Google launched their Plus (+) range of products this week, Google + integrates existing products from Google along with some new social products into a new “social networking” service. Obviously Google want to challenge Facebook as a new social networking hub. While Facebook already have a huge user base, it is nothing compared with the number of users interacting with Google on a daily basis.
Interestingly, as Facebook attempts to assimilate the Internet into its own social networking open graph database populated with millions of people, Google , who already have the Internet indexed and cached in its huge databases now want to pull in the millions of people to create a social networking environment built around existing, new products and of course their number one business their search engine.
Enter the Plus One Button
The Google plus one button is to Google searches what the Facebook like button is to web content. Google says “The +1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.””. When you or someone in your Google social circle “plus one” something by clicking the plus one button on a site, this information will be used by Google to manipulate/improve Google search results so that when you search for something you will be able to see for example if your friends have already recommended the product returned in the search. If your best buddy likes it, it must be good right? Whether its “pretty cool” or not lets wait and see, no doubt Google Plus will be THE next big thing. The plus one button is a clever way for Google to rewarding good web content and personalise search results, as (in theory) only humans will be able to “Plus One” something.
I am still getting my head around Google plus one and all of its implications but needless to say if there is a new social media marketing opportunity out there, especially one so tightly integrated with Google search then we need to take advantage of it and enable plus one buttons for our Magento products. Content with a large amount of +1s will get higher rankings in Google’s organic search results, create more visibility for your products and drive more traffic to your site. Google says “Think of the +1 button as a way for fans of your business to recommend what you offer, for all their friends and contacts to see. By helping searchers see more personal, relevant ads, we believe you’ll see more qualified traffic.”
Here is a 5 minute fix to add the plus one button to all Magento product pages.
Adding Plus One
For Magento 1.4+ stores:
We can place the Google plus one button next to our Facebook Like button with a few lines of code. Locate view.phtml in your theme, it will be located in the default/template/catalog/product folder of your theme.
If you already have implemented a Facebook Like button, insert the following code below the existing code You can also position the google-plusone DIV wherever you would like the button to appear on the page with CSS.
To translate the locale code correctly add a line to your themes locale file and refresh your cache. For example for a German language store use
For Magento 1.4+ make sure you have canonical URLs enabled in admin (see my Facebook Like button post for more info), we have specifed the URL in the Google API code to ensure Google uses the Magento enabled canonical URL. They say that the code will default to look for the canonical tag but better to be safe than sorry – in my tests it was not always used. The size and appearance of the button can be modified by changing the size and count options. See the Google documentation for more details.