You probably have one of two responses to the title of this post: “Huh?” or “I’ve seen those around. Why should I add a +1 button, and how do I do it?”
No need to worry if you’re in the first camp. A brief explanation is in order. First of all, the Google +1 button is different from Google+, which unless you’ve been living under the same rock as those guys from the GEICO commercial, you’ve at least heard inklings of. They’re different, but they are related, and I’ll explain how in a bit.
The +1 button, which you can see on the right side of my site next to the Tweet button, is basically a way Google has created for you to publicly like and endorse something you see on the web. You can think of it as being similar to a Facebook “like” button, but it doesn’t work the same way. When you +1 something, whether an entire website or something particular on it like a page or an image, you don’t automatically receive updates from that site like you would in your Facebook news feed after “liking” something.
The purpose of the +1 button is twofold: to help you (if you have a free Google profile, which I would definitely recommend having) publicly endorse and recommend what you like on the web–and keep track of those things in a convenient way. According to Google, you’ll now have a +1 tab as a part of your Google Profile where you can see everything you’ve +1’d (it doesn’t roll off the tongue like “liked”). The second purpose is to help Google create more relevant searches for its users. Using your social media connections with others (and Google+ will no doubt play a role in this) Google will take into consideration your +1’s and the +1’s of others to deliver more customized and closer-matched search results. The idea is that you’re more likely to listen to your friend’s opinion on something than total strangers, so Google wants to make that easy and systematic. That’s where adding a +1 to your website comes into play.
Yes, it’s possible to +1 a site without ever visiting it simply through clicking on the button next to a site in Google search results. But you want to go beyond that by including a +1 button on your site itself to make that process easy for people. I even have +1 buttons on each of my posts on my home page. The great thing is that Google allows you to customize the code for the +1 button to determine whether you want a particular button to refer to simply the page that it’s on or your main website url. How you configure it is up to you, and will be based on your particular strategy.
In a nutshell, you want one on your site because it’s one of the best ways to tell Google and your friends and clients searching Google that your site is important, has great content, and should be ranked higher in the results.
Ready to put one on your site? Head to the +1 button page on Google’s site and get the code there. Need help putting the code on your site? Contact your webmaster or contact me and I would be glad to help.
If you want other tips on setting up a personal website or blog, check out my post on it here.
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