Google has announced changes to the +1 button that could mean huge things for sites and businesses in terms of driving traffic. Google has turned the +1 button into what it should have been when Google+ was launched: a means of sharing content to your Google+ Circles. Or in other words, Google's version of the "like" button.
Do you expect Google's +1 buttons to have a major impact on traffic? Let us know what you think.
Before, the +1 button was basically just a way of telling Google that content was good enough to be considered a good search result. It presumably still serves this function as well. +1s simply showed up in the +1s tab on a user's profile. You know, where none of your friends see them.
Now, you can share content with your circles more easily like you're using a social network - which you now are.
"Clicking the +1 button is a great way to highlight content for others when they search on Google.," says Google's Vic Gundotra. "But sometimes you want to start a conversation right away—at least with certain groups of friends. So beginning today, we're making it easy for Google+ users to share webpages with their circles, directly from the +1 button. Just +1 a page as usual and look for the new 'Share on Google+' option. From there you can comment, choose a circle and share."
"When you share content from the +1 button, you’ll notice that we automatically include a link, an image and a description in the sharebox," he adds. "We call these '+snippets,' and they're a great way to jumpstart conversations with the people you care about."
Publishers can customize +snippets. You can alter the markup to fit the kind of content you provide. "You may already be using this markup to build rich annotations for your pages on Google Search," says Group Product Manager Daniel Dulitz. "If not, marking up your pages is simple. Just add the correct schema.org attributes to the data already present on your pages. You’ll set a name, image, and description in your code."
More on the markup types here.
A New inline annotations feature may remind you a bit of some Facebook social plugins. "Now, when a person visits a page that someone they know has +1’d, they can see a name and face reminding them to pay special attention to your content," says Duliz.
This looks like this:
You can add inline annotations by updating your +1 button code from the configuration tool.
A report from BrightEdge last month found that adoption of the Google +1 button was already on the rise. The launch of Google+ itself only served to increase this adoption, and this new functionality should increase it even more. Why not use it on your content? It can influence your search rankings for the better and encourage social traffic.
Google says that in July the button crossed 2 billion daily views. Now it gets over 4 billion daily views, and that only stands to increase. You have to consider that Google+ itself is still in its infancy and that Google is going to continue to integrate it more and more into its huge spectrum of products. Look for it in Gmail, for example. The +1 button is on every post in Google+ and people will only get more used to clicking it, which will likely have them clicking it more on web content. Google+ posts are also showing up in Google's social search results now. Google even pushed the +1 button to the Android Market with the latest update, which should have tremendous visibility value for Android apps.
In late June, Google added +1 button data to Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. In WMT, there is a Search Impact report, which shows how +1′s affect your organic search traffic. “You can find out if your clickthrough rate changes when personalized recommendations help your content stand out,” says Google software engineer Dan Rodney. “Do this by comparing clicks and impressions on search results with and without +1 annotations. We’ll only show statistics on clickthrough rate changes when you have enough impressions for a meaningful comparison.”
An Activity report shows how many times your pages have been +1′d, from buttons on your site, as well as on other pages like Google Search.
An Audience report will show you aggregate geographic and demographic data about who is using the +1 button with your content. Google only shows this info, however, when a “significant” number of users have +1′d pages. They don’t say what number they consider “significant” to be.
Users will find a +1 Metrics menu on the side of the page, where each of these reports will be able to be found.
As we reported before, some site owners have already been getting some significant traffic from Google+. These new sharing features for the +1 should drive that traffic much more, with the added bonus of having a direct positive impact on the search rankings of that content.
Do you see any reasons not to use the Google +1 button? Let us know in the comments.