Wednesday, June 1st, 2011...5:06 pm

What We Know about Google Plus One

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Google +1 button for sites came out today and if you were signed up to receive the announcement you could get it right into your email inbox, otherwise you can see the setup page here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/ (official announcement on Google’s blog).

What do we know about this beast tho? Here are a few things I noticed so far:

  • To click a +1 button in the SERPs you need to sign up for the Google Labs experiment – to click a button on somebody’s site you only need to have a Google profile and be logged into your Google account
  • The button on the site behaves funny – different people may see different number of +1’s at the same time (poor synchronization? data not travelling fast enough between datacenters? anyone remember Google Dance – is this Google PlusOne Dance?)
  • No matter how many people +1 a site, in the SERPs you will only see mentions of those you are connected to +1’ing it
  • +1’s are like PageRank – they are a page characteristic, not a sitewide characteristic (i.e. if you +1 the home page 20 times but some internal page just 1 time the home page will show 20 +1’s and the internal one will only show one +1)
  • So far, there is no Google policy forbidding to place the +1 button on an empty page, or highlighting it by arrows, or encouraging users to click it, like there is with Google AdSense 🙂
  • Double clicking the +1 button kills your “vote” – so does clicking the button in the SERPs if you already did on the site itself and vice versa
  • When putting the +1 button on WordPress, you need to apply special tweaks for it to work for each specific page – just using the default code will make the button work for the home page only

Questions remaining unanswered for now:

  • How will +1’s affect a site’s rankings?
  • What will happen to a site that got a bunch of +1’s if the button is removed off it? (hat tip to Paul Madden)
  • Will placing the +1 button on a site / clicking it cause Google to index / recrawl the site faster / more often?
  • Will withdrawn +1’s affect sites negatively?

Overall, looks like Google rolled out the +1 button for sites in a great hurry, without taking much care of how it will work and what potential bugs and privacy concerns are out there. Site owners have already started placing the +1 buttons on their sites – as more sites adopt the button we will be seeing the effect it has on the web as a whole, the SERPs and our search (and I guess Google hoping, social too) behavior.

Have you noticed any other interesting things about the +1 button? Are you running any experiments with it? What questions it makes you ask? Feel free to share below!

3 Comments

  • The answers to a few of these are obvious though..

    Q: How will +1’s affect a site’s rankings?
    A: They mentioned using it as another data point in their algorithm, so.. upward. 🙂

    Q: What will happen to a site that got a bunch of +1’s if the button is removed off it?
    A: Nothing. The thing works based on the URL and the number of +1’s it gets. So changing URLs would be bad unless you did the 301 redirect and it eventually notices. But not having the button won’t change it’s ranking.

    Q: Will placing the +1 button on a site / clicking it cause Google to index / recrawl the site faster / more often?
    A: Probably not. Google is very cagey about their crawl speeds, but it is not likely that +1’s would make a difference.

    Q: Will withdrawn +1’s affect sites negatively?
    A: Yes, in that a taken away +1 won’t be adding to the +1 count anymore… So if not being positive anymore is negative, then sure.

  • >Q: How will +1’s affect a site’s rankings?
    >A: They mentioned using it as another data point in their algorithm, so.. upward. 🙂
    Obviously, but how strongly will it affect them? That remains to be seen 🙂

    >Q: Will placing the +1 button on a site / clicking it cause Google to index / recrawl the site faster / more often?
    >A: Probably not. Google is very cagey about their crawl speeds, but it is not likely that +1’s would make a difference.
    Who knows who knows! Google has been known for crawling faster sites with AdSense or other widgets from Google, why not +1?

    >Q: Will withdrawn +1’s affect sites negatively?
    >A: Yes, in that a taken away +1 won’t be adding to the +1 count anymore… So if not being positive anymore is negative, then sure.
    That’s an obvious fail by Google… I am not even talking about competitor “-1’ing” campaigns… Considerign how easy it is to withdraw your own vote, people will be doing it accidentally all the time.

  • I am using the plus 1 on my site, one thing about it is unlike facebook there is no easy way to gather followers! Just as random people visit