How the Google +1 button will contribute to ‘meritocracy’ algorithms
In online search, the ideal of a meritocracy is one where the most relevant pages with the most useful content receive the most attention.
Google seems to have really taken this ideal to heart, with recent stories surfacing that data gained from its +1 button could be integrated into its hallowed algorithms.
The +1 buttons allow users to publicly acknowledge their appreciation of a particular page or website, but they can only do so once – so in a way it could be likened to voting on relevance.
According to an email sent to Wired, the search engine giant is looking into using the information submitted by its users to signal the veracity of a particular piece of fresh content.
The idea is not a new one – search engines strive to provide relevant responses to user queries, and who knows what a client wants better than other browsers?
Digg makes use of a similar system in its offering, with articles and pages ranked by popularity – not on relevancy.
Sadly the service was quickly 'gamed' by unscrupulous webmasters who used flaws in the system to artificially inflate their digital appeal.
Not so with Google's +1 button – the company was very clear that this data was to be integrated in search and would not be easily thrown by black-hat practices.
The communication published by Wired states: "There are more than 200 signals that we use to determine the rank of a website and last year we made more than 500 improvements to the algorithm."
This statement supports previous comments by Google spokespersons that promote the importance of relevant, original content in achieving a superior listing position.
PageRank will thus be likely to continue its reign as the king of the search engine's toolset in determining the value of websites, supplemented by data gained from the social media interface.