Information on Google’s +1 Votes



Google +1 is a relatively new system of “liking” websites and pages. Closely connected with the Google+ social network, +1 allows searchers to rate a site using the +1 button beside its entry on Google, or from the page or website itself. This then lists the URL, ad, or other content on your Google+ profile, and also informs your friends and contacts that you recommend it whenever it shows up in their search returns on Google. You can add a +1 button to your site and pages to allow friends, colleagues, and visitors to recommend your content.

Google’s +1′s

When URLs you have +1′d return in search results for the people in your Circles, they will be able to see that you have recommended that content. If a lot of people have recommended something but are not in your social network, only the number of people who have +1′d the item will appear. Users can choose to hide their +1′s on their profiles, but they remain public from within Google’s search results.

In this manner, +1 is meant to stay unobtrusive and relevant. Google assumes people will be more likely to care about a friend’s or acquaintance’s opinion on an ad or URL than that of a stranger’s. Since the +1 recommendations only appear when you search for a term or phrase that would return the +1′d ad or URL, the results remain organic. But this “enhanced” Google Search definitely alters the results.

You can see how it affects traffic in Google Webmaster Tools. There is a +1 Metrics menu that shows you the Search Impact, Activity, and Audience information related to +1 activity on your site and pages. You do not have to have a +1 button installed on your properties to receive recommendations, as anyone can “vote” +1 through Google, or from other sites.

Activity allows you to see all +1′s your site has received by page. You can filter them to see only the New +1′s or All of them. Activity also shows you whether the recommendations came from your site or another one, such as Google. Audience shows you the characteristics of those who visit your website most often, including age and gender. Google keeps this information anonymous and it is only visible after a set number of people have recommended your site.

+1 is only going to affect your results once your properties have received hundreds, or even thousands, of recommendations. In some ways, it is like an incoming link – one of the most important factors in Google’s PageRank algorithm. +1′s are meant to act as an online form of a word-of-mouth advertising campaign and may take some time to build.

One way to do this is to install +1 buttons on your websites, allowing visitors to recommend your content directly from the page. Each page should have its own +1 button, but the buttons are customizable. You can add a single +1 button to your site which +1′s several pages at once, but some visitors might not appreciate this. Google Buzz buttons may become related to the Google+ Sparks feature, but they are not the same as the +1 button. Both can be used together.

Google’s plus one +1 is uniquely keyed to social networking, and this is one area in which it helps to have contacts whom you can ask to “like” your sites and pages. Some critics say Google may be too late, as most people are probably already tired of Facebook “Liking” all their friends’ sites and pages. Further, Google+ has not proven as popular as Facebook and other social networks, despite its early growth spurt. Google has made two failed stabs at social networking recently – Google Wave and Google Buzz – and experts like to compare the three, even though Google+ has only been in trial phase since July, 2011. If Google+ does not last, +1 might not either, but the two are not completely dependent on the other’s success.

In the long-run, your properties will need a lot of +1′s for it to make a difference in traffic, so its effectiveness remains to be seen.


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