Google launched Google +1: a button Google +1 Button Not-Clicked  that appears next to entries on the Google search results pages which, when you click it Google +1 Button Clicking, adds your vote to that particular entry as a sort of "thumbs up" image.

Google search results with +1 button

HOW DOES GOOGLE +1 WORK?

When you +1 something ..

  • the recommendation shows on a new tab in your Google Profile. This tab can be made private " it's content can not:
    Google +1 Tab on Google Profiles
  • the recommendation may show anonymously in search results and elsewhere as part of aggregated data:

    Google +1 aggregated data

  • the recommendation may show to your (Google) friends and contacts with your Google Profile picture and name:

    Google +1 button data in SERP

  • the recommendation may show with a Google Adwords advertisement if you +1-ed a Google Ad.

HOW DO I GET +1?

You can enable Google +1 on the Google Experimental Labs page.

Other people will soon see it too. The feature is being rolled out slowly but steadily, first to people who have a Google Profile and are signed it but later on also to those who aren't signed in, much like how personalized search results nowadays appear to all users whether signed in or not.

WHAT CAN I +1 ?

Right now you can:

  • +1 entries on a  Google search results page
  • +1 Google Adwords ads
    Google +1 on advertisement

In the future you can:

  • +1 a website or a page on a website using a +1 button on that site or page

DO +1's INFLUENCE GOOGLE RANKING?

Officially, no (not yet).

Will they?

Most likely.

In this, the first phase, Google will collect lots of data to help fine tune their data analysis.

In the second phase Google will increase the amount or personalization of search results; reordering (re-ranking) search results based on the user and their network of (Google) contacts.

Finally in the third phase Google will incorporate plus one as one of the ranking signals. Google states it already uses over 200 ranking signals, or factors, and as with most of those, plus one will be a signal that can be counted or discounted heavily or moderately depending on the values of the other 200 signals.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

While Google has done several of these experiments and abandoned some of them, this could be the Big One.

Whether it is or will be is not really an issue: the implication of a Google plus one button underscores that what is increasingly important " "mission critical" in business speak " is to overdeliver.

As social networks start to merge with the rest of the web, from +1 on search results to number of times a page has been liked with a Facebook button, the possibility to just promise (by ranking your pages' content in search results) without delivering (by making people really happy and impressed) is disappearing.

In other words: the "cost saving" option to fake it is basically off the table. You have to make your content work for you.

The good news is that you're getting in at the ground level. There are no winner-takes-all's yet. Put out exceptional content; build relations and communities; underpromise and overdeliver.

Highlights
  • Google's +1 button is a public way to show a site is recommended by people you do or do not know
  • The button will soon be available to all Google users
  • Plus One's will eventually (sooner rather than later) influence ranking and re-ranking of search results
  • The appearance and integration of social signals on the web make investing in quality content increasingly cost-effective