Just over two months ago Google announced their Google +1 Button, and yesterday they expanded on the offering by releasing the Google +1 Button for Websites. Having been signed up for the Google +1 service for a few weeks now, I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences using it so far. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found it to be that helpful.
Does Google +1 Even Work?
For starters, my understanding was that Google was going to roll out Google +1 data in their paid and organic search results in order to help get "Recommendations when you want them," as advertised on the Google +1 product page. Take a look at this screenshot:
But what I’m seeing is that:
- The +1 data doesn't get updated very often. 1,401 people have +1'd Facebook and it's been stuck at that number for nearly a month now. Really? Only 1,401 people in the whole world have +1’d Facebook (they have something like 500 million users). Even when I click the +1 button, the number doesn’t increment up the way that the Tweet, Digg or Linked-In buttons do. It just feels broken.
- Very few Google SERPs or sponsored ads show +1 data. I did searches on the top 100 websites and almost none of them listed any Google +1 information in the search listings. I started searching on various popular searches and topics and found that it's generally pretty hard to find any listings that display any Google +1 information.
Jumping on the Google +1 Bandwagon
Here at WordStream, we’ll probably have to jump on the Google +1 Button bandwagon and add that new button to an increasingly crowded list of social media buttons on our blog. Heck why not, we used to even have a Google Buzz button if you can believe that. But I feel I’m mostly doing it because Google is bribing me by leading me to believe that this will somehow impact our SEO and PPC campaigns, and not as much because I’m excited about any particular features of the service. I just feel so dirty.
Why Google Gets Social Wrong
I spoke to my colleague, the wonderful Ms. Elisa Gabbert about her thoughts on the overall utility of Google + 1. She said that she kind of feels sorry for Google. It feels like a top-down vs. a bottom-up thing – what Google succeeds at, like search, they achieve by starting with techy people and it filters down. But for social stuff it seems like you have to start with young people, which Facebook did by launching their services initially in colleges, and Google doesn’t seem to be very good at targeting young people.
Will Google +1 Get More Exciting?
I recently saw screenshots of some new Google +1 features being worked on. They looked like more Google Webmaster Tools – for example, you will be able to see how many people +1’d different pages on your website, etc. It still feels more data-oriented than social-oriented. I’m not sure how these kinds of features are going to resonate with your average Web surfers.
What Are Your Thoughts about Google +1?
Are you currently using it? Will you be adding the Google +1 Button to your website? Have you been seeing Google +1 recommended paid/organic search results? Write your thoughts in the comments below.