If search engine optimization is crucial to your business in terms of visibility and sales leads, then this is something to watch out for. Wired recently reported that Google is now looking into how to use data from its +1 button to rearrange search results.
This news comes hot on the heels of the recent revelation that you can now share content on Google+ directly through the +1 button on a website. This means that if I read an article on New York Times that I like and click on the +1 button, I can now share it on my Google+ Stream through the NYT webpage.
The Internet giant confirmed its latest plan via email: “Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results. The purpose of any ranking signal is to improve overall search quality. For +1’s and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality.”
Should the plan be carried out, how far up your company website appears on Google would perhaps depend on the number of +1s you’ve garnered. However, the spokesperson also qualified that the +1 button would be one of over 200 signals used to determine site rankings. Of course, it’s a given that some signals are more significant than others, so it’s still unknown how influential the +1 button will be.
Google would face many tripwires when trying to implement this, the Wired article noted. Factoring social data in search opens the doors for more blackhat operators to manipulate search results in their favor, resulting in unsavory spam content appearing on search pages.
More trouble could come from anti-monopoly legislation, which means courts could potentially view the implementation as an attempt to unfairly use Google’s search prowess to gain an advantage over Facebook in the social network wars.
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