoming an important marketing tool in the future. The simplest way? Think traditional: start creating engaging, original content, design your website with aesthetics and usability in mind, and keep your company on the first page of search results with carefully targeted SEO. Talk with Direct Objective today about your options in the imminent Google +1 online world.