In an e-mail to Wired magazine Google has confirmed that the number of +1 clicks received by a website will affect its position in the organic search results. In essence +1 click will serve as a “crowd sourcing” tool allowing “eyes on the site” to have an impact on the rankings. What you need to know and do…

What is Google’s +1 button?

In some ways Google’s +1 button is similar to Facebook’s Like button. The +1 button is displayed on Google’s search result pages and it can be added to websites. There are several WordPress Plugin’s that make it very easy to add Google’s +1 button to WordPress sites. You or your webmaster can also easily add it to you non WordPress pages.

Once the +1 button is in place your visitors can click the +1 button showing Google that they like the webpage. Essentially Google sees these +1 clicks as an endorsement of the webpage and pages that receive the most endorsements will show higher in the rankings.

Can your competitors game the +1 system?

Services are already available the offer +1 click packages. People can pay a certain amount of money and the service will increase the number of +1 clicks on your web pages.

The good news it is very unlikely that these clicks will increase the position of a web page in Google’s search results:

  • In order to click the +1 button you need a Google account. Google knows who’s clicking and they also know which other buttons are clicked by that person.
  • These services usually use the same accounts and/or create new Google accounts for the clicks. It’s relatively easy for Google to detect artificial clicks and accounts.

It’s the quality of the +1 clicks that matters, not the quantity. If you buy +1 clicks for your website, it is likely that Google will find it out. If your competitors buy click it’s unlikely they will gain in the search rankings as a result.

What does this mean for your website?

+1 clicks are a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and you should add the Google +1 button to your web pages. Many websites don’t use the button yet so you will have an advantage if you add the button now.

The +1 button is only 1 of many factors Google considers when creating the ranking order but it you should not ignore, and one that you might be able to use to gain a competitive advantage if you get started with it now.