Meet +1: Google’s Answer To The Facebook Like Button

Nearly a year after Facebook Like buttons spread out across the web, Google has announced its own rival, the +1 button. It launches today as part of Google’s search engine, allowing you to “+1″ the search results and ads that you like. And in a few months, it’ll be arriving at a web site near you.

Is +1 (pronounced “Plus One”) part of the new social network that Google’s long been rumored to be building? Or is +1 simply that “social layer” that Google has said would come and isn’t really meant as a rival to Facebook?


Come along — let’s see how it works now, where it might go, and we’ll get into the bigger picture stuff at the end.

+1 Your Favorite Google Search Results

Beginning today, a small percentage of Google search users on in the United States searching in English will now see a +1 button next to search listings, when they are logged in. An example of this is shown below:

Don’t see it? Don’t panic. Unlike the iPad 2, +1 buttons are in plentiful supply. Just visit Google Experimental, where you can select an option to force it to appear in your searches.

Click on the button, and it lights up all colorfully:

When you’re done, you’ve “+1′d” it, as Google says, to your social network. Arguably, it might be correct to say “+1d” rather than “+1′d” — but I’ll save the Grammar Girl ruling for another time.

You’re also given an option to undo your +1ing, and you’re reminded that you’ve shared your liking of the result publicly to your social network.

There’s that mention of your social network again! Which social network? Your +1 social network, which is different than your Google Social Search network, which is different again from your Facebook network, your Twitter network and so on.

Don’t worry. I’ll get back to all this.

+1 Results From Your Network In Search

When you do a search when logged into Google, any results that you’ve +1′d — or which have been +1′d by those in your network — will be enhanced:

In the example above, you can see how one of the results coming up in a search for “nintendo” has two names attached to it. Those are two people in the searcher’s network who have liked this particular listing, plus the searcher is told there are 16 others in their network who like it.

In addition, if a search result has gained a lot of +1s but not from people in your network, you’ll still be told the total without anyone being named. That way, you can get a sense of how popular the page might be generally with +1 users.

Improving Search Results With Recommendations

The idea makes a lot of sense. If you’re searching, it’s nice to see if there are any answers that are recommended by your friends. Indeed, it makes so much sense that Google’s already been kind of offering this already through Google Social Search for nearly two years. But now these explicit recommendations become part of that.

“The primary benefit is that search gets better. It gets better in the user interface immediately, and we’ll look at it as a potential signal to improve search quality as well. I find social search extremely useful, especially with the recent updates. This change continues the evolution of social search, and it’s a natural progression to improve the search experience,” said Matt Cutts, a Google engineer who is most known for leading Google’s search spam fighting team but who also helped launch Google Social Search in 2009.

I’ll get back to how this fits into Google Social Search further below, as well as Bing’s Facebook-powered rival to that. But for now, let’s press on with more about how the new +1 works.

+1 For AdWords

Aside from Google’s search listings, you can also favorite ads from Google AdWords that show up in search results. Just click on the +1 buttons that will now show up next to them:

As with regular search results, any +1 favoring you do will show next to those ads, if others in your social network see them. And any +1s that they do on ads will be displayed for you.

Some FAQ For Advertisers & Site Owners

At this point, I can hear some advertisers going “Whaaaaat?!” We’ll have some follow-up articles soon here on Search Engine Land that look at what advertisers think about these +1 buttons showing up next to their ads.

For its part, Google tells me that it thinks advertisers will love this, that in testing it has done, clickthrough rates on +1′d ads go up, and that the company feels it’s unlikely that people will accidentally hit the ad link (costing the advertiser money) rather than the +1 button. Some other facts from Google:

  • All ads will be getting these buttons
  • There’s no way for advertisers to turn them off
  • Clicks on the +1 button next to ads do NOT count as a paid ad click
  • Advertisers will be able to see stats about which ads are getting the most +1s

Non-advertisers feeling left out on the stat front? Hang in there. Google told me that “soon after launch,” anyone registered with Google Webmaster Central will be able to see +1 stats for their non-paid or “organic” search listings.

Coming Soon: +1 For Web Sites

So far, I’ve covered how the +1 buttons work in Google’s search results. At the moment, that’s the only place you’ll see them. But “coming soon” (Google tells me in months, rather than weeks), publishers will be able to put these buttons on their web pages.

Yes, that’s right. Soon you’ll be able to add Google +1 buttons to your collection, along with Facebook’s Like buttons and Twitter’s Tweet buttons.

Google wouldn’t say much about how +1 buttons will work on web sites. For instance, if you come to a web site while logged in at Google, will you see if others in your network have +1′d a page you’re on, in the way Facebook Like buttons work?

No answer. Google is, I was told, is more focused on how +1 integrates with search right now.

Google did say that if someone does a +1 on a web page, then that will show up to others who find that page in search results. That’s going to be a huge bribe, in my view, for getting wide adoption of these buttons on web sites.

Still can’t wait? There’s a sign-up page at Google, where you can request being notified when the button is available.

Postscript: Clearly, Google does intend to personalize content on other sites. You can see this in the sign-up box below, in the Getting Started section. But Tom Critchlow also spotted how the personalization page provides more about this:

This sounds very similar to how Facebook Instant Personalization works, for the select sites that Facebook partners with, as well as how more broadly, a Facebook Like button will draw personalized content about friends from Facebook into a third-party web site.

Getting Started With +1

Ready to start +1ing things? You’ll need a Google Profile, to start. Chances are, you have one already, though you might not have pimped it out. See our previous article below for more about that:

From your profile page, you’ll need to opt-in to +1:

As I said earlier, if you don’t have this option showing automatically, visit Google Experimental, where you can make it appear for you.

After you’re enrolled, you’ll be able to manage all your +1s on a special “tab” of your profile that only you can see (unless you chose to make it public):

Now Google’s redesign of profile pages earlier this month of profile pages makes sense, eh?

Your +1 Social Network…

Let’s talk about your +1 social network now. When you enable +1, it will be made up of:

  • People in your Gmail & Google Talk chat list
  • People in your “My Contacts” group in Google Contacts
  • People you follow in Google Reader or Google Buzz

What’s missing are people you are connected to via non-Google services, such as Twitter, Flickr or Quora. That’s something that will come in the future, Google says.

Indeed, we know that there are some “hidden” options that were added to Google Profiles recently, allowing you to connect those profiles to other social networking accounts. It could be that these will be enabled soon, as part of the +1 rollout.

Your Google Social Search Network

What’s confusing, perplexing or otherwise odd is that Google already allows you to create a social network that combines contacts from Google-based services (such as Google Buzz) with your networks from third-party sites like Twitter.

Google does this as part of its Google Social Search service. This combined network used to be called your “Social Circle” on Google, back when Google Social Search launched formally in January 2010 (it was an experiment before that). That launch also provided a way to view your social circle.

You can still view your social circle here on Google, but now these are called your “social connections.” I’m not sure when the name was changed, but I suspect it was dropped fairly recently, in the wake of a rumor earlier this month that Google was about to launch a “Google Circles” social network. Google’s help page still talks about your “social circle.”

All your social connections are used to help power Google Social Search results. But only your Google-based connections, right now, will power +1 matches within Social Search. Officially, Google says this is because it wants to start conservatively with +1, ramp up slowly and make sure everything works.

Google Social Search, Now With +1 Recommendations

It was just over a month ago that Google massively overhauled Google Social Search, which is a way that Google shows things that those in your social network have created or shared that are relevant to searches you do. In fact, we had a big giant article all about it:

Here’s an example of how Google Social Search works:

In that example, I did a search for “Corona del Mar bakery.” One of the pages that came up had been shared by someone I know and follow on Twitter, Amy Senk, so this was highlighted to me with a little “Amy Senk shared this on Twitter” message.

There were no buttons involved. Amy didn’t explicitly choose to recommend this page to others on her social network, via Google. Instead, Google Social Search saw she shared it through another network and used that, along with her connection to me, to highlight the page.

Now Google Social Search will gain +1 recommendations, content that people are explicitly recommending using Google’s +1 buttons. Google Social Search remains, but in addition to the first two items below, it now gains a third feature:

  1. Show content created by those in your social network
  2. Show content shared by those in your social network
  3. Show content recommended by those in your Google +1 network

Social search signals, including the new +1 recommendations, will also continue to influence the first two things below plus power the new, third option:

  1. Influence the ranking of results, causing you to see things others might not, based on your social connections
  2. Influence the look of results, showing names of those in your social network who created, shared or now recommend a link
  3. Influence the look of results, showing an aggregate number of +1s from all people, not just your social network, for some links

What Happens To Google Buzz?

Just over a year ago, Google launched Google Buzz, which initially looked to be Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare all wrapped into one. That is, it allowed for:

  • Foursquare-like “check-ins”
  • Facebook-like “newsfeed” of activity by friends
  • Quick Twitter-like “updates”

None of this really took off. For example, consider that since the beginning of the year until now, according to figures from Google Buzz that I track:

  • Mashable has gained about 100,000 Twitter followers versus about 100 Buzz followers
  • TechCrunch has gained about 100,000 Twitter followers versus about 90 Buzz followers
  • Robert Scoble has gained about 17,000 Twitter followers versus about 300 Buzz followers
  • Search Engine Land has gained about 8,000 Twitter followers versus 51 Buzz followers

I wouldn’t say Buzz is dead, but it certainly isn’t buzzing. Any Foursquare-like pretensions seems to have been off-loaded onto the on-going location battle between Google Latitude, Google Hotpot, Google Places and Google Maps. Google itself isn’t sure which will win there, or even if there will be one winner.

Buzz does continue to provide a way to issue updates and get them from your network. But it clearly has nowhere near the activity of either Twitter or Facebook.

I suspect Buzz will be allowed to sit doing not much of anything, as +1 starts to build around in and perhaps replace it. Certainly one of the first things to go will be the Buzz buttons that you occasionally spot on the web.

Using +1 buttons is far more compelling. Those promise to increase your site’s visibility in Google’s incredibly popular search results, rather than in the little used Google Buzz area.

Finally, there’s giant irony. Earlier today, Google agreed to have its privacy controls audited over the next 20 years, in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over privacy mistakes with the Google Buzz launch.

What About Google Me Or Emerald Sea?

Meanwhile, we’ve had rumor-after-rumor that Google is building a new social network beyond Google Buzz, one especially meant to challenge Facebook.

There was Google Me, said to be a full-blown Facebook challenger, in the middle of last year. By the end of the year, an internal product name of Emerald Sea started floating around. It was also rumored to be called +1. There was speculation that +1 would be the name of a new toolbar for the Google site — or a Chrome extension — or related to video conferencing.

Google’s standard response for about the past six months or so now has been to deny that it’s building a social network at all. Instead, the company has talked about adding social “layers” into everything at Google.

When I asked about the various past rumors, and how they relate to today’s launch, I got back a statement continuing the “layers” theme:

As we’ve already been saying, we’re committed to making the web more people-centric, and we’ve been gradually giving people new ways to share things and interact within our products. This is just another example of how we’re centering our products around the millions of people who use them every day.

Our focus is on improving our search results–to ensure we get the most relevant results to our users as quickly as possible. Relationships and recommendations are one way to help us achieve that goal–and this is what today’s announcement is all about.

Reading Between The Lines

Here’s the thing about Google’s claim that it’s not building a rival social network. When rumors started emerging about Google Checkout, Google made similar claims about how it wasn’t some type of PayPal rival. It was.

Google might have convinced itself it’s not building a social network, but +1 certainly seems to be a good start toward one. While it is beginning as a “layer” that’s part of search, those +1 buttons — when they hit the web — will put Google directly alongside Facebook in the “liking” game.

All the excitement that some had — and still have — about how Facebook’s Like buttons were going to give the company amazing insight about the web? Now Google’s on track to potentially get the same.

The New PageRank?

Google, of course, has already had more insight into the entire web than Facebook, even without having a Like button rival. That’s because despite the popularity of Facebook’s buttons, not every page on the web has Like buttons. There are tens of billions of web pages out there. The web is huge! Nor does everyone on the web push those buttons.

In contrast, Google’s toolbar data alone gives it insight into how much people “like” particular pages just by measuring time on site. It can also measure things like bounce rate from its search results to sites, and counting links to measure popularity still isn’t dead. These are just some of the tools Google has.

Still, recording explicit likes (or +1s,  or whatever) has value, especially in a time when the way Google has primarily relied on determining if a page is good — looking at links — has become very creaky. People continue buy links, spam links or not give links to sites that deserve them (Wikipedia takes, but none of its outbound links give back to deserving sites).

If links were like votes originally, then likes are also votes — but more trusted ones, especially when they are heavily used within someone’s specific social network (friends don’t generally spam friends).

In short, +1 becomes the new PageRank. OK, that’s kind of catchy, but more accurately, +1 recommendations can become an important new signal for Google to use as part of its overall ranking algorithm, during a time when it desperately needs new signals.

Calling For New Ranking Signals

By the way, the image just above was from my keynote talk at our recent SMX West search marketing conference, which covered the unprecedented changes we’re going through now, as search engines seek better ranking signals.

I’ll write up my keynote as an article in the near future, but you can watch the video of it below:

YouTube Preview Image

We’ll also be getting back to this topic during our SMX Advanced Seattle event on June 7 and 8, as part of our The New Periodic Table Of SEO session. So come on out (and book early if so, as tickets sold out a month prior to the event last year).

Facebook Versus Google

Beyond web page ranking, the new +1 button potentially allows Google to leverage search to build its own robust “social graph” or “view” of how people are connected to each other. Right now, Google can see some connections, such as people who tweet to each other. But +1 may allow Google to see more direct connections.

Google has been especially hobbled in that Facebook is unwilling to let people export their contacts directly to Google. Meanwhile, Google keeps saying that there’s something in Facebook’s terms and conditions that prevent it from using Facebook Connect to link to Facebook’s social data in the way that even tiny Blekko does.

That something, as best I can tell, is that Google doesn’t want Facebook to see inside its network, in the way that Facebook would like. But getting a straight answer from either company just doesn’t work. They remain at a standoff. The articles below have more about this:

+1 Won’t Kill Facebook

What’s +1 mean for Facebook? A very good chance that Facebook’s seeming monopoly on how people “like” pages will be over. Facebook’s Like buttons have a big bribe. Get liked and potentially get substantial traffic from Facebook. Speaking of which, here are some tips on that from us, below:

Google +1 has the same compelling bribe. Get +1s, and potentially get more search traffic from Google. Expect +1 buttons to go up right alongside Facebook buttons, all over the web. But +1 is unlikely to supplant Facebook, which is far more than just putting out Like buttons.

Facebook is a compelling destination that offers many reasons for people to stay with it, perhaps the most important being that everyone seems to be there already. Plenty of your friends are there, if you want to interact that way. And going to Google is hard, because not only doesn’t Facebook let you “export” those friends, but even if it did — the friends might not want to come over.

In the end, Google seems to be making a smart play. Rather than aiming head-on at Facebook, a tough battle, Google’s using its strongest product to cherry pick one of the things it’s probably most envious about Facebook having, recommendation data.

If +1 works, it will not only improve search quality. It might make search ads more engaging,  potentially improves Google’s contextual ads and eventually may turn into a core social product that can expand in new directions.

About That Name

Earlier this month, I joked that I wanted Google to launch a “PageRank This” button for web sites. The new +1 button is kind of like that, though it has been in development well before my joke.

But seriously, +1 as a name? I’ve already seen people question how to pronounce it. Worse, how do you search for it? Some are going to search for “Plus One” and not find it, unless Google adopts that alternative spelling.

As for “+1″ itself, you literally cannot search for that on Google. Seriously. Look:

Any search term that has a + symbol in front of it is a special command that tells Google to find pages that have that exact term. So the search above for +1 actually means a search for the number 1. If you want to find +1, you have to search for ++1. But that doesn’t work — Google ignores the extra + symbol.

Over on Google News, where there are tons of stories about the new service, you also won’t find them with a +1 search:

Instead, you have to search for “google +1” — which also works for regular Google search — to finally get results:

Over time, this might sort itself out. But it does feel pretty odd for a search engine to give its new search tool an unsearchable name.

Some Social Search Perspective

Google’s move today is just the latest in a long line of ways it has “socialized” its results. I’d highly recommend reading our articles below that cover other important social developments at Google. Some of them also give some perspective on how while social is useful, it alone is not a cure for improving bad results:

Meanwhile over at Bing, Facebook data has been used for months to reshape its results. It was a big leap for Bing. And yet, despite results being instantly socialized through Facebook Connect, so far there’s no indication that this feature is driving huge numbers of visitors to Bing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Bing got socialized, just as Google had done before it. But the nirvana of shiny high quality search results that some predicted Facebook data in particular and social data in general would bring hasn’t really arrived, I’d say. The articles below cover more about Bing’s efforts

Still, I am noticing when social results appear on both Google and Bing, an I am increasingly finding them helpful. It’s still very early days about how social data is being used. And that leads to another article with more background on this topic:

Finally, social search is perhaps best viewed as an important part of the increasingly personalized search results that both Google and Bing are delivering. The articles below cover more about this:

Postscript: See our follow-up stories:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Facebook | Features: Analysis | Features: General | Google: +1 | Google: SEO | Google: Social Search | Magazine | Microsoft: Bing SEO | Microsoft: Bing Social Search | Search Engines: Social Search Engines | Top News | Weekender


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • Blake Waddill

    I can definitely see how this makes sense for Google, but it also just seems like another spammable signal. Since it will likely have direct correlation on ranking, I don’t see why spammers won’t abuse this as much, if not more than building paid links.

    What can Google do to prevent this?

  • Cory

    Thanks for such an in-depth review of the new feature & how the are intertwined (or not) w/ everything Google has going on. Home run for you – just in time for baseball season.

    In regards to +1 abuse, do you think it’s going to take long at all for paid +1′ing and other spamming services to be running all over this? Do you think it will be effective? (for social, SEO or otherwise)


  • Michael Gray

    any idea why places don’t have +1 ability

  • VL

    It would seem Google’s confidence in user reputation has to be going up in order to keep this from being gamed too much…what do you think? I was also wondering about G Places not getting the +1 treatment, especially if it’s a Places result with a link to the actual website instead of the place page.

  • Brian

    if you +1 an ad, will that correspond to the same sites organic listing as well?

  • I.S.

    Blake hit it – such an easily spammed metric for a company that’s organized enough. There might even be black hat-style business in that. If the metric gets enough value from Google, how hard would it be for an SEO company to outsource a +1 campaign to a cheap labor country and pay 10 cents for every site a specific google profile +1s? Mark it up to the client and make a nice little difference.


    And yeah – why not places?

  • Scott

    Of course people will try to game +1. Just as people “game” the search results right now with links. I think +1 is a “game” changer though. OK, I’ll stop with that pun right now.

    Even my mother could click a +1 to “vote”

    Doesn’t that open up a huge new audience to get ranking signals from?

  • HR

    Google + 1 = Fail
    For two reasons…
    1) Do they expect me to return to the search results and +1 something after visiting a site? I don’t ever remember thinking \that was a fantastic meta description. I like this site already!\ The button, which was the only way that this would work will not be available for \months, rather than weeks\.
    2) Google Buzz did not work. I am not connected to my friends on Gmail. The only people I am connected to are my co-workers and clients, and sites that make you provide an email address to sign up for something.

    More thoughts…

  • valejo

    Button War—sadly not as fun as the Smart Phone War

  • Christina Sereti

    google +1 brings more relevant results at bing right now ;)

  • George Williams

    Excellent article Danny. Whether this works or not, Google already has the infrastructure in place to take a major share of the social Web in the future. This is another experiment that is just a tiny piece of a much more sophisticated long range plan. I think many of the analysts are missing the big picture. Think about where the real money is on the Web long term and watch what projects and organizations Google invests its time and money in. Combine the two together – to see the end game – one that will be fun to watch, and participate in :)

  • http://www.Match.ccom Simon Serrano

    someone needs to create a button aggregator … one click does a facebook like, tweet, +1, etc, etc, etc (…*submitting patent now*)

  • http://www.Match.ccom Simon Serrano

    @Black & I.S.

    Since Google controls +1, it’s probably easier for them to monitor and spot spikes and un-natural fluctuations in +1 clicks (ie. from same ip addresses, user names, regions, etc.).

    I don’t think it will be as easy to spam as links or other rankings signals that Google has no control over.

  • Paul Yokota

    At least this time Google is approaching social in a way that makes sense in terms of their overall business strategy, rather than unexciting “me too” applications like Buzz.

    It will be very interesting to see what kind of effects this will have on the SERPS. Will it just mean that the rich get richer, and greater obstacles for new sites? Only time will tell.

  • Alireza Sefati

    no matter how late Google is in the game, I think this will pick up because it is directly related to google search and everyone wants to do better.

  • Marcos Nobre

    Unfortunately I predict another bummer. The +1 button (named by robots) can get wide adoption among webmasters keen on SEO but who’s gonna click on them? You don’t get instant gratification from your friends or followers for sharing, just a bot will be feeded.

    Poor Google, a company run by lonely engineers and their robot friends, instead of sociable people…

  • James Norquay

    This is going to be a very interesting change for Google for any one who is a SEO/Social Specialist like myself this is a highly interesting change, yet we knew it was coming. Now the next step is utilizing this new signal to its full extent.

    I can see concern with spammers but I think Google is already ahead of people who think they can bombard 10,000 +1′s at once.

  • I.L.

    This is long overdue. Spammable? No. It should be very easy to filter the spam out. My Google account is 7 years old – I have gigibytes of emails and enormous search history that is location specific in Philadelphia and San Fran etc. Are you telling me that my plus one for a local dentist will be valued the same as some spam account set up in Bangalore yesterday? I seriously doubt it. Don’t forget – Google admits to knowing everything about us. They will certainly know what is a real plus one and what is spam. Of course I could go out and start buying Google accounts from people who have no use or need for them – kind of like buying up old domains with good backlinks…

  • Julio Fernandez

    Hi Danny, another great article, thanks.

    Question: You Nintendo DS image had “Josh, Tiffany and 16 other +1′d” the result.

    I was able to find the Nintendo result but I do not see any +1s. Take a look:

  • Jared Broker

    I wonder how much importance this will have in the Google algorithm as time goes on and it gets tested more.

    How long until the plus one exchange site opens!

  • Paul Carney

    Awesome and very-detailed write-up, Danny! This helps explain a lot of what Google is doing. Looking forward to watching this evolve.

  • Nadiia

    Please enlighten me.

    Clicking “like” is demonstration that I like a website/post. Facebook account shows that me as a personality finds interesting/supports an idea/etc.

    Clicking “+1″ is demonstration of what? That I like an article? But Google is about search, so by clicking +1, in my understanding, I show that this website as compared to other 9 displayed is of highest relevance to my search. WILL this website show up “+1′d” for people of my social circle who searched by other keywords? What would be the meaning of “+1′ing” a website, if ever the feature is up – will it affect all keywords a website is qualified for, the keywords a user found the website by, or overall website’s ranking?

  • Bob Bigellow


    I don’t believe +1 is indicative of the particular search result being “relevant”. In other words, if you search for FROG and +1 a result, I don’t think it cares that you searched for FROG at all. It only treats the +1 as a vote for that particular URL/Page, regardless of topic of search terms.

    The reason I think this is confusing for the normal user (for now) is because this is only step one of many steps to come. The only people who are realistically going to use +1 in its current state are early adopters (who will search for and +1 the home pages of the websites they frequent and like) and website owners who want to +1 their own sites or pages for potential SEO purposes.

    The next step in this roll-out will likely be some code that website owners can plug into their own websites (likely near the Facebook “Like” code) giving +1 more meaning to more typical users.

    The third step in this roll-out will likely be a Chrome Extension (and perhaps tools for other browsers as well) allowing users to +1 any page, whether or not that website owner added code or not.

    I am sure, over time, Google will also add this to their other properties, perhaps replacing any “like” functionality… Buzz… Hotpot… YouTube… etc… This will encourage more and more people to use it, as well as encourage more and more webmasters to add it to their website.

  • Danny Sullivan

    Blake, Cory, Scott and others on spamming issues…

    There are two major barriers to spam. First, as this is primarily to increase visibility of sites liked by your friends and followers, they are less likely to be spamming you than someone you don’t know. Second, it can be used in conjunction with other signals. A site with lots of +1s but few authoritative links? Something might be wrong there.

    It’s not an overriding signal but rather an additional one that works with existing signals. Having said that, all things do get gamed, and I’m sure if there are gaps in the armor, they’ll be found.

    Michael,, VL, yeah, that’s odd that place pages can’t be rated. Will see what I can find out.

    Brian, not sure if +1ing an ad goes to the organic. Will check. It does go the other way, Google says.

    HR, agreed, remains to be seen if people will use these much in search. They haven’t with other experiments. But other things may come to give more incentive. Plus, the past few weeks, Google’s been under pressure to let people block stuff they don’t like (which they added). So a message that if you want to bettter control your own results by favoring stuff — that might help, if it increases relevancy overall.

    Julio, that was an example post from Google. It wasn’t real.

    Nadia, yes, this will help put the sites you like in front of others in your social circle, both for the exact search and for related searches, done by your friends.

  • Kurt Krake

    To grow this out, Google Profiles need to grow. As of right now, I don’t see a way to create a profile other than for individuals. Clients this morning are already asking about business profiles. Its a good question.

  • Trond Lyngbø

    I like the idea, in time it might be perfect. Until then, Friend-Jacking, Like-Jacking, Like-Cheating, and so on and so on will be a target for all those SERP-hunters out there.

    Black Hat SEO Consultants will now get competition from “Like Building” and “naive” likers willing to click on everything that either has a cute kitten or a laughing baby assosiated with it can make this the new “Spam Engine”, or what?

    Any comments on how you think Big G will handle this, Danny?

  • Trond Lyngbø

    Also, I find it strange that they launch a service like this without having a clear strategy for how the onsite buttons and the ones in SERPs will work together. Depending on the intent and need in the given situation when a search engine user is clicking on a SERP-suggestion, the chances of people going back to the search engine and then click the +1 button will be very small. Also, several “passive” niches can get into trouble when the media gets hyped on this.

    Makes no logic to me, without the integration.
    Will it really bring more quality to the search results?

    I’m skeptical, but also excited above this.


  • Asif Anwar

    Hi Danny, greetings from Bangladesh!

    In a question “What is better than a search engine?” in Quora, I answered, “Ask you Your Friends”. Well, I think this is what Google is trying to achieve.

    Many people think it is about copying Facebook like. But, I don’t think so. Google it self is trying to be social and a hybrid recommendation engine, instead of traditional search engine. This will be be a treat to recommendation engine and social media like Yelp or FourSquare.

    One thing that is disturbing to me is “What About Minus One?” when you don’t like a site or had bad experience with the site and you also want to tell you friends about it. Many people are in the favor of dislike in Facebook. But, I guess with Google there will be mal-practices. I think if you badly dislike or had bad experience with a business/site, you should also Plus one the site. That way, you are doing your responsibility of letting your friends know you were there. and they should not make the same mistake.

    So, I don’t think this should be treated as a positive button. Rather this button should tell you that you know about this site. And Google also should play a role in clearing this up. Otherwise, the intention to be a hybrid recommendation engine would not be possible.

  • IrishWonder

    Perfect post Danny, thanks for the detailed insight, I don’t think anybody could have laid it out better.

    I don’t see Google +1 being a major ranking factor in general but rather a tool in the fight for the top maybe 5 spots – as to be +1d, a site already has to appear somewhere visible enough in the SERPs. Also Google profile +1 tab is a fail – use +1s extensively and after a while you won’t be able to remember any more why or in what SERPs you +1d any given site.

    This very page, BTW, is a perfect example of a social overkill already experienced even by such a social media savvy audience as the readers of SEL – 5 days after the post date and 2,941 tweets, 813 Facebook likes and not a single buzz.

  • Titus

    The prove that +1 Google Button is Stolen as well Copied concept.

  • Kohlben Vodden

    Hi Danny, thanks for writing this article. You introduced the new +1 feature and skilfully explained in content of digital marketing. I found your thoughts on Google +1 being the new page rank measurement particularly insightful. Keep up the great work.

  • Sha Menz

    Wow, hackers and spammers must be thinking christmas has come early this year! I suppose I should now expect to have my google profile hacked and suddenly be responsible for having +1′d all kinds of dodgy content. Clicking buttons all day is going to make life so much easier for all those former comment spammers! Just can’t wait.

    Why does Google keep creating problems for itself that it will just have to fix later? and whatever happened to “just create good quality unique content that is on topic, relevant and accessible”?

  • Joe Shaw


    I have been following the Google +1 for a few weeks and am so glad I was able to find out about it BEFORE it goes live. I can’t believe you’ve been all over this from DAY 1! That’s awesome!

    I didn’t see where you mentioned this, but for those who don’t know you can actually go join the Google +1 experiment. (just google that phrase to find it). So you can actually get started using the search version of it right now.

    Personally, I believe this is going to create some huge business opportunities for website owners who are able to stay abreast of the current changes. I think it’s going to put facebook’s LIKE button in the rear view mirror.

    For those that would like to read more about that check out

    One other stroke of genius is that you’ll have to have a Google account to make it all work… which should have an impact on Google’s ability to take over more of the ‘SOCIAL’ side of the internet.

    The only thing that surprises me is that Google didn’t do this sooner!

    Thanks for the amazing page! What an awesome resource site you’ve created here. You just gained 1 new follower!

    Best wishes to you!
    Joe Shaw

  • KenLe

    Check out this plugin, it have facebook like to download, google plus one too.

  • Rajim Shekh

    Hey Danny, this is awesome post buddy. you are boss. By the way, If I do not have more visitor on my website then how will I get more +1s? That means, who are already big they always be big? Is there any opportunity to buy google +1 from someone else? I am new in this sector. I hope, someone will reply me. Thank you again buddy.

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