Google Plus One and Rankings

It’s confirmed. Google Plus One will influence ranking signals on Google’s search results and we think it’s a great idea in theory, but are slightly worried about manipulation. Google’s recent response to Wired with regards to it’s Google +1 button and it’s influence on SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages):

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.

Social signals are a lot tougher to interpret, Google and other search engines need to decipher a way to measure the quality of social media in order to pass a ranking signal through to them. How will they decide whether the website is ethical? There could always be a fairly outrageous website with a bitter following that forges up the rankings due to it’s social media ‘SEO power’ – so this needs to be carefully thought out before simply allowing social media to command a lot of ranking power.

Google Plus One Abuse and Manipulation, Big Worry.

Most of our clients and people that we speak too all will say the same thing, what about abuse and manipulation of the Plus One Button? We’ve seen a real surge of websites offering Plus One’s for a small fee, in some cases up to 20,000 plus ones. Even though we are fairly confident Google will be able to work out unsavoury Plus Ones, this won’t be the case immediately and spammers will find a way to manipulate it somehow – just think about the problems Google had back in 2000 when you could buy links and your website would shoot to number one in just a few days.

We are sure there will be teething issues and the biggest question posed initially is what will the immediate impact be on sites that do manipulate the Plus One button? We have seen stories of dramatic ranking increments after Plus Ones have been deployed and even tangible evidence of it working. Having said this, in the same breath there are sites that haven’t moved a ranking at all and even some sites have had an adverse effect – the next few months really will be a tell-tale and with Christmas fast approaching, this definitely needs to be thought about.

C’mon Google, your move!


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