Yesterday Google made a post about their new +1 project available here http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/06/1-reporting-in-google-webmaster-tools.html and how sometimes these new features don’t really have much impact until you are able to view the data associated with those features. Well that is what Google wants to make available to website marketers, managers, and owners by providing report data in two separate locations. The first is in the Google Webmaster Tools account and the second is available in your Google Analytics account.
The first new report in Webmaster Tools is the Search Impact report. Google provided an example report which you can see below. The most interesting thing that catches my eye is their primary focus on CTR and how this new feature affects that. I’ve been saying for some time that Google is placing a lot more weight on the CTR as a factor in determining your search engine position for an organic search. You can find a relevant post here. http://blog.beacontechnologies.com/google-seo-factors-2011/
This new report will allow you to measure the change in CTR associated with this feature. The higher the number of +1s the higher the position, the higher the CTR, the higher quality. It looks like this new feature is going to play a significant role in Google’s Organic ranking algorithm over the next several years. For the longest time Google had to rely on other websites “casting their vote” for another website’s authority in the form of links. This is what the Google algorithm was based on and what made it so successful. It was also what spawned a new industry of link building and manipulation of the results.
Google appears to be shifting from a website’s vote of importance to more of a personal vote of authority by allowing users themselves to cast their vote in the form of their “+1″. Their is no doubt that spammers will begin strategies to manipulate this but for the time being it appears that the web is evolving and understands that what people say is important is better than what a set of codes or website says is important.
So how do you make sure you take advantage of this and get a leg up on the competition? Google provides the information you need in your Google Webmaster tools account. Once you are logged in, you will need to click on the new Social link in the left navigation and then click on the “add +1 button” at the top of the reports pages. It’s a simple set of codes that references the primary JS file and the other to actually display the button.
Once you have the +1 button installed and are using it to it’s full potential, you will want to see how the users who have given you their vote of confidence interact on your website differently. Do they bounce less, access more pages, convert higher, spend more money, or any of a number of questions you might have? Well Google Analytics will help you answer these questions by automatically including these statistics in your UI with three new reports. Their is a social engangement report that segments your social users similar to a custom segment, then there is a social sources and actions report which allows you to see who does what actions from which social network. And then their is the Page report that allows you to see social metrics associated with pages so you can get specific with your data and tie it to specific content.
And as usual, you can create all kinds of drill down reports by adjusting the dimensions and other report features to create a custom view into your website user’s social behavior. We don’t currently have a ton of data in these reports yet because they are so new so we are still playing around and seeing what we can discover. There is surely more to come about this and I will post some updates to new posts as am sure this is going to be a hot topic for some time now.