YouTube (Google) has been phasing the like/thumbs up button out from YouTube and replacing it with their very own Plus 1 button in another desperate act of attempting to get people to use their “jury’s still out” social network, Google Plus.
To Google’s credit, they have managed to not screw up YouTube since they acquired it. It’s more or less the same as it has always been and they haven’t tampered with it too much. So what is the effect from replacing the like button with the plus button in an ever increasing number of web browsers?
On the plus (no pun intended) side, to be able to give a video a “plus”, the viewer needs to see the entire video before they are permitted to rate it. This will make it somewhat more difficult for people to abuse the rating system and use it purely for the social proof or for the SEO aspects of it. It will help to make it so that real people will actually make up the majority of the ratings and that it is likely that they’re giving their actual opinion on it given that they had to watch the entire video in full.
Another interesting point to be made is that there is no negative rating. You can either give it a plus or you give it no rating at all. This also makes it difficult to spam a video in a negative way. For instance, if your competitor wanted your video to tank and be perceived as being low quality in both the eyes of Google AND anyone who watches it, now they don’t have the ability to use a service to pan the video over and over again.
We’ll likely continue to see YouTube videos play an ever increasing role in the SERPs because search engines including Google love video content and Google especially loves YouTube considering once again how they own it and they want as much of their content dominating the search results page listings as possible.