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Google’s New +1 Button: SEO Friend or Frenemy?

These days, the race for the #1 spot on Google is tougher than the Tour de France. I’ve blogged in the past about the dangers of approaching SEO with the expectation of being #1, but that doesn’t mean companies aren’t any less hungry for a decent ranking.

Enter Google’s new +1 button. Basically, it’s Google’s response to a “like” button on Facebook. Not only does it allow sharing between friends (think StumbleUpon or Digg), it can also boost your site’s position in the search engine’s results.

Slow your horses. Google’s +1 may seem like a free ride to the top, but before you call in the cavalry, here are some facts about what it actually does.

When clicked?

A website visitor can click the +1 button so that your website URL then appears on the +1 tab of the user’s profile on Google.

Where do the +1’s go?

People who are connected to an individual’s Google account will see his or her +1’s. Similarly, when logged in, you can view a certain page’s number of +1’s.

In terms of search results?

Google has announced that the button will influence search rankings – the number of +1 clicks and the person who clicks it might be influential factors. The number of +1 clicks can also influence the ranking of an AdWords ad.

What about the inevitable spammers?

Google has said they will perform tests on the +1 button before it has any major influence on search result rankings.

So, while the +1 button is a good way for visitors to promote their favorite websites and articles, it doesn’t yet have a strong direct result on boosting a site’s ranking.

If you want to learn how to best utilize Google’s many add-ons in B2C marketing, you can sign up for HubSpot’s webinar on “How to Promote Your Products on Google.”