Google +1 and What It Changes

With Google’s recent rollout of it’s +1 feature, the talks of the “end of SEO” have surfaced again – nothing new or surprising, with no more ground for them than usual. In case you haven’t heard of it yet somehow, here’s Danny Sullivan’s write up on it perfectly explaining what it is and all the why’s, if’s, how’s and so on. Essentially, I see Google +1 as nothing more than a publicity stunt by Google trying to somehow rival Facebook’s Like buttons – but if for Facebook these buttons at least bring links (albeit in iframes) and traffic from elsewhere, to Google it’s so far pretty pointless (what’s it linking to, itself? Spamming itself into its own SERPs? Kinda perverted). User connections data? – come on, we already had Gmail invites, did that data get used much? Maybe so, and maybe it still does, but who cares enough to even mention it anymore? Oh, and we’ve also had SearchWiki – where has it gone now? Neither of previous attempts has made much impact on anything except personalized results, and for sure it didn’t mean the end of SEO. It requires crazy levels of user interaction to have a meaningful impact on the SERPs as a whole, and until everyone +1s same way as we breathe the bulk of search results will rely on more universal factors. and after all, before people can +1 a site it already has to appear somewhere in the SERPs so it would be more like a fight for the top 5 results than a real global ranking signal.
New quality signals to use in the ranking algo? – quality my ass! Just the same way as it was “impossible” to fake the super duper social signal from Twitter (and that’s exactly why so many twitterbots and fake accounts have appeared – see this Google real time search results screenshot I made a while ago), it is “impossible” to fake Google’s +1 data and it’s only a matter of time and wider adoption till +1 bots and third world country-based +1ing services start appearing en masse in the market. Heck, this post may even cause the boost in the speed of such offers development.
In its strife to make search more social Google starts forgetting the main purpose of a search engine, namely, dohh, search. When I type a query in the search box I am not looking to communicate with my friends, contacts, connections or “social circle”, whatever you wish to call them. I am not even looking for anybody’s recommendations (if I wanted recommendations I would have asked my contacts for them explicitly and most likely in person). My only intent is to search, and therefore, ask the actual search engine, not people, as in this case for whatever reason I tend to trust the search engine more or rely on it more or maybe I already exhausted whatever information my contacts could have given me on the topic. Why does everything have to be social? It’s a social overload of sorts by now.
I know I know, what a misogynic asshole I am, and people make a better web, and it’s all voluntary and anybody can opt out and there’s a privacy policy, blah blah blah… Ok let it be so, and in the meantime I’ll go and make the web better improving the quality of Google’s signals by firing up a script or two and infiltrating your social circles with my countless Tramadol +1s 😀

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