Google has announced the release of its +1 button for websites, confirming rumors about the button's June 1 release date. Internet marketers can now add the button to their sites, potentially bringing social advocacy to content pages featured in Google's search results.
The +1 button can be added to websites with a simple code, allowing marketers to designate where it should be displayed and what size the button should be. While Google users could previously only +1 content directly on search engine results pages, the new button allows them to recommend content to their friends and other Google users as they read individual pages.
It works similarly to Facebook Likes and Tweet, serving as a social recommendation on a given content page. Google explains that it also has the unique benefit of advocating content on search results pages at the precise moment when consumers are deciding where to click. “The next time your connections search, they could see your +1's directly in their search results, helping them find your recommendations when they're most useful,” Google says.
The +1 button speaks to the increasing importance of social currency in directing web traffic. Bing has been getting a lot of attention from consumers who appreciate the Like data featured on results pages, and now Google can play the social search game with +1s.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the +1 data will develop the legs of Facebook and Tweet info. The current outlook is bright: At press time, an article on TechCrunch about the +1 button has received 825 +1's to 482 tweets and just 34 Likes. (Of course, the content of the article may be influencing the social advocacy method chosen by readers.)
At the same time, searching for “TechCrunch Google +1″ returns the TechCrunch article in both web and News results without any +1 data shared. Perhaps anonymous data is only displayed on pages, and Google connections must +1 content in order for advocacy to be visible on SERPs.
Although only time will tell whether “+1″ will turn into a verb in American internet speak a la “Like” or “tweet,” marketers might want to integrate the social plugin into their sites and judge the impact for themselves. Plus, integrating now might give brands an edge in SEO – Search Engine Land reports that Matt Cutts has indicated +1 could become a ranking signal.