Google’s Matt Cutts has confirmed that activity on the ‘+ 1′ button will be taken into account in calculating rankings. This confirmation follows up Cutts’ earlier statement that the button was intended to ‘improve user interface immediately,’ and yet another indication of the growing influence of social aspects on mainstream search.
Cutts’ re-confirmation came on May 25, during a rare YouTube live chat that took a number of SEO experts by surprise. The live chat enabled SEOs from Chester to Chicago to access the Google guru. During the chat, Cutts stated that the ‘+ 1’ button had a lot of potential, and is something the search engine is already paying attention to.
Cutts also stated that Google is unlikely to feature any ‘number of times blocked’ section in its Webmaster tools. The blocking feature, which allows users to eliminate nominated sites from their search results, is of obvious interest to site owners, and the denial of direct data on user behaviour will come as a harsh blow to many site owners. As it is believed that Google will be relying on the blocking data for rankings, block detection methods are likely to be the focus of many future SEO careers. The question is could this functionality be abused?
The introduction of these like and dislike methods within search results has yet to have a major impact on many search engine optimisation plans, but has caused quite a stir of interest. In putting further power into the hands of its users, Google is making a definite acknowledgement of the changing nature of the net and the rising power of sociability.