Beating Google with Google Plus: are you really smarter than those geeks?

Services for Real Estate Pros with ha media group

I’ve gotten the privilege to play in the new, shiny, nifty GooglePlus for a few days now. I’ve been circled, shared, +1ed and darn near everything else, less huddled with. I, too, have circled and +1ed in return, as is only to be expected, given that those of us hanging out together were indeed a part of a small and geeky community and we obviously knew each other from other social interactions.  For those who jumped in to engage and explore, the days were well spent making accidental new friends, sharing stories, photos, cartoons or anything else shareable, and just learning the ropes.  

There is a pretty cool aura about the thing so far, where people share generously, there is no pitching of products and services and no spam yet that I’ve encountered.  So all in all – and a few minor tech glitches aside, it seems like a great product.  That said, I wonder what happens months from now with all the data that we freely shared, how all those +1s get calculated into the bigger picture and to what extent our popularity or lack thereof on a social network owned by the search engine will affect our rankings for various things.

google plus seo

In my mulling over all these things, I happened to run across a few posts on AR and elsewhere stating as fact that +1s are the new backlinks/keywords/magic bullets of SERPS success.  There are groups being formed in a hurry with the sole purpose of reciprocal +1-ing, and all sorts of advice dished out on how to essentially use this tool to beat Google.  The sad thing to me, or rather what I perceive as an irresponsible thing is that much of this activity is promoted or indeed started by SEO and web consultants.  Sadder still that some of this advice has been featured on AR’s dashboard for one, and I am sure is getting traction in all the other places folks hang in.

I would not be surprised to find a few bran new e-books and webinars on the loopholes in Google and how to take advantage of Google+. Here are my unsolicited and brief thoughts on the subject of +1 exchanges and such.  I think that the folks at Google are pretty darn smart, or at the very least brain cell for brain cell, a heck of a lot smarter than the people providing SEO coaching/advice in these forums, and certainly a heck of a lot smarter when it comes to their own search engine than anyone who sells real estate or most other things for a living. 

I think that when the +1 thingy was first conceived of, the Google nerds envisioned every possible way in which that button would be abused in an attempt to score better.  I also think that should the +1s affect page rank, and I think they might to an extent, it will take a few months for new algo to come out, as all the new data gets compiled and added to the equation.  If I were Google, I would use the data as follows: Folks who are closest to me in my social circles +1’ing things I write would net me little or negative results vs people who are not connected to me in any way.  If I were Google, I would put much more weight on a +1 from someone who had no anterior (friendly) motive for the recommendation.  After all – there is already Facebook for those indiscriminate thoughtless likes on most days and there would have been little reason for Google to imitate all that’s wrong with Facebook, in my humble opinion.  My socially connected friends might see my stuff first, but their results would just be theirs, and not at all reflect how the rest of the universe sees my sites.  At least that, to me, is how it should be.

I also think that at the end of the day those who routinely +1 each other’s stuff will find themselves in the same place as those who use link-farms.  It may take a while for the algos to catch up and some might not get penalized at all…  Or none of this may happen and those engaging in reciprocal +1’ing may actually gain in the SERPS.  But I can’t help but think that there are easier ways to make a living than by hunting for a loophole.

I can’t help but think if 10% of the energy devoted to looking for tricks to beat one thing or another was devoted to simply providing your site visitors with useful information, you’d all score better not just with Google and Bing et. al. – but with people who click on your site in the first place.  There is a new shiny object born every minute, and with each new thing, there are consultants willing to teach you how to manipulate that new thing.  Wouldn’t it be easier and much more rewarding to just do good work, provide the service and information to your customers and visitors that you’d want, were you in their shoes, and worry about things that truly matter – if you must worry about anything at all?

Because chasing a loophole in Google isn’t going to get you anywhere.  They will always be smarter than you, and they will always frown upon the seekers of easy fixes and magic bullets.  Because at the end of the day, Google wants to provide most relevant results to their customers, and anything that would infringe on that will be justifiably weeded out. So to my real friends – don’t +1 me, unless something I wrote truly touches you and merits a share in your mind.  For everything else, there are phones and emails and greeting cards, and I’ll take those any day over an obligatory click of a virtual button.

Originally published on Google+ and my Blog at hamedia group.


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Jonathan Dalton
Realty ONE Group - Glendale, AZ

I added the +1 button to my blog. Why? Who knows. But wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. Beyond that, I think I'm going to wait until some of the dust settles.

After all, I've only just now started using Gmail after years of Outlook and Windows mail. I like to take my time a little bit. :-)

Jul 05, 2011 11:10 AM #2
Marie Westerman
Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate/ Wilson Parker Homes - Evans, GA
New Homes Sales Specialist Evans GA REALTOR

I also wonder how it will effect ranking. I like your ideas. Thanks for sharing them

Jul 05, 2011 11:23 AM #3
raf ik bouchaala

You should learn how to space your articles bro ! It's unreadable this way !

Jul 05, 2011 11:40 AM #5
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Inna!  I've been part of the geeky 1+ community as well and have rather enjoyed the 'no ads,' no fluff arena too.  It's rather nice over there!  

As for the 1+'s on my site, I did add that--like Jonathan said, not sure why but, did just to see what happened.  However, I don't believe it's done anything at all for my ranking--like Tanya, it's adding fresh content that our consumer is searching for and doing so often, that helps our rankings/placement.  And you are SO right--no one knows Google better than Google--that's for SURE!  But, that +1 isn't going to help me in the Yahoo, Bing or other search engines, from which I get a good number of visitors.  Again, keeping the fresh content coming is what keeps the bots coming around your site for more.  It's a no frills, no games concept and I don't know why so many people try to make out like there's some 'trick' to it; it's really rather simple if you ask me!

Jul 05, 2011 06:45 PM #6
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks for your insights Inna.  I don't have it yet but like with most new things, I tend to wait and err on the side of caution.

Jul 06, 2011 01:07 AM #7
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

I'm on another train right now. I'll have to wait till I get to the next station before I hop on the +1 train.

Jul 06, 2011 02:38 AM #8
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


There are so many great sites out there to +1, I think it is a shame that we have to look forward to inbred inept insincere "+1ing" as an attempt to beat the GOOG.

I agree with your thought that the nerdy guys have already thought of "+1 Fueling" and will punish people.  At least, I hope so.

Jul 06, 2011 03:22 AM #9
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Hi Inna, just stopping by to let you know I read it. Joined the group so I can follow a long with all the things. I guess I need to add the WP plug in.


Jul 06, 2011 03:56 AM #10
Virginia Gardner
Roy Wheeler Realty Co. - Charlottesville, VA
Realtor, Charlottesville, Serving Central Virginia

I really appreciate this post, Inna.  I am trying to avoid thinking about Google+1 and it has just occurred to me that you and others can do my thinking for me, lol.

Jul 06, 2011 04:04 AM #11
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Ugh, I suspected that there would be a rush to hop on board the Google+ train train for the sole reason of trying to improve SEO. It wont be long before it becomes innundated with commercial interests.

Jul 06, 2011 08:01 AM #12
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Hey Inna, I couldn't agree more! This was my first group and since I had a few prompting me to start, I figured this would be perfect. I am in no way encouraging folks to spend energy going around +1ing everything in sight. (SEO companies have outsourced groups for that overseas - HA) but I do think that if we generally have something to say about it, like you do, then this is a great place to share those opinions. Also along those lines, if we feel we approve of an article, page, site, whatever it's a great way to tell those we are associated with that we do approve it. I am never one to condone any loopholes, black hat strategies or anything but genuine organic search engine approved SEO tips. I am featuring this in this group because this is something to consider! - I am all for focusing the energy where it counts! :)

There will always be someone to loophole any algorithm or tactic and Google will always be on top of how to shut them down.

Jul 06, 2011 08:15 AM #13
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Sorry guys and gals - late to my own party as always:-(

Tammy  - I always find it surprising when people talk out of both sides of their mouths.  You can't say that you are all for white hat and no loopholes on the one hand and while actively promoting the idea that "there are always loopholes" and asking everyone to +1 each other's sites and links and creating a group dedicated to that very endevor.  Sorry, let me rephrase - you can say all of those things, just don't expect anyone to take it seriously.

Back to the rest of my commenters in a bit... 

Jul 07, 2011 09:01 AM #14
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Ok Fine Inna, Let me rephrase, there are probably less than 50 people that will do that on here. ... And we all genuinely like one another so why not? If I bother you so much I will just remove the feature. Trying to extend a little cheer.

Jul 07, 2011 04:32 PM #15
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Tammy - was this post in violation of your group's guidelines that warranted its removal from the group? I never asked you for a feature, but I posted this to that group as it seemed to be very much on topic, thinking your group's members would have benefited from it the most.  


Jul 07, 2011 05:21 PM #16
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

There have always been people on ActiveRain who are more than willing to game the system here and elsewhere.  Sometimes they need a guru to guide them.

Better content is a better answer. Writing content for people in your market is a better than playing games with the self professed SEO gurus.

I added the WP plugin to my site.  I joined Google +1 but have not had a lot of time to pay attention.

Jul 08, 2011 05:57 AM #17
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

My Tanya in Montreal - Amen to your amen:-)

Jonathan - taking your time certainly makes sense...

Marie - I've no idea, as I stated, how any of it will affect rankings, but something tells me Google is not going to be ok with loopholer jumpers...

Debe - that should be the idea, but creating content takes work... clicking a +1 button, not so much:-)

Gabe - there is nothing wrong with having the G+ button on your site, it's reciprocal + 1'ing that I am opposed to:-)

Thomas - hmmm, ok:-)

Mike - eloquently stated, Sir.

Jul 10, 2011 06:45 AM #18
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Missy - you should add the plugin, and yep, i am with you on following to see what happens:-)

Virginia - :-)

Malcolm - there is no doubt in my mind that there will be commercial interests represented in G+ (they've already stated as much), but so long as I don't have to deal with fb style ads and pokes and game apps and all that, I'm ok with a bit of advertising. I'd rather G+ made mony on legitimate ads than skewed search results.

Maureen - well put...:-)

Jul 10, 2011 06:50 AM #19
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Inna,

This is such a wise post - I'm suggesting it because I hav been having the same misgivings.  Its only a matter of time before Google catches up with reciprocal +1's

Jul 10, 2011 04:59 PM #20
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Never been into gaming and scamming for points or Google juice myself. I take all that SEO stuff with a grain of salt - actually the whole shaker.

I'm just hoping G+ will be more sophisticated and less gimmicky than facebook. I already like it better than facebook. I like the simple look and how it integrates other google products that I already use and like with out having to download useless crap.

But trying to outsmart Google and their algorithms is just plain silly.

Not only can google not be out smarted but consumers are pretty savvy these days too. Trying to trick google is also tricking the consumer.

I thought blogging and social media was about transparency. HA!

New media same old tricks. lol

Jul 11, 2011 07:50 AM #21
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Ruthmarie - thanks for the suggest button, although it appears i'm in some kind of an AR doghouse with those things at the moment:-)  I think with Google, it's always just a matter of time, yet the initial allure is too hard to bypass, i guess.

Hi Mitchell - so far, G+ seem a heck of a lot more sophisticated than FB, and I haven't really seen any gimmicks there yet.  I am sure we'll see some ads and self-promotion of various kinds in due time, but we can at least always choose to only pay attention to specific circles, and that I really like.  As for transparency - can't change people, just the tools they'll use.  Or maybe it's just the cynic in me.:-)

Jul 11, 2011 09:01 AM #22
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