Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

What Google Needs To Do To Get Social Media Right

Google strikes out with social media, so far

Google has to get past one main sticking point if they hope to stop sucking at social media. They need to think about user experience before trying to figure out how social signals can best improve search.

If the main motivation for creating a social platform is to improve organic ranking algorithms through social signals, it’s destined to fail.

It’s as if Google is so desperate to get into the social media game that they’re choking from performance anxiety.

From one failure to another, they just can’t seem to get it right: Google Wave, Google Answers, Orkut, Knol, Google Buzz, Dodgeball, and many of their other platforms have failed to make the grade.

Google +1

Google +1 social voting

Google’s latest foray into the social milieu is Google +1. It’s similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’, and votes for websites are intended to improve the quality of Google’s search results. Social votes are popular, but who wants to share a search result before they ever click on the link to begin with?

After striking out in so many areas—including search—Google should be concentrating on giving their users a great social experience. They need this now more than ever.

If Google could develop just one social media platform that pleases its users first, with less focus on retrieving user data, raking in more Adwords revenue, or search integration, they’d be halfway there.

With all the money Google has poured into dead-end social strategies and misguided acquisitions, you’d think they could afford a loss-leader.

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About matt

Matthew Edward is the founder of Springboard SEO, a usability-first search engine optimization company in Montreal.

  • You’d hope that Google would have learned from all of its previous social ventures. I’m not sure how this +1 feature will work out. People “like” things on Facebook because there is a personal connection. There isn’t always a personal connection to what we search for.

  • If they could replace the ‘+1’ with the number of votes a page has received, and then offer the API, we’d see it being used as a social voting widget alongside Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Stumbleupon, and all the rest.

    Unless that happens, my guess is +1 will fade into obscurity along with Google’s other social media misses.