Thumbs Up for Google's +1?

Google continues to battle it out with Facebook with the introduction of a new feature that it hopes will push its way into the social arena. Google +1 is essentially Google’s answer to Facebook’s ‘like’ button; it’s a ‘shorthand’ for ‘this site is pretty cool, check it out!’

When you run a search query in Google you will notice a +1 box to the right of each headline (both on PPC and SEO), similar to the example below:

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The idea is that if you like a website and would recommend it to a friend you would click on this +1 box. When your friends subsequently run similar searches they will see that you have recommended the website and as a consequence will be more likely to visit the site:

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One of the pitfalls of this is that only your Google based connections, right now, will power +1 matches and you also have to be signed into Google for the feature to be enabled. There is also a debate as to whether this is another failed attempt by Google to enter the social arena. You may, or as the case may be, not remember Google’s failed attempt with ‘Buzz’ that tried to tap into this market.

If proven successful, what could this potentially mean for advertisers? One thought is that page relevance and ranking will be affected as +1’d selections tend to have a higher position when users re-visit earlier searches. Also CTR% on those ads with +1’d could potentially have a higher CTR, especially for advertisers with a lower brand image or search terms that are more generic.

What is inevitable is that we will be hearing a lot more about this topic within the coming weeks and what its effects have been on advertisers. Until then the jury is still out onto whether this is another flash in the pan, or if it is here to stay.

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