April 11, 2016

The +1 that Defines Google Plus, and Everything you Need to Know about it

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Google Plus’s +1 has undergone a radical update, and the possibilities are immense. Certain things about the update are misunderstood and not immediately obvious, leading to an outraged debate within certain circles. Within this post, we’ll delve into the details of these changes, and why it may be a good thing for your business.

So, what exactly, has changed?

The new +1 feature was announced by Shimrit Ben-Yair, whose premise is that things that are recommended by friends are also likely to be helpful/likeable to us. Therefore, your Google Plus Home Stream will include things that your friends +1’d. This happens in two ways:

  • When someone in your circles +1’s a post, Google will algorithmically determine whether you may be interested in the post, and if so, post it to your home feed
  • Similarly, when you +1 a post it may be shown in the feeds of those within your circles

This is Google’s way of increasing your own and others’ servings of great content, thereby increasing the reach of good content over the network.

How is it different from Likes on Facebook?

Some of the likes that show up in your Home feed on Facebook are old and/fake, but Google has a different approach to the idea. Google shows you what you may be interested in, and you can easily use your circles to filter out how much and what you see. They are not adverts, or fake posts put by automated apps. Google uses real activity from real people to populate you feed.

Won’t it clutter my homefeed?

No. you won’t see every single thing that everyone in your circles have +1’d, that should be crazy. Google will only show those posts which could also be of interest/relevant to you. In addition, these posts don’t show up in your individual circles/ streams, only in the main/home stream. Therefore, if you’re using circles to filter your feed, you don’t have to worry about cluttering your feed.

You can also increase/reduce the volume of content from any of your circles that makes it to your home feed, in case you didn’t know. If for example you want to see limited posts from your colleagues or acquaintances, you simply set their circles to ‘Fewer’ or even unmark the ‘View in Home Stream’ option to remove them completely. Similarly, if there are circles whose posts you don’t want to miss, simply set them to ‘More’ and include a notification bell to alert you when they come in.

Why is this a big deal?

This is exciting news for people who have been looking for a way to increase their reach on Google Plus – whether you be a business or just someone looking to raise your online profile. Now, if one person +1’s your post, it could potentially be recommended (not a given) to their followers’ streams.

Therefore, if an influencer (a person with a large online following) +1’s your post, you are instantly exposed to some of the people in their audience who would be interested in that subject. Influencers are typically busy, and so may not have time to share your post, but +1s take just a second. That simple action can take your post further than you imagined.

What if I don’t want others to see what I +1?

That’s the cool bit: you can always turn off the feature on Google+ if you want. Just like everything else on the platform, you have ultimate control over your privacy levels. Simply change your +1 settings to ‘Only You’ or customize to include only the circles that you wouldn’t mind their seeing your activity on Google Plus. If you have nothing to hide, change your setting to ‘Public’.

It is worth noting that privacy for +1’d posts will still be maintained such that only the ones to whom the post was shared originally will be able to see the post. Therefore, if you shared a post privately within your circles and someone there +1’d it, only the people who had original access to it will see it.

Conclusion: harnessing the real power

This change by Google is going to be beneficial to everybody for one simple reason: Google’s algorithm is its most powerful tool, and will be leveraged to recommend things that you may find interesting. If they succeed, your user experience in Google+ will be enhanced and you’re likely to spend more time there.

This is the reality behind advertising, search, and all other consumer oriented concepts. As they become better at giving you the things you’re interested in, you will have a more satisfying interaction and use the product even more.

Embracing this change will guarantee you a higher level of engagement in the platform, including being added to more people’s circles and having more interesting content which could create meaningful relationships within the platform. This is something you didn’t have before.


Michael Bentos is an expert internet marketer with decades’ experience, and works with ParadoxSEO.com, a well-known platform for all SEO SOLUTIONS. He has worked with businesses of all sizes to provide SEO solutions using SEO checker tools and other options. Talk to him via LinkedIn today.

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