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What Does Google’s Plus 1 Mean For Australian Business?

Firstly, what is Google’s +1 button?

Google’s +1 button has been touted as the search giants answer to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and while there is likely to be some discussion on whether it is or isn’t a copy of the social media kingpins ‘Like’ button the main point of concern for Australian businesses is – how does it affect us?

We know that the ‘Like’ button on Facebook is an endorsement from a Facebook user, which is in effect a digital form of word of mouth for businesses. The ‘like’ button allows Facebook to build a profile of each of the 9.5 million users in Australia and the hundreds of millions of others around the globe.

Google is all about delivering better search results, so it needs to tap into that same profiling of users if it is to deliver more targeted search results to Google searchers – it makes sense to use an equivalent form of personal endorsement. Whether the +1 button takes off remains to be seen – the most notable drawback is the requirement of setting up a profile in Google, which may put people off, at least initially.

The +1 button is currently being trialed in the US and will display in Google search results and third party sites – much the same as the Facebook ‘Like’ button and Twitter’s Retweet button appears on articles on news sites.

When logged into your Profile, you will be able to see who amongst your connections has +1’d an article, a product, a search result etc. All +1’s display publicly but your profile will only display publicly if you choose to do so – privacy can be adjusted in profile settings.

How will Google’s +1 button impact on Australian businesses?

Google’s +1 button is a huge initiative from the search giant to profile users and deliver better search results and our guess is it’s most likely here to stay. It will impact on Australian businesses and like any new web initiative that stands the test of time, those who adapt and embrace the +1 button quickest, will tend to enjoy the greatest success.

The +1 button will influence Click Through Rates

The +1 button will probably impact significantly on click through rate (CTR) of both paid and organic search results.  Consumers and even business-to-business oriented web users will be motivated to click on a Google listing that has the recommendation of one of their colleagues or personal contacts. This isn’t always going to be the case but when it comes to fashion, trends and the latest technologies we all know consumers tend to driven by what’s popular and keeping up with the Jones’ – if consumers see large numbers of contacts +1ing products and services there will be a knock-on effect.

There will be an increasing need to ensure AdWords copy, title tags and meta descriptions for landing pages are enticing for web searchers. You may be competing with a business that has been +1’d thousands of times, so what you say in those small snippets of text could be crucial to securing traffic.

Be Objective About What Customer Expectations Your Business Meets

The +1 button will place an onus on businesses to be more honest and objective about their points of difference. If you claim to offer ‘luxury accommodation’ and are not getting the +1 endorsement that your competitor gets, then you may need to change the focus of your marketing campaign to something like ‘value for money accommodation’. The scope and diversity of how +1 is set to impact Australian businesses is potentially huge, it may take a while to show its full impact but there’s no doubt that customers and web searchers are far more likely to +1 something if their expectations have been met.

Get Proactive with Google’s +1 button

We suggest getting proactive with the +1 button early. If it’s really here to stay, it will pay off. Offering incentives to customers who interact in a positive way with your business online is a worthwhile effort. If customers +1 your business or products, ‘Like’ your business on Facebook and provide reviews through Google Places, it will have a positive effect on the visibility and strength of your online business profile.

To give your business the best chance of making Google’s +1 button a positive change, call roi.com.au today on 1300 650 274 for help on devising a search engine optimisation marketing campaign that best fits your business.

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