Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President in charge of Google+, is quoted as saying that Google+ is “the social spine” of Google.
Well I disagree! I think Google+ is going beyond being “the social spine” of all things Google and will soon become the social spine of everything on the internet.
It all started with the +1 button
When Google released the +1 button for web sites, it was suspected that it would play a direct role in Google’s search results.
The extent to which it plays a role has slowly become clear over the months and years (yes, Google+ is over 2 years old now!) since the service was launched.
Search Plus Your World
People may have scoffed at the rather clunky name, but with Search Plus Your World people started seeing some of the side effects to clicking on that +1 button.
Now when someone in your Circles +1s a web page, that page is more likely to show up in search results, with a piece of text saying, “Such and such +1’d this.”
That kind of personal recommendation sends a powerful signal to us human beings, but that is not where this this tale ends.
Instantly indexed posts
Every time you post anything on Google+, it creates a web page that is instantly indexed by Google and available to search results.
That is something the other social networks do not or will not allow and it gives Google a distinct advantage. Every time you search a particular subject now, you will see results from traditional sources (ie. web pages) and you will see results from public posts on Google+.
Google have worked hard to make Google+ attractive to professionals and casual users alike. It is so good in fact, that there is a movement to replace traditional blogging with Google+ entirely called #blogsofaugust, spearheaded by Mike Elgan. Even if you do not wish to go as far as that, there is a very strong case for making Google+ your primary social network and linking back to your posts there from the other networks.
Recent weeks has seen Google Authorship becoming a new buzzword.
There are two parts to this, rel=author and rel=publisher. Strictly speaking they are different and Authorship itself only pertains to rel=author. However, the effect is similar in that you can now create links between your Google+ profile (or your page’s profile) and the content you create.
Successfully linking your Google+ profile and the content you create does two very important things.
1) It changes the way search results are displayed, by adding your Google+ profile picture and a link to your profile, together with an indication of the number of followers you have. It can also add a link to other content you have created.
Us human beings respond well to faces, plus the inclusion of the number of followers may give us a clue as to the credibility of the author.
2) Everything feeds back to your Google+ profile. Every time someone shares your content on Google+, or clicks that all important +1 button, it adds to the credibility of your Google+ profile and builds authority for you. That is one of the factors that can sway search results.
Another update by Google in recent weeks, was the release of the APIs necessary for integrating Google+ features with your website. I wrote a blog about integrating social media comments with WordPress earlier today, which shows how you can very easily pull in all of the comments from Google+ that anyone has ever made about your blog posts.
It really is powerful stuff and blurs the lines even further between blogs and social media. It also binds and intertwines your content even more thoroughly with Google+.
The APIs being released is the real killer here. Every site you have ever visited could potentially be integrated with Google+. Together with Authorship, it makes Google+ a must have for anyone wishing to promote a web site on the internet.