Is Google+1 already the most important button to add to your site?

When I started building sites again (I started again in 2007 having had a few sites around 1999), Google search traffic was the traffic source to be going after. While there were of course other traffic sources for certain verticals (slashdot, digg, reddit e.t.c.), if you weren’t at or near the top in the Google SERPs, you were nowhere.

Fast forward to today and with the rise and rise of twitter and facebook, while organic Google traffic is for many sites still the main or a very large source of traffic, there are also social alternatives that can bring a great deal of traffic.

At the end of March Google announced the +1 button, a button similar to twitter’s tweet button and Facebook’s like button. Only a few months later Larry Page announced on the Google Q2 earnings call that users are already clicking the +1 buttons 2.3 billion times a day.

The +1 button is in itself an interesting proposition, being a sort of meta social network even before the release of the google plus social network proper.
It draws on your social graph from Gmail and Talk contacts, Reader and Buzz followings and of course now Google+ circles. Drawing from that graph, it shows next to search results your contacts have “+1’d”.

While Facebook and Twitter shares can deliver a viral (but usually) short term traffic boost, +1 can create a long-lasting increase in traffic to the +1’d page (by way of increased click through rate from the SERP).
Google’s result pages have been getting busier over the last couple of years, but +1’s and the experimental authorship initiative[1] will create a competitively advantageous highlighting effect to certain results.

This is of course without mentioning the potential for Google using the +1 data in its search ranking algorithms. Google has already been using Facebook like and share data and presumably until the end of the twitter data deal it was/is using tweet data as ‘social proof’ too. The folks over at SEOmoz have carried some excellent testing to determine just how much of an influence this data has on rankings.

Luckily for you, the Google+1 button is also one of the easiest buttons to add to your pages. While Facebook requires you to add various XML namespaces and open graph tags (including specifying the page URL) to your document head, the Google+1 button crawls this data automatically.

As an experiment, I’ve just finished adding the +1 button in a prominent area on Arsenal News, a well established site relevant to this article only in that it currently gets a significant proportion of its visitors from twitter. I’m going to be adding the button to most (if not all) of my sites soon, but I will watch this one in particular with interest, to see if the addition changes the traffic mix at all.

[1] – And I’ll be adding the rel=author tag to my google+ wordpress plugin in one of the next updates. back to post

  • Mikael Pittam

    Here’s a short tutorial I wrote on how to add the +1 button to your Tumblr theme –

  • Marco van Beer

    There are even sites now where you can buy google +1’s, like

    • +devs

      And they are, in my opinion, a pointless waste of money.

  • Camilo Olea

    Nice article. I dont think its “the” most important button to add to any site yet, but it definitely is a must. Being property of Google, it will obviously impact search.


  • Clifton Hill

    Can’t add the +1 button to a blogger html/javascript box. Weird. Is there a fix?

  • cbahm

    Hi, my photo is missing from my Google card now at Did something in last update break it? I see yours has the same issue on this page.

    • Mliviu

      Yes, it did. All pictures and followers conters are gone.

      • +devs

        Fixed in 0.4.5

    • +devs

      It was a change at Google’s end. I’ve released a new version (0.4.5) which fixes the problem.

  • LezleyDavidson

    My googlecard is borked too. No picture and no circles anymore. Deleted, then re-installed. Same.
    It’s a really simple, nicely designed Plus badge. Please fix. *sadface*

    • +devs

      It was a change at Google’s end. I’ve released a new version (0.4.5) which fixes the problem.

  • Remont2012

    не работает!

  • LezleyDavidson

    Fixed and running swell now!

  • Anonymous

    It is so easy to use Google +1, It is very nice to share something with society. Visit my site to share it with your friend:

  • seo master

    Promoting google+ votes is becoming a very hot business. Using these types of services could have negative or positive affects on SEO.
    We just have to see how google treats them. Another place to buy google plus votes is
    Will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few months.

  • J Das

    In 0 people’s circles —have a prob in counting

  • sultan

    we see google+ votes is one of the top social stuff but here is also many site like that now its time to see their activities and how much they will satisfy us with their performance. will come here to see your reply, thanks.

  • sultanarefin

    Google+ really a popular thread today.Its create challenges with other social media like facebook etc.
    I am also a user of google+.Now a day every websites google+ likes are also most popular like facebook likes. Make new friends and connect your friends on google+ on

  • prince

    Sponsoredplus is a social marketing company focused on providing valuable google+ votes.just visit, Buying Plus Ones can drastically improve your search engine ranking.

  • Emdadul Islam

    The best way to find results on Google+ using the best Google Plus search engine

  • Charlesjhall56

    It is scary to think how much control Google is going to have when it come to how we look for information on the web. But if you are able to master Google + and properly link it with your own personal website or even the website of your company, it gives you access to one of the most populated portions of the internet. SEO and what you can do on Google + are key components of one another. For a better understanding of how Google + works and how you can use it to attract attention.

  • Howard

    Another change in Google’s side? I have 0 people in circles…..