Google+1, Search Engine Optimisation and Affiliates
- August 22, 2011
- by James Lowery
By now, we’re pretty comfortable with seeing the Google +1 buttons popping up all over the web, and hey, some of us have already clicked a few. A few of us have probably already gone as far as to install them on our websites.
What all of us want to know though is what we can do with Google+1 to get better rankings and more traffic.
The way it used to be
We all used to get the same results when we searched in Google.com. If I wanted to find a poker website and searched for “poker” on my machine, I’d see the same results as you would. Aside from the regular Google Dance updates when new links and content changes would be taken into account, the results were stable for everyone.
Then it changed.
Personalised search was a no brainer for Google. If I clicked on a particular result when I searched for something the first time, the next time I did the same search, I would see that website ranking higher in the results. This was great: it meant that I could find things that interested me more quickly.
With Google Caffeine, things changed again: Rather than it taking weeks for a change in content or a new link to have an impact on rankings, it was more or less immediate. As soon as Google knew about a link or an altered web page, it would incorporate this into its ranking algorithm. This was great too it meant that as a user I could find things that were fresh and important now.
In the last couple of years, there’s been a paradigm shift in the way we find and share information with each other. Rather than the web being a collection of individuals, we are interconnected by social networks. We share and like content in Facebook, re-tweet links that interest us in the knowledge that it will also interest our friends and contacts. There is a vast social graph of our connections that can be mined for demographic information about us.
Through our search behaviour and user behaviour online, Google track enormous amounts of data about our individual interests, and can aggregate this across populations to see what people like us like.
Google+1 is an extension of that social sharing culture. When we +1 something publicly, we tell Google that this is relevant to our interests and the interests of the people like us.
If you have a Google profile (or a Google Plus Account), and you are logged in, you see who has given a +1 vote to a website and these also get a boost in the rankings to make them more visible to you.
What you also see is improvements in rankings for websites that people who are similar to you have given a +1 to. Google understands a lot about you, and knows that your interests are similar to those of other people like you. Their assumption is that if someone who shares a similar user interest profile to you likes a website within a particular slice of search, you will too. You can’t see the +1 votes of people you don’t know, but you can benefit from them.
Benefiting from Google+
In most cases, if you’re running a poker or casino affiliate website you have a set of users who are broadly similar in their profile to any new customers that you want to acquire: people who will also have a network of online friends who also share those interests.
Simply having a +1 button on your website is not enough to get people to click it. As affiliates, we are experts on driving conversion because our businesses depend on it. We need to apply the same effort towards encouraging users to +1 our websites as we do on getting a new user to sign up for our programmes.
In the same way as you would ask the question “how do I convince a user to trust my affiliate programmes” you need to ask the question “how do I convince a user to recommend me to a friend”.
Having great, informative content, a well designed and easy to use website, and a compelling sales message will encourage people to share your website, but you also need to make it easy to do so. Don’t hide your +1 button away at the bottom of the page where no-one would see it. Give it pride of place on the site; draw the attention of a user to it; make a call to action around it.
The more people within a social group you can get to +1 your website, the more people will see your website get increased rankings in the main Google Search results, and the more traffic you will get from relevant, interested users.
Don’t Succumb to Temptation
There are already services that will provide you with +1 votes for free. Don’t bother with them. Lots of votes from bots or click farms will not benefit you, because they won’t be from people who are relevant to your website, and as such they won’t be aggregated and considered as part of the ranking algorithm for your target customers, and as such will be a total waste of money.
James has also published this article as a guest blogger on the Casino Affiliate Programs blog.0 Comments