By Amanda Patterson
Theres been a lot of talk lately about the implications of social media on the world of search. When Bing introduced its Facebook like results, many wondered ifand whenGoogle would respond.
Google has. A few weeks ago Google introduced +1, a feature that allows you to make recommendations to your friends much like you would on Facebook for products and services served up in search results. Google +1 is the search engines answer to Facebooks like button. But will consumers like it as much?
Google +1 and Search Rankings
Currently, Google +1 is not a ranking signal. Certain organic results can be promoted higher on a page based on personalized recommendations, but only if a user is logged in. Similar to Googles Social Search, which ranks articles and items your friends have liked or tweeted higher on the page if youre logged in, Google +1 is based on personalized settings.
You have to be logged in with a Google profile, so it can serve up results based on your personal and social connections. Googles theory is that results are made even more relevant when promoted or shared by your social network. Thus, search results are improved by recommendations.
Below is a screen shot that shows an example of the +1 button (to the right search result title), and Googles Social Search results (below the listing).
Google +1 and Paid Ads
Just as you can like an ad on Facebook, you can +1 an ad on Google. Clicking on a +1 does not count as a click, however. All ads will be getting this button added, and there is currently no way to turn them off. Heres an example.
+1 and Websites
According to Google, in a matter of months companies will be able to add +1 buttons to their websites, along with the current like, share and tweet buttons already available. So, is this a plus or a minus for your self-storage business?
Google isnt a true, enclosed social network, and doesnt operate as one, but the attempt to integrate social recommendations with search results is a fascinating oneespecially in the self-storage industry where recommendations can play a crucial role in the decision-making process.
Recommendations and referrals are a critical component to success in this industry, and it seems that with every new Google initiative and feature they become even more critical. Self-storage operators need to deliver the experience youre promising, inspiring tenants to refer, like, tweet, follow and, now, plus-one you. If youre inspiring that kind of devotion to your brand, these types of changes should be exciting because they present new avenues for your happy tenants to spread the word, which translates directly to your bottom line.
With 10 years experience in marketing and advertising, Amanda Patterson manages the public relations, social and communications strategy for G5, a provider of vertical-specific local marketing solutions that help self-storage properties get found online, generate more qualified leads, convert more leads into new tenants, track marketing performance including offline, and optimize the marketing sources with the best return on investment.