Google +1 SEO Advantages and Implementation

Google +1 is the latest Google tool. It allows users with Google accounts to share their interest in any content to their other connections, similar to how “Facebook Like” works. Google +1 is a social media tool that is easy to implement on your website. This article will teach you how to do so, and discuss its SEO advantages.

Technical Background of Google +1

Before we get started, here is a quick summary of Google +1 and its background:

1.) Any user with a Google account can +1 your website. This is true if a person is logged into Google at the same time they are browsing content on any website with a Google +1 button. In search results, a person can also see this button, although there are some observed limitations (see below).

2.) Google +1 can both be implemented in non-Google websites and in Google search results. See screenshot:

In a particular observation of two Google accounts on the same IP address, the first Google account is owned by a webmaster that adds Google +1 to his website and in particular uses the Google +1 to share his interest with other users.

The second Google account is owned by another person that does not use Google +1 at all. Whether they are using the same browser or a different browser while accessing the Internet at the same time from one public IP address, only the first Google account will see the Google +1 button in the search results. The second Google account will never see Google +1 in the search results, even though the second user is logged in to his Google account.

This implies that Google +1 cannot be easily manipulated by increasing its count simply by having different Google accounts on the same location.

3.) You cannot implement Google +1 in private pages. Examplea of a private page are pages which are only accessible to you and a few people you have granted access to. Example of private pages are the admin pages of your website or any pages that cannot be accessed by public visitors, including search engine crawlers. The pages need to be publicly accessible before you can implement Google +1.

4.) Ideally, one URL in your site corresponds to one Google +1 button. But you can place more than one Google +1 button on any page as long as you are using the href attribute (to be discussed later) of the button. This attribute tells what URL the button is assigned to.

Basic Code Implementation

Most webmasters want to implement Google +1 on their site after being suggested to do so from a Google Adsense tip. If you are also a Google Adsense publisher, most likely you have received these messages as well.

In case you have not received an invitation, you can do some very basic implementation following the steps below (the steps are applicable to any dynamic website or blog)

1.) Login to your administrative panel.
2.) Open a template file in your site that contains the </body> tag.
In Blogger there is only one template file to edit so its not an issue. For other CMS’ like WordPress, this is the footer.php in your theme files.
3.) Copy the code below just before the </body> tag:

<script type="text/javascript" src="

With the body and HTML closing tag, it will look like this:

 

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

The main advantage of adding this in the footer section is that it reduces the effect of JavaScript loading in your overall page load time. Most JavaScripts are implemented in the header section. But the Google +1 JavaScript can be implemented in the footer.

After editing, this JavaScript code can be found on all pages of your website before the closing of the </body> tag.

4.) Since one URL in your site corresponds to one Google +1 button, you need to add this one line of code somewhere between <body> and </body>:

<g:plusone></g:plusone>

The code above will produce the Google +1 button somewhere on your page (depending upon where you paste it). Supposing your blogger template has this code in the sidebar, you can add Google +1 like this:

<h2 class="sidebar-title"><$I18NLinks$></h2>
<ul> 
<li><a href="http://yourblog.blogspot.com/resources.html">Resources</a></li>
<li><g:plusone></g:plusone></li>      
</ul>

This is how it looks like in Blogger:

For WordPress users, this can be found in two template files: post.php or page.php.

It depends where you want it to be implemented. It can be in the sidebar or in your post content.

Advanced Code Implementation

Blending the Google +1 button nicely with Facebook likes or other buttons:

In most cases, you might have a combination of Facebook Likes and Google +1 on your website. This is good and flexible because if users are logged in either to their Facebook or Google account, they can like or +1 your content. Supposing initially you only have the Facebook Like code and then would like to implement the Google +1 button beside it, you can use HTML tables:

<table border="0">
<tbody><tr>
<td><!–Put your Facebook Like Code here–> </td>
<td><g:plusone></g:plusone></td>
</tr>
</tbody></table>

This is how it looks:

Adding more than one Google +1 button on a page

There are some instances where you might need to add a Google +1 button beside your navigation links. This allows any user to +1 the URL without the need to visit the page. In this situation, you need to define the href attribute of the button. The syntax is below:

<g:plusone href="http://www.example.com/yourcontent1.html"></g:plusone>
<g:plusone href="http://www.example.com/yourcontent2.html"></g:plusone>
<g:plusone href="

Take note that each of those Google +1 buttons are leading to different URLs. You can put all of those buttons on one page, clearly indicating where it belongs (the navigation menu for example or image thumbnails showing your products).

Concerns about Duplicate content issues

If you are using this code without the href attribute:

<g:plusone></g:plusone>

Google +1 will use the canonical URL of that content. Supposing two pages exist having the same content:

http://www.example.com/index.php?id=1 (Canonical URL)
http://www.example.com/index.php?id=1&sort=decreasing

The best practice is to use link rel canonical tags along with Google +1. So in the header section in both pages you should have:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/index.php?id=1" />

And then you can simply use the Google +1 button in both of those pages without any possibility of canonical issues:

<g:plusone></g:plusone>

If your website has some canonical issues and you are not using link rel canonical tag, you can declare the canonical URL in the href attribute of the Google +1 button code.

Why Google +1 is Important in SEO

Most websites are implementing the Facebook Like button. Google +1 is new as of May 2011 and there are fewer sites on the Internet that implement this button, and fewer users are actually clicking the button. But this is important to search engine optimization for the following reasons:

1.) Google reliance on social media signals to evaluate great and useful content in the web for better ranking results: http://www.x-alt.org/2011/01/google-uses-social-media-as-a-ranking-signal-confirmed-in-video/ is one reason you should put some importance on Google +1. If properly used, Google can use the data available to any social media signals such as Google +1 to judge the quality of the content or website.

Google acquisition of PostRank: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/Google-Buys-PostRank-for-Social-Media-Analytics-720858/ again shows how important social media to Google today.

2.) If someone with influence (or a person with a lot of contacts sharing the same interest) will +1 your post or services. His/her contacts will know this and in return they will visit your page or even buy your service.

If you are selling something or offering some service in your website, Google +1 can help attract some “targeted” traffic to your site. “Targeted” means visitors that have a higher chance of buying your products or service.

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