When I first heard about this, I thought; what a great idea! After careful consideration of all of the factors involved, I have recently come to the conclusion that I no longer think the addition of this newly anticipated Google Plus tab will be an effective tool for measuring a website's true worth. My reason is simple; the human factor involved.
Imagine that you a small business in a highly competitive niche, such as, real estate. Your website finally gets ranked in a nice position on the SERP's (Search Engine Ranking Pages) and you have an influx of organic traffic.
You think to yourself, all of your hard work is coming together and is finally paying off. You have been in business for quite some time and have a lot of clientele. Your social media and SEO is all up to date and you work hard on the continuous promotion of your branding and on line presence. You have done everything "white hat" and now you are finally being rewarded.
The very next day you are in shock to realize that you have fallen back on the SERP's and you have no idea why. After further investigation, you discover the website that has taken over your spot has thousands of Google plus one thumbs up. How is this possible? The human factor.
Any one of these factors could have contributed to your falling back on the SERP's:
The website has paid for people to give them a thumbs up. Someone has a grudge against your site or you personally and simply liked another website to manipulate this. Some crafty SEO expert realized that this is a crafty way to get extra traffic but has no real value to determine a website's true popularity. The new website is simply much more popular than yours. You think to yourself, it has only been around for less than one month, does not sound realistic or fair somehow?
Do not misunderstand me, social media is a great addition to Google's new ranking system.
It created a means to stop a considerable amount of black hat SEO techniques and things have improved greatly in the online world. Companies now how to prove relevance, engage with their clients and be more forthcoming when it comes to using SEO techniques if they want to get top spots on the SERPS's. This has offered a more level playing field for on line business. The value of this fact alone is immeasurable.
It is my opinion. however, anytime you allow the public too much freedom it creates an environment that can foster abusive behavior. Humans sometimes seem to think it is fun to "ruffle feathers." It really isn't, but there are always going to be bad apples in every bunch.
Social media is no exception to this rule, there are bad apples creating drama as I write this very article.
I think social media was exactly what the online world needed to boost morale. It allowed for a more open business to client communication process in regards to website brand and popularity. Ultimately, consumers are the individuals who are actually using products and services so it made sense that they should be the ones to promote them as well, but let's face it, too much popular opinion and freedom has the potential to create a lot of damage.
We see the damage humans have created everyday and the Internet is no exception. Just take a look at some of the social media out there right now, it is not all being used for good.
I am firm believer in the benefits of social media and I have faith in most humans, but I am also realistic and I carefully consider each side of an idea before I formulate an opinion.
In the end, my personal opinion is that I just do not see how Google can possibly monitor this new feature effectively. Someone can literally sit for hours clicking on websites giving them thumbs ups. What good is that in determining brand popularity?
Things have been greatly improving for the search engine ranking systems with the addition of social media and relevant unique content to its algorithm.
Why fix it, if it is not broken? To be honest, we have all seen the effects of these bad tactics before; things like duplicate blog content, spun articles, software that manipulated numbers and bogus back-links.......exactly where are we now in terms of SEO and social media?
We are back to the beginning and back to hard work being the only true way to pay!
I think Google is onto a good idea, they just have to work harder to ensure that it will pay and not just play. If they can ensure it cannot be easily manipulated then it may just be a great new tool but I am reserving my thumbs ups for the time being.
Currently residing in Brownsburg-Chatham, Qc, Madeline Foster is an English speaking Montrealer who was born and raised in Verdun, Qc. She currently is a columnist for a local monthly newspaper called the Community Connection which operates out of Chateauguay, Qc as well as a highly respected Examiner writing on the topic of Montreal Local heroes. Years of community and volunteer service with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and other Community organizations has given her an incredible insight into the human spirit. After years of working in the corporate milieu and becoming a highly skilled public relations professional she began her own company as a free lance SEO content writer and social media manager. You can find her work located here http://www.seo-socialmedia.net/ and many other online places.
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