Google +1 Reporting in Webmaster Tools and Analytics

Posted by Amy Peveto on July 11, 2011

Art discussed the Google +1 button and its SEO value back in April; now that the button has been released globally, users who are logged in to Google when searching will be able to “+1” a website they recommend. But how can you track the value and impact of the +1 button on your website?

Getting started

Before you can get to all this juicy data, you need to add the +1 button to your website. Customize your button’s size, configure any advanced options, and paste the generated code where instructed. Depending on your website’s traffic, you may have to wait anywhere from two weeks to several months before you have enough actionable data.

Please note that the +1 button is not supported by Internet Explorer 6 or 7 — it simply will not appear in these browsers.

Measuring with Webmaster Tools

There are three reports in Google Webmaster Tools that you can use to measure how the +1 button affects your website’s traffic:

  1. Search Impact report - Do pages that have +1 recommendations get clicked on more often than those that don’t? Run this report to determine what effect the +1 button is having on your organic traffic.
  2. Activity report - Which pages are getting the most +1 recommendations? Should you create more content like that? Run this report to see which pages have been +1’d, how many times, and from which sources (whether on your website or from Google search).
  3. Audience report - Where are your biggest fans located? What can you do to cater more to them? Run this report to see geographic and demographic data about the users who have +1’d your pages.

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to verify your website on Google Webmaster Tools before you can see these reports.

Measuring with Analytics

If you’re interested in digging even deeper, consider trying out Social Plugin Tracking in Google Analytics. Just place the provided JavaScript on your website, and the three reports listed below will help you see which types of sharing is happening on your pages.

  1. Social Engagement report - Are people who +1 your pages staying on your website longer than those who share your content on Twitter, or vice versa? Run this report to see how behavior changes for visitors who click on +1 buttons — or any other social action, such as sharing content on Twitter or Facebook.
  2. Social Actions report - On which social media platforms is your content being shared? Run this report to track social actions (+1 clicks, Tweets, Facebook shares, etc.) taken on your website.
  3. Social Pages report - Which pages are getting the most positive attention? Run this report to compare all the pages on your website so see which are attracting the highest number of social actions.

Use data to improve

The +1 button is a great opportunity for businesses who are still trying to get top ranking in Google for their chosen keywords. But even if your website is highly trafficked, there is still much you can learn from adding the +1 button to your site, and tracking its performance. You may learn some surprising things about which content is most popular, and get some ideas for creating more content that brings even more visitors to your website.

[Image: Google]

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