Google has been determining whether a site is good or not through various ways over the past few years including analysing the speed of the site, bounce rates, duplicate content and error rates. The latest project coming from the Google camp to ensure that they produce good quality search results is the Google + project, whereby a +1 button is added to their algorithm.
So what exactly does the +1 button mean and more importantly, what affect will it have for practice’s websites? According to Google, the +1 button is shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool’ or ‘you should check this out’. Essentially it’s a public recommendation of a website, advert or particular article showing strong resemblances to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button.
Once you have +1’d a site, if you are signed into your Google account, this recommendation will be shared with your friends. For example, if you +1’d a dental practice’s website your friend will be able to see this and will be more likely to view the website and visit that dentist, so it’s very similar to word of mouth recommendations, just through Google.
+1’ing is a public action allowing everyone to see that recommendation, so if you are connected to a person through your Google account your name will appear beside the recommendation. However, if you’re not connected you’ll simply be one of a number of anonymous people that has recommended the site. The idea is that if you see that one of your friend’s or a significant number of anonymous people have +1’d the site, it is likely to be good quality content and therefore will make you more likely to click on it, thus increasing click through rates.
Once you’ve +1’d a site it will be added to your +1 tab in your Google profile compiling a list of your favourite sites similar to bookmarking which can be made public if you choose to.
It is possible to monitor this activity from a business point of view, to see how many people are +1’ing your site and break this information down into anonymous age, gender and location information, in order to find out if you are targeting the people that you want to with your site.
+1 is a new concept brought to us from Google which is set to change the ways in which dental practices rank in the search engine; we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one and act accordingly to make sure that our client’s sites are fully optimised.