Just a couple of months age Google+ was like a desert. No one had an account there except for the early adopters. And people were not that convinced about using the new +1 buttons either.
But then Google started to take the +1 metrics as a ranking factor. In essence, to some extent, the more +1 votes your site gets the better rank it receives. Of course, all the other ranking factors still matter, and there are lots of more important things you can do for your site in terms of SEO than to solely focus on +1 votes.
That being said, no one really knows what Google is up to and what their plan for +1 is, so we have to act according to the things we know. And since +1 votes are growing as ranking factors we need to take that into account while constructing or SEO campaigns.
The first question to ask is:
Why Google Cares so Much About +1 Metrics?
+1 started as a new button displayed along with every search result. The way it primarily works till this day is that users can click it if they find a given result helpful.
Also, +1 buttons are now available for webmasters to use on their sites. Essentially, +1 buttons can be placed on every individual page of your affiliate site. Whenever someone clicks such a button they can automatically share this fact on their Google+ accounts, and of course, Google keeps the score carefully for every page that gets +1d.
To be honest, counting +1 as a ranking factor makes very good sense. If a significant number of users marked a certain page as being very helpful (by clicking +1) then why shouldn’t it be taken as a ranking factor? In the end, Google is all about presenting the most helpful results on the highest spots in the search results, so they should use any indication they can get their hands on. This is why +1 metrics fit perfectly into Google’s mission.
How to Display +1 Buttons on Your Site
This is a very easy thing to do if you’re using WordPress to run your site. In such a case you can simply choose one of many available plugins. Here, we’re going to describe two of them.
Note. Don’t install both plugins at the same time. Choose only one of them depending on the functionality you’re looking for.
Sharebar. This plugin gives you many more features than just a simple +1 button. As a matter of fact, you can use it to display almost every popular social media button (for Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Also, everything is presented as a cool vertical box to the left of a blog post. The box scrolls automatically along with the page, so the buttons are always visible.
Google +1 (Social Button). This is a very simple plugin for +1 buttons. Except for displaying the button, it also provides some basic settings that let you customize your button’s appearance and position.
You can still display a +1 button even if your site doesn’t run on WordPress. Just go to the official +1 button site at Google and get the button’s embed code. Then you’ll have to place it manually in your site’s HTML code and upload everything back via FTP.
Convincing Visitors to Click +1
The crucial part here is to convince people to click your +1 button. +1 buttons are like all other social media buttons – they look much better if there’s a big number displayed next to them.
Essentially, convincing people to click the +1 button works the same as for other buttons. You need to follow a handful of guidelines:
Show the button in a good spot. If you’re using the Sharebar plugin then you’ve got that covered. As we’ve mentioned, Sharebar displays a very nice box next to the content and scrolls it down with the page, so the buttons are always visible.
If you’re placing the button manually then make sure to use at least two copies of the same button. Place the first button somewhere near the top of the page, and the second one right after the main content block. This way, if someone finds your content valuable they can click the button right after they finish reading it, and additionally, even if they’ve managed to read just the headline.
Tell people to click it. Simply use a call to action. Mention the button somewhere near the end of your article/post. It’s been proven that people are much more likely to do something if you openly ask them to do it. Even a simple sentence like “don’t forget to +1 this page” can do the job very well.
Mention your content on your Google+ profile. Simply use the +1 button’s natural environment. Link to your content from your Google+ profile and if one of your friends enjoys what you’ve posted they can click +1 right inside Google+. Some of your friends will actually +1 everything you post automatically, so it’s a good way to get some initial traction (that way you don’t have to start with a blank counter next to your +1 button).
Can You Get the #1 Spot in Google due to Your +1 Votes?
Probably not. No one actually knows what the exact power of +1 is, but we can only imagine that it will continue to become more and more important.
If the +1 project turns into a real success for Google they will surely make +1 metrics one of the main ranking factors. That is until people find a way to go around it, which will inevitably happen. The black hat world never sleeps.
What’s your opinion on Google+ and their +1 buttons? Do you think that Google+ is here to stay or will it be forgotten like many other social media platforms?