Today Google announced Google+, their latest attempt to jump on the social bandwagon. Although Google was very careful not to use the word “social” on either their announcement or the Google+ landing page, instead they prefer the term “real-life sharing”. So will Google+ and +1 have any affect on SEO? You bet your ass it will.
The combination of search and social
Previously SEO and social media lived fairly separate lives. Unless your content goes viral then the only social media bump in traffic you might get is the occasional click-through from a “like” on Facebook or a shared tweet. Now that all changes. Google can now inject pages into search results based upon what your friends have +1’d, tweeted or shared. This essentially breaks down the barrier between what people are searching for and what people are sharing.
The question that remains is how much weight will Google give these social recommendations in search results? Will a result that would normally show up on the third page of results show up on the first page with a few +1s? Will more recent recommendations have more weight than older ones? Will recommendations from members of your Google circles carry more weight than from people you follow on Twitter? Time will tell.
There’s currently a battle going on for the king of check-in services and Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook and now Google+ have all thrown their hats into the ring. Google+ will allow you to add your location to any post. While this hasn’t necessarily caught on with Facebook, Google has potential advantages. Google already has Android and it’s location based apps Latitude and Google Maps and Google is also currently testing Google Offers which gives out daily deals to local businesses.
If your business has a physical location there’s a good chance your customers have seen it listed on Google and now with Google+ there’s an even better chance. Check-ins are great for getting visibility from locals and can drive traffic to your site.
What you can do now
Google+ is currently invite-only so we’ll see if they offer any sort of tools for integration with developers. Until then we have seen that Google+ integrates with +1 so consider putting a +1 button on your website. Also if it applies to your business make sure that you claim your listing in Google Places and update your listing with the information you want, that way if someone looks up your business or checks-in at your location you can be sure they are seeing the information that you want them to see.
Google+ and +1 may not send thousands of visitors to your site but instead will send very targeted visitors and sometimes quality > quantity.