For a long time now Google News optimisation has been one of my favourite areas and I've been lucky enough to do work for companies like the FT, Trinity Mirror and Telegraph. Not to mention that bigmouthmedia is also in Google News.
Today, Google's announced more powerful +1s on Google News. There's a new feature on Google News for anyone signed in - I have it already. The established "Spotlight" feature has been expanded so that it shows you what your friends (Gmail contacts and Circles) are +1'ing.
The homepage "widget" works as Google describes. You can see it in the screen grab with this blog post.
You can click on the Spotlight header, though, and if you do you'll wind up on a page like this. That's interesting. At a glance I can't decide whether that's content generated from +1s or not. I certainly not see any connections or recommendations annotations. That's a bit of a shame as that Spotlight page has an RSS. I'd love an RSS feed of my friends recommendations.
The title of this blog post is about driving Search and Social together.
Modern SEO needs to look at a large number of signals; not just titles, h1 tags and links and more than just adding social signals in there too. It's very clear that social signals are impactful. SEO campaigns are at their best when they can show content worthy of sharing to people with a tendency to share.
This is exactly what the +1 progress is doing here. It's ever more important to produce content that people want to +1 publicly.
This Google News integration also show cases how simple collections of sock puppets won't successfully game Google. Sock puppets won't read Google News and react to shares from their Circles. Only real people will do that.