Circle volume could be a new author authority signal

Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by in Digital Marketing

Google has just announced a whole bunch of improvements to Google+ including a much better photo experience, new notifications and (finally) multi-admins for Pages for Business. I’m especially happy about all those extra admins.

The new feature to adjust the “volume” on your Circles may be the most interesting though. It lets you demote or promote the importance of your contacts in terms of your viewing activity. This makes sense to me. I already have my Circles set up in an ideal way to support this and I suspect many other people do too.

I have Circles for “Search”, “Display”, “Affiliates”, “Social” and other digital skill sets. I’ve a much larger circle just called “Industry” in which everyone I Circle and who works in the digital marketing industry is added to. However, on top of that I’ve a much smaller circle called “Digital Thought Leaders”. That’s the Circle that contains my “must-reads”.

This format works for me because I can read “Digital Thought Leaders” on my Google+ mobile app without having to battle through all the other, often more casual contributions, when I’m on a GPS connection. It works for me because I can share digital marketing news to the whole “Industry” or affiliate specific chat just to “Affiliates”.

In fact, giving that I use Google+ for more than just work (just as Google intended) and I have gaming, comic book and other contacts in the system this tiered approach makes a lot of sense.

Now I can dial up the volume on my “Digital Thought Leaders” and my “Game Thought Leaders” and other priority Circles and be sure that I’m less likely to miss their Google+ comments in my main stream.

Google+ Circle volume as an author authority signal

The set-up of my Circles makes sense to me. I know why I have “thought leaders” pulled into separate circles. However, Google had no way of knowing which of my Circles I had created because the Google Profiles in them are high priority. Google had no way of knowing which of my Circles I had created simply because I sometimes wish to share content with people but I don’t really care to read their Google+ posts – we could even call those contacts low priority.

With “volume” control for Google+, the search engine can now see exactly how important I consider different authors. That’s certainly interesting data.

Given that Google will have the ability to watch the volume decisions of all its millions of Google+ users it will be easily able to spot which authors are regularly promoted to above average volume and which are regularly demoted to below average.

This data, if useful, could easily be factored into weighing up the importance of individual authors. In fact, the same data could be used in exactly the same way to calculate the impact of a single +1 from the Google+ account.

What do you think? Do you foresee Google using this new volume data as a quality signal at all?

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