On March 28th, Google had a very quiet test launch for a social feature that could make a lot of noise in the SEO world. Test users (and soon to be everyone else) will now have the option to “+1” web content they come across. This will be linked to their Google Profiles Account (which they must have) and essentially give their vote of confidence that the content is legitimate and relevant to whatever they searched.
What Does It Mean?
This could potentially be a game changing social feature if Google considers this data a significant factor in their search algorithm. If users adopt the practice of letting the rest of us know if web content is legitimate, then it should negatively impact those attempting to game search engines. Adding the human element is a clever way single out link farms, content dumps and other SEO traps . If this works properly, Google will give a search boost to legitimate content producers, and web pages that are true to their search results.
Content Will Reign King
For now, it’s just another test project in the Google labs, but this experiment will potentially allow Google to speed up the process of removing digital garbage from search results. The way I see it is users will either +1 the content because they enjoyed it and think others would too, or +1 it because it was a very relevant item to the search they have performed. Content producers will have to step their game up, or risk getting buried by other content.
Who knows what will become of this little test, but I for one see the potential of truly harnessing the power of the crowd to sort and legitimize web content. As a business owner, and a legitimate content producer I love the prospect of a true crowd driven ranking. If you build it, they will come. Simple as that.