Facebook may have once cornered the user review market, but those days are now over. On March 30th, Google announced its rival product to the Facebook ‘Like’ button, the ‘+ 1’ button, which allows users to indicate their likes in the search engine results pages.
The search engine company noted that the new feature is meant as an extension of its general social media plan, which has seen the incorporation of social media and personalised results into users’ searches. The company is now taking that one step further, allowing users to recommend pages to people they know by clicking ‘+ 1′. This means users looking for a good restaurant locally in Liverpool can access friends’ recommendations.
In taking Facebook on, the search engine might well have found the right angle. Google’s attempts to incorporate social into search have got off to a slow start. The ability to communicate, after a fashion, within the searches of people you know may be what is needed to make Google a social force.
In terms of search engine optimisation, the development is both good and bad news. The good news is that a business may be able to control these likings, at least for a short time. Google will no doubt work out any loopholes that allow site owners to take advantage. The bad news is that this system puts even more emphasis on the individual user, meaning a site owner needs to concentrate on very specific user groups when planning for website optimisation, something that makes SEO jobs just a little more complicated.