Google is moving fast to court companies and brands. Only a day after the official release of Google+’s brand pages the company has released early access its full array of developer widgets, called badges.
The badges operate like the Facebook Like box (which you can see on our right sidebar). In a similar way to its Facebook cousin the Google+ badge allows visitors to immediately +1/Like the brand’s Google+ profile and add it to one of their circles. (We’re seeing early reports that individuals can also use the badge to encourage users to follow their personal Google+ accounts.)
But wait! Setting up the badge is not so straight forward. In order to include it on your site Google+ first requires you (at the time of writing) to sign up to the Google+ preview group (which you can do here).
Google is in the process of rolling the badges out, so if you don’t see one on the right of this page or below then you should do soon (or check the Google+ for business page which is showing the button publicly.
In addition to allowing users to connect to the Google+ accounts of pages that they like, the badge also offers benefits for Google search results. By including the badge on their site Google will to able to associate a brand’s website with its official Google+ account.
Google says, “In addition to helping us better index your Google+ page, this snippet will help you show more personal recommendations around the web by linking your +1â€™s on sites, your Google+ page, search and display ads.”
Another advantage to website owners is the ability to qualify for Google+ Direct Connect – this is Google’s system that allows users to search for a Google+ page by placing a + sign before their search term, e.g. +the Sociable. Users who do this will then be prompted to circle the page. (This would also explain why Google decommissioned the + search operator a few weeks back)
Google warns that at the moment the badge is still in preview and may have a few bugs. Writing on the Google+ Preview Group Google’s Will Norris says, “Today, we’re making these badges available to our platform preview group. This will give you a chance to add a badge to your site and verify that everything works great in preparation for our public launch.”
This combination of social and search is Google+â€™s unique selling point and will be an extremely inviting one of website owners and SEO Officers – but we have to wonder how web developers will feel about adding yet another social plugin to their websites.