Google has been trying to make a significant impact on the social space for quite some time. Facebook, Twitter and Yelp are beating them on social reviews and they are trying to use their dominance as a search business to get people to be interactive with their results. With the exception of Gmail, Google has failed in most of their initiatives outside of search, but if Google+ (Google Plus) takes off, it will have a profound impact on search engines ranking factors and your online reputation.
To start, let me give you a brief description of what is is. Google+ allows anyone with a Google account to “Vote” on a website, particularly a search result. If you vote on a website when a search result is displayed in Google, then it tells Google that a person actually liked a particular website. To compare it to current search engine algorithms, this vote would serve the same ranking factor as what an inbound link from another website would do. You like it, so Google wants to like it. If lots of people like it and vote on it, then Google will really like it.
If this works, it is very possible that Pagerank (Google’s search engine ranking scoring system) will be profoundly impacted by these votes (inbound links) from a person.
So why am I telling you this, and why does it matter to your online reputation?
Your reputation is impacted 95% of the time by what appears in search results. Current user search patterns still point to going to Google first. What appears in Google about you or your brand has the biggest impact to your reputation. So when search engine ranking factors change, it is something you need to know and something you need to worry about.
If there is a negative result, and someone (ie, a competitor or an ex employee) had enough energy, they could get their friends to vote up negative results, which would then be highly visible to anyone searching for your brand. Just like review sites, you need to take proactive steps in order to protect these negative search results from being manipulated by people.
Here are several easy steps to be proactive about the new Google+ Plus rollout:
- Get out there and vote on all your sites. You can do this by logging into your Google account, search for your sites, then click “Plus 1″ sign. ->
- Email all of your friends! About 25% of the people you know have a Google account, get them to vote!
- Tell your customers. Make it easy for them to leave reviews and vote via Google. Send them an email or pass out physical post cards with direct links. Give them a coupon incentive for doing so.
- If you have a website or a blog, add the plusone button to it. Here is the link: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/ (We will be adding this to our blog shortly, stay tuned and vote for us!)
Subscribe to our blog via Facebook or Twitter and we will keep you updated as Google Plus one gets rolled out.