Google muscling in on Facebook “like” button?
Recently, Google launched their “+1 button” as explained in the video above which has bloggers buzzing. In case you haven’t heard, +1 gives your “public stamp of approval” on Google search results which are then publicly viewable. The project is still in the Google Labs section and if you want to participate, simply click here while logged in to your Google account.
To bring you up to speed in case you’re not a super geek, the +1 is a Dungeons and Dragons reference that indicates something is better than normal and has bled over into chat, forum and social networks, so you’ll see people update on Facebook nothing more than “+1” which is a form of agreeing. Several bloggers have claimed it originated on chat, but it goes back to D&D.
Regardless, the most common talking point of the blogging world is that Google +1 is a threat to Facebook Like buttons or is a copy of the Facebook “like” button for results. We would argue that Facebook Likes act as a way for people to share content on their personal network whereas Google +1 is more of an endorsement of search results that are public, much like voting up posts on Reddit… it’s a much lower commitment level. Therefore, we insist it is much more like Reddit than Facebook in every way and not a threat to Facebook.
How Google +1 changes SEO
One talking point that we do agree with is that this new project adds accountability to search and puts Google one more step closer to invalidating the keyword packed sites and scraper blogs. How this is similar to Facebook is that it uses your social graph as a peer to peer recommendation engine.
The question now is will Google offer an option to restrict your search to only sites that have been “+1’d” by your connections? Will Google give more weight to more heavily voted for results more so than their implication that it is a recommendation method?
Is SEO dead?
Is Google trying to get closer to thinking like a human brain where we place emphasis on word of mouth recommendations over that of gamed or corporate results? Will a home buyer in the future rely on searching “Garland Realtors” looking for their friends’ +1 as an endorsement?
SEO is not dead, but it is changing at a breakneck pace, leaving the “experts” who are not up to date in the dust… maybe that’s not a bad thing?