Google’s +1 and The Rise of Social Search – Are you Ready?

Google has done it again. They are dedicated and will not stop until they provide searchers with the most valuable websites and remove all bias of website owners. Ten years ago, webmasters were hiding keywords on their site to boost their rankings. Fast forward ten years and Google is not only refusing to tolerate “spammy” techniques, but they are so close to putting the fate of your website and its rankings in the hands of your audience…this is social search at its finest.

If Google has its way, searchers will be rewarded with only the most valuable products, services and websites, and business owners will be forced to get with the program or start walking.

What is Google up to this time? According to Jim Prosser, Google spokesperson, the +1 feature is another attempt by Google to make search results more relevant. Though Google at this time has stated that this new feature will not have an impact on overall search results, when asked whether it will in the future, Jim Prosser told Mashable, “…it’s something Google is “very interested” in incorporating in some form at some point.”

You heard it directly from his mouth. Google will eventually use the opinions of your audience to rank your site. In ten more years, you will not see any more sub-par, less than valuable content sites only existing for users to click on ads. If social search continues to trend in the same manner, the opinions of web users will hold much more weight and it will drive these invaluable sites down the rankings regardless of their presupposed SEO value.

What is the +1 feature?

The +1 feature will be available as an icon visible to users on the search results page. Although in the beginning stages, it will eventually act as a recommendation service. Websites will display their +1 ranking based on whether your contacts “liked” a particular element or how many overall users “liked” it as well.

When users see the +1 button on Youtube or a search ad, they have the option to click it. The button is similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, although Prosser points out the distinction between Facebook’s closed system and Google’s “open web”.

Social Search is Taking Over the Web

If you are an eCommerce business owner and you have not entered the social media space on the internet, you must start getting involved so you are not left out. Start interacting with your target audience directly, whether through blogging, videos, Twitter, Facebook or any other social tool. Give your customers a chance to “+1” your media and products on the web so you can continue to compete in your industry.

Unfortunately, Google will not stop for anyone. So you can either jump on the social media bandwagon or be left in the dust. The next ten years will tell the tale, but if you can prepare yourself now, you can be ahead of the game as social search explodes in the coming months and years.

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