If you run your own website, you've probably thought about adding Google's social sharing button to your website, but you might be wondering what the benefits of doing so might be. The search engine optimisation benefits of social networks have been speculated by SEOers and developers for some time, but this article outlines a few of the benefits of implementing the Google+1 Button on your website or blog, and how it can help your website's search engine rankings in Google's new personalised search results.
Google's Plus One Button
Google+, the relatively new social network developed by Google, is much like other social networks in that it allows users to post statuses, links, and other content to each other in an efficient and easy way. It also allows users to "recommend" websites to one another, which is where the Google+1 Button comes into play.
When users visit your website and read your articles, or even just see your posts on the Google+ network, they sometimes have the option of clicking Google's Plus One button. This button offers the ability for these visitors to share and promote content and websites that they find interesting or noteworthy to their friends and followers on the network. This is very similar to the Facebook Like button (both can be found on this page), except Google have started to integrate the statistics generated by this button into their search engine results and allegedly into their search algorithm.
Google's Personalised Search Results
Each click of a Google+1 Button on your website or a link on Google+ will create a social "vote" for that page, which means that the webpage contains interesting information that the user's friends may enjoy. Google have used this voting system to help generate more relevant search results for searchers, by showing them what websites relating to their search terms have been +1'd by their friends, effectively showing them results that Google believes they would personally find more useful than the results from Google's usual algorithm.
Personalised Search Results and SEO
So we understand that Google search results can now include social sharing information near our results, but how exactly can we use this to help optimise our website for search engines?
Adding a simple Google+1 Button to your website not only gives you a brand new source of traffic to your website by allowing people to easily share your website's URL with friends, but can also allow you to bypass the Google algorithm in some cases. Links get naturally promoted higher to some searchers when their friends have recommended your website, which means by generating more +1's on your website, you may be automatically increasing the social ranking of your website in the Personalised Search. This could negate or at least lessen the need for website owners to spend excess amounts of money on expensive SEO services to push results higher and higher in the search results.
Some SEO analysts have even speculated that Google's main search algorithm may be affected, in that the overall ranking of websites will be influenced by the amount of +1's (and Likes, Tweets, etc) they have, instead of using this data only for the personalised search results. This may change the business of SEO as we know it, seemingly for the better, as it lets users choose what content gets ranked higher.
Writing Content For Social Sharing
You should start thinking about who exactly uses your website and who reads your blogs, focusing on not only which visitors might enjoy the content, but also which of them will want to +1 your content and share it with friends. Thinking into this will allow you to write content accordingly, in a way that is might be more "shareable".
A few ways of generating socially shareable content is by "dumbing down" some articles to make them more relevant and readable by people who aren't necessarily experts in your field, as well as trying to write more timely articles focusing on trends, public issues and current news, so people will be more likely to visit your website when seeing it's title recommended on their friend's Google+ page.
Long story short, we definitely recommend you consider adding social networking buttons such as the Google Plus button to your website, especially now that the Google Personalised Search results now contain references to the page's +1 statistics, but be sure you make the most of it by tailoring your content in a way that makes it easy to share amongst your visitors' social circles.