Google +1 For Publishers- Nine Tips For An Easy Win!

Google +1 logo

Google +1, in conjunction with Google Plus, presents an interesting opportunity for publishers.  Direct social integration isn’t something the Big G has tried before (outside of the recently-expired deal with Twitter to show real-time results on the SERPS), but they are giving us plenty of information on how to integrate +1 for some easy wins.  Here are the nine biggest takeaways:

1.  The value is in the annotation. The true value of +1 becomes evident after using it for a while with all of your connected accounts. It’s an easy, shorthand way to see what those you already trust- based on the fact that you’ve connected with them on other social services- think will help you. I make it a habit personally to +1 any helpful search results because hey, I must know what’s the most relevant result, right? Right!

2.  This is a high value, low effort strategy for SEO that incorporates social media too. Google has provided a wealth of information on +1, including all of the code you need to include to start tracking +1’s on your pages. +1 code is right here, it takes very little time to implement and quickly leverages the power of social media to promote your properties to those you’re connected to, and encourages them to share with their extended networks as well.

3. Make sure +1 is on the page too, because most users won’t click back to the SERP to +1 your page. It’s easy enough to +1  a link on the search engine results page, however, most Users will want to see if the site is useful first. To make sure they don’t have to backtrack to the SERP to +1 your page, ensure that all pages include their own +1 button.  This ensures your pages get all the credit they deserve!

4.  All +1’s, regardless of location- PPC ad, page, SERP- all count towards the same attribution. This will allow you to track User behavior- are they +1ing your PPC ads? Your pages? Posts? Directories? SERP listings? By attributing +1’s in different places to an associated URL, you get an aggregate over all of your channels.

5.  Use rel=canonical to make sure that the right page gets the credit. Perhaps you have a product that’s available in many colors and sizes.  This usually leads to a duplicate content problem, with the paginated pages containing the same content as the “base” page.  Make sure to use the rel=canonical attribute to tell search engines which page should get the juice if, for example, a User hits the +1 button on the 17th page of results served after a search.

6.  +1 has to be on public, crawlable URLs. Don’t bang your head on the wall if you implement +1 on a staging server and can’t see the results in tracking.  +1 only works on publicly available and crawlable pages.

7.  Set individual +1s on each article, and place buttons near the actual content you want shared. If you have multiple posts on a page, multiple products or reviews, or several areas of content on the page a User might want to share, make sure that you are placing the +1 button near the content you want shared- this ensures that the User knows what they are +1ing and that other Users aren’t mislead by their +1ing the “wrong” page.

8. Write copy on why to +1 as this helps people use it. Tell your Users why they should +1 your content! A compelling call to action will increase your POR (Plus One Rate- I just made that up! :) )

9.Don’t buy +1’s! But you can use them to “doorway” content. You are not allowed to buy or offer product in exchange for +1’s.  However, you can get creative- place half the article on the page, for example, and tie the User’s use of +1 to reveal the second half of the content, or have navigation that’s partially obscured until the User +1’s the page.  Be creative, here- there are lots of ways to encourage +1’s without breaking the TOS.

Enjoy! I have a long list of +1’s already and I look forward to adding it in the future.  I find the feature especially helpful when searching Google for an unfamiliar topic- it’s nice to see what my friends think will help, right on the SERP!

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