Everything we know about SEO and PPC has been turned on its head. Google’s +1 is a game changer and everyone with a website is affected.

The Facts

On March 30 in the US, Google released Google +1–their rival to Facebook’s “Like” button. Google +1 allows surfers to “+1” (like) search engine results and PPC ads.

+1’s given to search engine listings and ads are visible to that surfer’s social circle, and that circle’s circle–resulting in a powerful, viral dissemination of approval through interconnected networks. And that’s not all. Google search engine results ads display the running total of +1’s for each website. Below the URL are the sum total of +1’s; an ever present aggregate accounting of approval (or lack thereof) is inescapable for website owners.

Before summer’s end, +1’s will be ready to embed in website pages across the ‘net–soon the +1 popularity contest will rule the web.

Why All the Fuss?

The impact of Google +1 is tremendous. Obviously, this is another nod for sites with great content and another slap in the face for spammy, low quality content. Most important is Google’s sly admission that +1’s will factor into their search algorithm and Google PPC ad CTRs and quality scores. So, sites and ads with a ton of legitimate +1 endorsements will have more clout and be rewarded with higher visibility. Competitors without the +1 mojo may flounder…even sink.

Site who worked hard to attain #1 Google SERP rankings and thought they had it made in the shade are about to collide with a harsh reality–Google is pulling out all the stops in their battle for quality and their war against foes Facebook and Bing

The Back Story

In recent times, content was kind and links were queen. Inbound links were referral signals used by Google to determine a website’s sway, or clout–and thus factored into their PageRank and visibility on SERPs.

That is, until linkfarms and other nefarious link schemes permeated “organic” search results. All the while Facebook (and their Likes) and Twitter (and their Tweets) proved their mettle, popping up on every website near you.

Google’s problem had one obvious solution: turn a dear ear to all the link noise and listen more closely to social signals.

Now, more than ever, content is kind, but social is his new queen. Links–they’re the court jester–good for some song and dance, but relatively powerless.

What Can You Do?

For starters, make yourself likable and share-worthy. Distinguish yourself–make yourself into a real “find.” What is it that you do?

If you’re an insider, expert, industry authority, comedian, pundit, observer, blogger, writer, info-producer or presenter of any kind–your content must be top-notch, one-of-a-kind or scarce, and it must be easily searchable, sortable, siftable. Look around you–what you peddle must be better than your competitors.

If you sell products–your products must be top-notch or look top-notch, or your unique collection of products must be top-notch. Or, your shopping experience must be better than your competitors–easier to navigate, search, sort, pay, return. Or, your products must be cheaper than your competitors.

Second, make yourself available to the public through more social channels than you are currently. And take advantage of clout-heavies like Twitter and Facebook.

Third, make your content share-able everywhere it exists by integrating social share functionality right into the page.

One Comment

  1. Emily, nice article. Now talking with folks re our strategy.

    Few of our sites:

    church.org (priorty)
    usmilitary.com (priorty)

    Thank you. Larry Fowler, Alpharetta GA

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