Your Guide to the Google +1 Button

As you have probably heard by now, Google has just launched the +1 button, which is essentially their way of competing with the Facebook Like button. If you haven’t heard, you have probably seen it popping up in Google search results and on websites. You can see mine is now neatly aligned with my other share buttons.

What Does Google +1 Do?

This is Google’s introduction video for the +1 button.

If you’re not a fan of people knowing what you like, or personalized search results in Google, you will want to read more about how the Google +1 button affects personalized search and how to set your search options so you’re not trapped in a filter bubble.

Also, since the recommendations are meant for your connections to see, you could end up in search results just like this.

Google Social Connections in Search

I personally see it as a way of branding – your face will show up more often now when people are connected to you via Gmail, Twitter, Quora, and other social networks. A nice little reminder that you are out there recommending great content. Just remember that anything you recommend via the +1 button (and other social networks) can now be found by anyone just in random search results.

What Happens When You Click on the Google +1 Button

Whenever you hover over a +1 button when logged in to your Google account, you will see the following tooltip, as I did on Mashable’s post about how you can Google +1 their stories.

Google +1 on Mashable

If you click on it, you’ll get a friendly popup confirming your decision to recommend the page or website you are on.

Google +1 Confirmation

They have a link to their privacy policy, which you will probably want to read (if you’re into privacy) before you click on one of these little goodies. You’ll only get this popup once – after that point, every time you click on the +1 it will automatically add the website to your recommendations on your Google Profile.

Google +1 Recommendations on Google Profiles

If you have mistakenly clicked on a +1 that you have changed your mind about recommending, you can click on the +1 button again to remove your vote, or you can go to your Google Profile, hover over the X and delete it.

How to Add Google +1 to Your WordPress Blog

This is for self-hosted versions of WordPress only – it does not apply for blogs on WordPress.com.

The implementation of the code is rather simple. If you visit Google’s +1 button code generator, you will get everything you need, including the option to customize your button between four different sizes to fit your site’s theme.

Google +1 Code Generator

What you will want to do is add the following javascript in your header.php file, or if your theme gives you a options panel to add scripts in your header, then add it there. For Thesis users like myself, that will be in the Site Options > Document Head > Additional Scripts.

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script>

Then you will want to place the following call for the button where you want the button to appear, preferably next to your other social sharing buttons which are probably in your single.php template or, for Thesis users, your custom_functions.php or Thesis Openhook box.

<g:plusone size="medium"></g:plusone>

You can see the full coding of my share buttons, now updated with the Google +1 in my social sharing buttons post.

What Does This Mean for Search Rankings?

Google has a nice little FAQ page for the +1 button that covers how recommendations for your site will affect search rankings. Essentially they elude to the fact that they will see how peer recommendations affect search quality. AKA, it will not hurt if your website, blog, and individual pages have lots of recommendations!

Is Google +1 More Important Facebook Like or Tweet Buttons?

Here’s how I see it. If you are looking for more traffic from Twitter, then the best way to get it is to make it easy for Twitter users to share your content with their followers. All it takes sometimes is that one Twitter follower with hundreds of thousands of followers to take your content from zero to viral with one tweet.

If you are looking for more traffic from Facebook, then the best way to get it is to make it easy for Facebook users to like or share your content with their friends as they take up some nice real estate on the user’s Facebook profile and in new feeds.

So should you replace Twitter and Facebook with Google +1? Probably not. Give your visitors the choice on how they want to share your content with their connections. Just add Google +1 as another way to share!

Your Google +1 Thoughts

Have you installed the button yet on your site? Do you feel it’s as powerful as other social sharing buttons? Share your thoughts, and your +1′s! :)

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Kristi,

    In the book Positioning, Al Ries talks about giving the customer LESS choice, i.e. this can be a good thing as the customer doesn’t get confused into making the wrong decision or getting distracted.

    Here’s the thing re +1.

    Giving them several SM icons to choose from may result in them NOT clicking at all – which one do I choose? – whereas lesser options (or just one!) may get more clicks.

    What to do?

    Decide which SM channel(s) is most important for one’s site and ditch/phase out the rest.

    This approach funnels your customers into making the decision that best suits YOUR strategy and those who would have clicked on others that are now missing are still likely to click as they’ve got clicking in their DNA anyway :)

    Ivan

    • says

      I actually took out one of my buttons instead of just adding on the new one Ivan. I looked at analytics and figured out which site brought the least amount of traffic and said goodbye to it. Since Google is my main traffic source, I don’t think adding this can be a bad idea as it has the potential to affect search rankings in the future! :)

        • says

          I felt it was slowing my site down a bit Ari. Which is sad because I’d really like to test out how it affects search results. I’ll probably try optimizing a few more things on my site and adding it again in a week or so.

  2. says

    I like this – yes, it is great for branding. Some peple are for and against it, but I’m for it…. in a way though, maybe Google is preparing us for something bigger that they may be working on? who knows…. it’s too similar to Facebook’s ‘like’ button – makes one think what is up. Google is always behind omething new all the time.
    Gabriella – The Stepford Wife just posted It’s All About Image- Really

  3. says

    Funny how some button gets the internet world stirring. I am not so sure that I need another button on my site. I get the possibility of additional traffic and popularity, but sheesh how many buttons do we need anyway? What happened to google buzz buttons by the way…didn’t happen I guess. I don’t see the google +1 amounting to much. I have a feeling it will fizzle unless google has some other plan they are not telling us about yet. I will wait to see what happens before I clutter my site up with more unnecessary buttons for the time being to see what becomes of this +1 thing.
    Ray just posted When Technlogy Fails

  4. says

    I have skipped all the posts and announcements till now, but you really chewed it up for me, so what I am going to do is add it today and that is it. We can “hate” it, as some are making comments on this button, but if it will bring something to my blog, I will try it. Off to do that :) Thanks for the summary and the explanation how to do it!
    Brankica just posted 11 Excuses that Prevent Bloggers from Writing an eBook

    • says

      A lot of people hate change, Google, or both Brankica. :) I say if Search Engine Land and Mashable feel it is important enough to add to their sites, then that’s good enough for me!

  5. says

    For the cost of a tiny little extra button taking space on your blog it offers promises of ranking and lots of ego stroking as your name shows up in Google searches. Google can’t lose with this can they? With authors names showing alongside recommendations auto syndicators will think twice. Thanks for the video link and instructions Kiki. This us my first visit result of reading Brankica’s tweet.
    Julia Hayes just posted Better Life Balance In Ten Minutes with Perth Chiropractor

  6. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I’ve been testing the button out for a while now and one thing that I like about is that you have the option to +1 any website when you are searching google. (It makes it easy to +1 a lot of your own content quickly if you do a search for your blog.) Though Google is not my search engine of choice when I am searching so it doesn’t help me unless I go out to specifically hit a lot of buttons while searching.

    Also it took some playing around to get the button to show up in my sharing bar on the side. I simply took the first line of code, put it in the sharing bar and then put the second line of code right after the first.
    Stacy just posted So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur

    • says

      Ah, you beat me to it then Stacy! :) I usually don’t mess with anything in the labs as they might not fully develop them depending on popularity, but this one is definitely on the rise!

    • says

      Maybe you can help me understand something, Stacy. If I’m searching for a keyword on Google and see a list of responses, I sometimes see (similar to the screenshot above) that someone I follow on Twitter had shared a Google result.

      That is, I’ll see something like:

      Shawn Smith shared this on Twitter.

      What would I see with this +1 system?

      Shawn Smith +1′d this

      ??
      Ari Herzog just posted When a Blog Has Its Own Twitter Account

    • says

      I didn’t get a lot of traffic from the LinkedIn button – I notice mine mostly comes from when I participate in the groups and answers. :)

  7. says

    I have added it myself and have our own article talking about it and potential benefit, again it may cause some people to consider noticing your article if they see a friend of theirs liked it and it was 4th down on the SERP list than the 1st page article which didn’t have someone the user know +1 it.

    This may cause a change in how SERP result click through ratio’s work, since it may mean 1st place may not always get the most clicks if other’s have more +1′s, or sites with more +1′s may get ranked better and climb up closer to 1st place. Not sure yet, but obviously with Google changing the SERP landscape again there will be all new strategies and recommendations for how to improve SERP results once people figure it out.
    Justin Germino just posted Beginner Tips for Dofollow Blog Commenting- Maximize SEO Benefits in 7 Steps

    • says

      I could see that Justin – maybe the first result doesn’t have a lot of votes, but if the third has the photo of one of your connections recommending it, then you might be more likely to click that result instead. Supposedly there is going to be integration with Webmaster Tools and Analytics, so maybe those will give us more idea how beneficial it is in the long run.

      • says

        Google Webmaster Tools already got statistics for the +1 button but what I found was that it wasn’t affecting almost any searches. I don’t have that many connections that are searching for resources that my site has (and that people have given a +1 to) so there was no reason for me top keep the button on there.
        Techie just posted Kindle 3G Web Browsing

  8. says

    I don’t really understand the concept of plus one yet. If you have 5 sites with similar content, each with 10 plus 1s, how do you rank them in search results? Which of those sites is more relevant, based on the ratings? Users should be able to describe more specifically what they exactly like on that page instead of just blindly like something. People like things for different reasons all the time.

    • says

      I don’t think this will be the only way Google determines where a site should rank Andreas. It might be the combination of other social signals, links, traffic, and then the +1 votes.

    • says

      I didn’t want to have too many buttons Brad, so I decided to replace one when I added the Google button. I just went and looked at my analytics, and my top referrers are Google, Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon. LinkedIn brought in less traffic (mostly because I haven’t been utilizing the groups and such like I should) so I figured that was the right one to swap with.

  9. says

    Good article, and in general I kind of agree with the direction Google is taking. This should help move good content higher in the ranks, while spam sites are pushed down…

    However, I am also concerned that this could create an ‘echo chamber’ effect. In other words, once a couple of people recommend a certain piece of news, will it start getting pushed up unnaturally high? Will you still be able to easily get good, but conflicting information?

    I do a lot of research and much of the information I look at seems to be in conflict. I don’t want to have some of that excluded because it isn’t popular.

    -Richard
    Richard just posted Gun Giveaway

    • says

      I think Google is going to keep a close eye out on any kind of fishy activity Richard. But they are already looking at social signals, so this shouldn’t be too far from being a factor (but not absolute determiner) within search rankings.

  10. says

    Kristi – I think the fact that an article about the +1 Button on a blog that is as widely read as Kikolani.com only has 16 clicks as of 2:09 pm (CST), (versus 94 Tweets, and 23 Facebook Likes and Shares) demonstrates that it is not going to be an immediate success. Time will tell. I think it likely will gain momentum over time, but that is no sure thing. I’ve manually added it to a couple of the articles on my Drupal powered blog as the Drupal +1 module has not been released yet. I’m taking a wait and see attiute before adding +1 buttons to my ecommerce sites.
    Randy just posted Bing Seems To Be Attempting To Ignore The Google 1 Button

    • says

      I think it’s just too new for a lot of people Randy, plus it relies upon you having a Google account to use it. I’m guessing there are more people with Twitter and Facebook than Google accounts. :)

    • says

      Thanks Fiona. I think the Google +1 will take a while before it becomes mainstream, and in the meantime probably the most users of it will be SEO and online marketing types. Will check out the site you recommended too!

  11. says

    I’ve seen a few of these plus 1 articles in the last few days, but I hadn’t read any until this one Kristi, and the honest reason why is because you have a natural way of explaining things so people actually understand and can apply them. This was great and I appreciate very much you taking the time to do such an extensive article on the subject.

    Thanks for being great,

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion just posted Virtual and Online Friendships- An Epiphany from The Sales Lion

    • says

      Thanks Marcus! I try to remember to approach it from both sides – people like (or should want) to know what a button will do before they add it to their site for their visitors to click on. This button will do on Google what Facebook Like is already doing on Bing as far as showing up in search results.

    • says

      I didn’t think they’d be that fast at coming out with plugins for it Sire, but that’s definitely good to know! :)

  12. says

    Hi Kristi
    Looks as though we are all going to have to add the +1 buttom.

    Sounds as though it is a vote for your site when people click it.

    BTW – came over from Wayne John’s site.
    Wayune has installed the button but he does recommend caution on something so new.

    Thanks for a great review.
    Keith Davis just posted The Coolest Voice on the Internet

  13. says

    Hi, Kristi
    I guess this option and this button can prove to be effective but I think people will need time to realize the whole potential of this option.
    The information was really interesting and now I gonna have the same with my blog – to install the button there. Thanks.

  14. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I haven’t install Google +1 to my blogs site.. I will install it and trying to follow your instruction.. I am excited to discover if it is really helpful and effective.. But I guess it is effective because Google wouldn’t launched this if it is not helpful.. Thanks for sharing Kristi. Looking forward to read more informative article from you..
    NotCathy just posted Perfect Micro Crisper Review We’ll See About That!

  15. says

    Hi Kristi,
    It sounds like a great idea from Google. However we have to keep in mind that Google Wave also sounded like a great idea. The thing is it may work if Google is learning with their mistakes. Those mistakes started when they let Orkut decline, they have to start thinking more social and less engineered.

  16. says

    As an SEO or SMO consultant, I was excited when I first heard about this a few months back. Your article certainly drives home the benefits. I am a bit uninspired by +1 for the moment but realize it will surely take off once it is adopted.

    I feel context and content is what drives these sorts of voting systems. Google lacks on the community side, which is why I see +1 as a little more than what Digg currently offers. What do you think?

    My hopes are that Google expands upon this wonderful idea so it succeeds where Google Buzz failed. Certainly, this brings more value to the overall Google arena but only time will tell… 8)

  17. says

    Okay, I kinda had to laugh at myself because I’ve been seeing +1 everywhere today (stayed away from the internet the last couple days) and was thinking “Duh! Google implemented +1 ages ago!” Then I looked more closely and saw we could now add the button on our sites, and had a DOH moment. =) Sometimes my inner Luddite gets the better of me, lol.

    After reading what Wayne John had to say, I was still a little skeptical. After reading your much more in-depth virtual tour, I’m convinced. I would think that Google’s made it too easy to add it to any Blogspot blogs, since they’re all Google children anyway. In this case, I have no excuse *not* to have it!

    Thanks for shining light on this for me, Kristi! =)
    Delena
    Delena Silverfox just posted The Natural Store Coupon Code

  18. says

    Thank you Kristi for not only showing me the what what on this +1 bidniz but then showing me how to set it up on my blog!!! Very thoughtful of you to put them together!

    The way google is integrating search with your “Connections” is wow, seems very compelling. I can’t wait to see how this all pans out for Google and their users like your and me. :)
    Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 just posted The Stronger Than Paint Thinner Selling Stories- Zig Ziglar’s Spiritual Journey – Part 1

  19. says

    Hi Kristi,

    Thank you so much for adding value to this post by sharing screen shots and tutorial on how to add Google +1 to WordPress Blog. I have seen many posts about Google +1 but few provide an in-depth look on how to add this button and what happens when you click on the +1.

    I appreciate your take on it and as I am technically challenged, I will add it this weekend. If not, I know they have a plugin to make it easier too.

    Thanks
    Diana
    Diana Simon just posted Enough Fluff and Farts

  20. says

    The Google +1 Button is the most complicated and confusing button yet. In fact, so much so, that it is slow in catching on. Many people just don’t know what to make of it. Specially laypeople not in the blogging or website business. It remaigns to be seen if this may be another one of Googles failed ventures like Google Wave or Google Buzz. They are both still there, but that’s about it, nobody uses them.
    Thomas Retterbush just posted 5 Best iPhone Twitter apps

  21. says

    I am definitely on the fence with the +1 button. Maybe the issue I have with it is that I am not much of an “early adopter.” It seems to me that for most people, the +1 button is going to be a real abstract concept. The more abstract something is fewer people will participate and will participate more slowly.

    For instance Facebook is a pretty simple concept. You create a profile, connect with friends, and communicate with them; Pretty simple, 500 million users. On the other hand Twitter; its purpose, and how to use it, is a bit more abstract, so fewer people are using it and its general adoption has been much slower; only 15 million “active” users.

    +1 is even more abstract. So, in my opinion there will be even fewer users using it and it will be adopted much more slowly.

    I think bloggers, internet marketers, SEOs, and the like, see a potential for promotion. But, the every day Joe on the street could probably care less about +1.
    Tom just posted Searchlights Featured On Fact Or Faked Season 2 Premiere

  22. says

    This Google +1 is like a voting system. I think it has the same purpose as Pinging Blogs. Just makes your post more popular in SERP. :D Though +1 is more convenient!

  23. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I am curious about the paragraph which begins, “If you’re not a fan of people knowing what you like…” It’s my understanding that there is no way to opt out of Google relevant searches. Even if you log out of your Google account, you are still receiving location-/IP-specific results. We are all trapped in a Google filter bubble if we search on Google.

    The link provided says when I disable I will “not allow Google to use my +1′s and other profile information to personalize content or ads on non-Google websites. I will not see +1 recommendations from people I know when visiting those sites.” This says nothing about search.

    It seems to me that Google reserves the right to use +1 to filter what you see on a Google search regardless of whether you disable +1 for non-Google sites. It is my understanding that there are no “pure” Google results anymore, and this concerns me not only for my searches but also for my SEO efforts.

    Thanks for this excellent tutorial about adding +1 to a WordPress site.