On Wednesday 30th March, Google took their search function to a whole new social level with the introduction of the Google +1 button. Currently in its experimental phase, +1 works in a similar fashion to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button.

Just like its Facebook counterpart, the +1 button lets you recommend search results to your contacts across Google’s own social network, and also receive recommendations in a similar fashion. But unlike Facebook’s Like button, the recommendations will be served to the user in a more elegant and targeted manner. Anyone in that user’s network of Google friends who then searches on a similar topic will be shown those recommended results, mixed in with the usual search results, flagged with a note advising that a friend has “+1’d” it.With Google holding the current controlling share of the search engine market, their recommendation tool has the potential to dramatically affect a company’s ad words CTR.Word of mouth referrals have long been the most effective way for companies to build a trusted customer base. With more companies opting for online e-commerce and a large majority of consumers carrying out their shopping online, such referrals are becoming harder to capitalise on.The translation of word of mouth advertising to the online world has become an almost impossible task. In answer to this problem we have seen a large growth in review sites such as Reevoo but it is often the case that some companies will have staff write reviews in an effort to increase their brands trust factor. Using the Facebook ‘like’ system allows an element of peer to peer referral but it is done on a rather generalised scale. The +1 system fills the niche in allowing people to refer the better links that they have found through Google and have had good experience with to their friends.

With an almost definite effect on a links CTR, will this new tool also affect how you rank in the search results? This remains to be seen and is dependent on how Google see fit to alter the current ranking algorithm. But with more and more emphasis on social sharing, the battle of the +1 may be about to begin.

If you want to get in on this experiment then just follow these instructions:

      1. 1.

    Register for or Sign into your Google account


    Go to www.GoogleLabs.com


    Click Join the experiment for +1 Button


    Get ‘+1ing’

NOTE: Although the go live date has passed, for those living in the UK you may need to set your Google search engine to .com in order to see your search engine results.

UPDATE: If you want to include the +1 button in your blogs and across your sites simply copy the code below and paste it into your HTML code.

You can also go to www.Google.com/+1 to further customise your button.