Google's +1 - Success hinges on paradigm shift as far as social interactions are concerned
Greenlight comment Adam Bunn, Director of SEO
Google has announced the launch of +1. The new feature allows searchers, i.e. only those who already have a public Google Profile, to personalise search results and advertisements and recommend web pages to friends. However, leading search marketing specialist and technology firm Greenlight, points out some immediate shortcomings if Google is hoping to conquer the social sphere in a bid to bolster further its dominance in the search space. In Greenlight's view, unless Google can instigate some kind of paradigm shift as far as online social interactions are concerned - allowing it to reposition as first to market, Google has little option other than to buy Twitter. Creating its own copycat is unlikely to succeed. In the case of online advertising, +1 has potential to increase click through rates (CTRs) and reduce advertising costs. From an online marketing perspective, Greenlight points out that the speed at which Search and Social are converging means there is an immediate need for specialist teams and search and social marketing technologies to help bridge the divide, keeping up with the rapid pace of change.
Google needs a major partnership or acquisition to make social proof work in search results
According to Greenlight, Google's latest social feature, similar to Facebook's 'like' button will only work for Google if it can manage to import data from Facebook, Twitter and kin, into the individuals Google Profile thereby making Google, the gatekeeper of social interactions. Greenlight points out that there is probably a need for this as there are too many points of interaction - SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, Messenger, etc. However, Facebook has made it fairly clear it is unlikely to allow Google to access data it holds.
According to Adam Bunn, Director of SEO at Greenlight, fundamentally, Google as a brand fails to capture the imagination of many, and is seen as functional rather than recreational... a bit too 'serious'. "Google can't afford to limp in with this +1 approach, given its track history with failing at social. However, were Google to buy Twitter that would perhaps make Google more exciting on the social front and +1 suddenly more disruptive. Greenlight will be interested to see just how this will fit into some wider strategy."
+1 impact on Paid Search
Many online retailers now have a star rating listed below them based on online reviews of that product or retailer. This was Google's first step into integrating user feedback into paid ads. Although findings are limited, some advertisers have seen CTRs along with ads that stand out more on page.
With +1, the ability for users to recommend paid search ads to their friends will potentially increase CTRs and thus lower overall advertiser costs. Currently, every user now sees different ads based on their search history whether they are signed in or not, but this is now a step further into personalising the ads a user sees.
Search and Social gathering pace
Search and Social is gathering pace. Marketers need to understand search strategies are increasingly social strategies and vice versa. As well as having pay per click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) in one shop, and teams with specialists in those respective disciplines, search and social marketing strategies and technologies themselves must evolve at a similar pace to bridge the divide.
Adam Bunnis Director of SEO at Greenlight where he is responsible for the strategic direction of firm’s SEO consultancy and link building products and services. Adam also oversees Greenlight’s internal SEO training programme, provides training for the likes of the IDM and is a regular speaker at industry events such as Search Engine Strategies.
Since joining Greenlight in 2006, Adam has trained, strategised and provided consultancy for numerous clients including American Express and Santander. In tandem, he has built a team of world class SEO Consultants and SEO Analysts, first in his capacity as Senior SEO Consultant, then as Head of SEO and now as SEO Director.
Greenlight is a leading independent, award winning search marketing specialist and technology firm, the largest of its kind in Europe and the fastest growing. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, New Look, Thomas Cook, Nespresso and ghd. Greenlight is a leader in the search marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future of search.
Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector, publishing widely read industry reports, original research, speaking at trade events, and delivering a highly respected search training programme in conjunction with the IDM. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York. www.greenlightsearch.com