The new tagging element rolled out by Google this week

ONE HOPES the new tagging element rolled out by Google this week is really not the search giant's interpretation of social networking and just another attempt to get its users to do some of its heavy lifting. No doubt the popularity of Facebook's like' burton and the ever present Tweet This' buttons on most sites' content pages these days motivated Google, but the limitations of how it is passed around shows the hole in Google's social networking efforts.

-i is a marketing ploy more than a true social sharing of information. Google has said it may have an impact on the organic rankings but, in reality, it is the push on the advertising side that I think Google is more concerned with.

There are videos and blog posts - tens of thousands of them in the blogosphere already - but even Google got in on the act and it is the ones aimed at the business sector that reveal the possible true intent of this launch. Google wants this to be more about promoting businesses and getting people to sign up for Google Profiles and Google Places accounts. You can't +i without a Google account.

Look at its video aimed at businesses on YouTube; it is titled 'Google Business' and can be found at To Google, this is no 'social' element - it means business. The use of it in the organic results is nice - but this method of voting on ads provides insights to advertisers. This is more a push for more granular information for businesses and even a way to start finding people who like your brand.

"We expect that personalised annotations will help users know when your ads and organic search results are relevant to them, increasing the chances that they'll end up on your site. You don't have to make adjustments to your advertising strategy based on +1 buttons, and the way we calculate Quality Score isn't changing (though +is will be one of many signals we use to calculate organic search ranking). Think of +1 buttons as an enhancement that can help already successful search campaigns perform even better," Google explains on its AdWords blog.

So, hey, no doubt there is now a need to add it to the SEO efforts, but the information from how it is interacted with your ads could be more important. Who cares if it does not influence the Quality Score - you will be able to see how many people like a particular ad. There will be a game soon enough to build the numbers of these 'recommendations' as apart from the people in your social circle, Google has said it will list a number for how many people in general click the button.

When people see ads, which do you think they will click? One with a couple of '+is' or the vendor that has hundreds?

While this is only available in the US right now and gambling ads are not accepted as of yet, this feature will be rolling out through Europe and Asia where you can advertise and a strategy for using it must be worked out now.

So start your engines, test its impact in the organic results and get ready for when it is available to attack in the PPC space.
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