Google’s massive and long-awaited foray into social begins anew tomorrow morning: +1 is here.
I think +1 will be a huge success, and here’s why.
- Google needs this
Google sucks at social. But the web has changed … and they need, need, need this to work. It’s mission-critical, and have you ever known Google to fail long-term at anything mission-critical? Me neither. ‘Nuff said.
- Google has scale
There are lots of social sharing icons in roughly similar spaces: the Facebook Like button, StumbleUpon, Twitter’s tweet button … etc. etc. Reddit, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, you name it … they all have social sharing. But only Facebook has anything approaching Google’s scale. And Google’s massive scale is going to make +1 big, fast.
- There’s room for one more social sharing icon
Right now sites focus on Facebook likes and Twitter tweets. Some will add in Reddit or StumbleUpon, or let you access 10-20 more social sharing networks via a drop-down menu. But there’s room in the higher pantheon of social sharing/recommending always-visible top-of-the-page icons to add one more biggie. That’s Google’s +1, and the only question is which of the also-rans will drop out. Tech sites surely will have Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Everyone else? You’re in a drop-down menu – sorry about that.
- SEO types are having wet dreams
Social ranking signals influencing Google search results? SERPS that I can influence if I get my audience to vote? SEOs are all over that … and they will drive a lot of behavior on top 500 websites.
- The web wants a Facebook competitor
We know Google is the Borg. But we also know Facebook is the Borg. When it comes right down to it, it’s better to have two Borgs than one. When there’s two, at least there’s competition. At least there’s a need to be user-focused instead of $$$-focused. So Google getting some traction in social is a good thing for all of us … maybe even Facebook. Or maybe not.
- It’s easy for site managers
Adding social sharing icons to a site is dead easy. SharePost, ShareThis … there are lots of ways and lots of plugins. Adding one more is a no-brainer that will take virtually no effort for millions of blog owners and site managers.
- Google owns search and search traffic
Because Google owns search engine referral traffic, which is most of many sites’ traffic, it has tremendous power in influencing what those sites do. Search engine optimization is pretty much Google optimization. As such, anyone who cares about traffic optimizes for Google … and +1 is not just a nice idea: it’s going to be critical.
- Google has hundreds of millions of users already
For users, +1 is almost a Trojan horse – to use it, you need to have a Google account. Fortunately for Google, hundreds of millions of people already do: they’re called Gmail users. That’s an incredible installed based to start from … and hundreds of millions more will be jumping all over this. This alone is the key factor that is making Facebook red-faced and white-knuckled: now many, many more will have a reason to not just use Google, but sign up and get an account with Google. This will have significant downstream impact on future Google initiatives in social …
- AdWords costs could go down
Let’s say you’re a big Google AdWords advertiser. You pay 25 cents a click. Now you start using +1, and your users drive up your ranking for all the keywords you are relevant for. And your noticeability goes up. You get more clicks, and more organic clicks. Now you’re paying less … because your organic SEO is improved (non-paid traffic) and your ads convert better (paid traffic that converts better is cheaper in the AdWords algorithm). Huh. You think you’re interested in that? Just a little …
- PageRank is over
PageRank is so over. It’s been done. It’s been optimized for and gamed. It’s not able to provide great results anymore. Social proof is the missing piece, and users and Google alike know it. So both users and Google have a vested interest in improving search results.
Google’s +1 is going to drive major change on the web. And it won’t take long.
Want weekly updates? Of course you do …