Should Brands Focus on +1’s or Google+ Followers? Solving the Google+ Equation

A “+1” used to be a term heard only in reference to a wedding invitation, but Google+ changed all that. Now people can +1 pages, posts, or pictures posted to Google+. The +1 button used to be the only option to embed on a website, until Google rolled out the Google+ follow button and other badges to celebrate the platform’s 2nd birthday earlier this summer.

+1 Button vs. Google+ Follow Button

Both have its own advantages for brands since we know how important the Google+ platform is for marketers. The follow button is fairly new and many brand websites still contain only the +1 button. Brands should add the Google+ follow button to websites to encourage site visitors to follow your Google+ page.

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Adding the Google+ follow button will allow you to grow your audience on Google+ and foster long-term engagement.

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Long-Term Brand Value of Google+

When a Google+ user +1’s a webpage, that is a good thing. If someone +1’s your site or other content, then that person’s connections on Google+ will see that +1 in their search results, should they search your brand name. But If you ask a user to simply +1 your .com site and move on, you’re only getting that one +1. If you can convert the user to a G+ follower, you then have an opportunity to get +1’s from them on every brand owned piece of content you share to G+.

This is an engagement strategy that will pay off for a brand with SEO benefits as it relates to Circles. So add the follow button to your site, but you don’t need to remove the +1 button if you already have it – this is a recommendation straight from the source.

The +1 and Circle Search Impact

When users +1 your content, that engagement is surfaced in search results, which creates credibility in the mind of the searcher who sees those actions.  We can hypothesize that searchers are then more likely to click results which have +1s, driving more traffic to that result and, in turn, creating greater SEO.  Be aware though that more Google +1s do not directly impact higher Google web rankings. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, addressed this “myth” in a thread on Hacker News, which was in reply to a recent blog post from Moz.

Creating good content and sharing it on Google+ is the key to putting this information to work for your brand. Still craving more information on Google+? Check out our recent blog posts “Why Content Marketers Can’t Ignore Google+” and “4 Ways Google+ Can Help Enterprise Brands“.

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