This is one question that everyone is asking SEOs these days. And it frustrates me.
Launched in March, the Google+ button has become more like a tool to directly get votes on your Google listings and probably push it up the SERPs.
This trend started with Google’s comments on Google+ button some time back, when Forbes reported and then pulled this story titled ““Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers”.
In the article, the author describes Google+ as the “Google’s version of Facebook Likes”.
But a meeting with Google ad folks earlier this week made me realize that it’s going to be even bigger than that. Google is encouraging web publishers to start adding +1 buttons to their pages, and the message in this meeting was clear, “Put a Plus One button on your pages or your search traffic will suffer.”
These lines can be interpreted in many ways. To an SEO, this just means that Google+ buttons will be considered by Google as a direct signal to search engine ranks.
Google and its engineers in many places have knowingly or unknowingly admitted the same. That Google+ recommendations will affect the SERPs. But this is not simple as it sounds.
It could mean that Google+ recommendations will show up in your custom/personalized Google search engine result pages, which we’re already seeing, where we see recommendations from friends circle in Google Plus and other social networks pop up in the SERPs. But will Google+ recommendations go beyond that and count directly as one of the search engine ranking factors? That’s the most important question.
I think it’s a mix of both. Back in 2009, I had made a post about search engine factors Google might talk about more in the future, and social factors were one of the metrics I counted.
My thought was that if social becomes extremely popular (which it has become now) and people trust social recommendations, why wouldn’t Google consider it for search engine results.
Today with Google+ this has come pretty much live. But even now, we don’t have solid proof as to whether Google+ recommendations can single handedly bring or push a webpage to the top of Google search results page. It might be considered as one of those “more than 200 search engine factors” but not directly influential.
Or is it really just that? Well, we got to figure out.