Google+: The Basics
You may remember “Google Buzz”, Google’s recent failed attempt to create a social network. Google+ seems to compensate for its predecessor’s shortcomings: for starters, it’s already enjoying more of a “buzz” than poor “Buzz” ever did.
Since its release about 2 weeks ago, Google+ is invite only. You need to be asked by someone already inside to join one of their “Circles”. Splendid! We love exclusivity. And so do thousands of other people. Bummer.
For the time being, Google+ profiles are supposed to be for people and not businesses. Google is attempting to keep its social network old-school-style: a place for real people to share real news, without being chased by marketers and companies trying to sell things. There will be Google+ profiles for businesses in the future, but for now it’s as clean as Switzerland.
Who’s Popular on Google+?
So ho’s Got the Most Google+ Followers?
Google+ Statistics is a nice little site set up by Google that allows you to track the top 50 most followed Google+ profiles. Here’s the score at the time of writing:
- Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder): 98,608 followers
- Larry Page (Google co-founder & CEO): 54,948 followers
- Sergey Brin (Google co-founder & ): 42,077 followers
- Robert Scoble (tech enthusiast): 29,814
- Vic Gundotra (Google Senior VP): 28,952
- Leo Laporte (tech journalist): 27,211
- Kevin Rose (entrepreneur): 23,244
- Matt Cutts (Google engineer): 22,322
Lots of Google guys are on this list. But Facebook forefather Mark Zuckerberg reigns supreme. A great real-life example of “irony” for fifth graders.
A Social Network and a Button
Both Google and Google+1 have to do with sharing web content through online social connections.
Google+1 is the button. Google+ is the social network. Repeat until understood.
Google believes you’re more likely to look at content that was already “filtered” by people you know. If a friend or colleague of yours has already visited and likes a website, it’s more likely that you’ll also get something out of it. The concept spares you the trouble of sifting through endless **** and points you straight to the meat.
Many +1 buttons can already be seen online. You can spot them on blog posts next to Facebook “Like” buttons, when logged into your Gmail account, and more. When you clicking on one, it turns blue to signify you have “recommended” something (see below example).
Adding a Google+1 Button to Your Website:
- From the website builder go to Add > Widgets > HTML
- Click on the “Google Plus1” button
- Click “Settings” and follow the instructions here to set size and language preferences.
How +1 Can Boost Site Traffic
+1 buttons stand out in search results. We’re more interested in results that people have already visited and recommended for us, right? This can lead to a traffic increase for sites bearing +1 buttons, with more visitors clicking and entering them through organic searches.
You can even check how Google+1 has affected your site’s traffic using the latest version of Google Analytics. Go to the “Visitors” section and click Social > Action. From here you can see how many visitors interacted with your +1 button and other social media.
Impact on Site Traffic
As with all things social media these days, the impact on site traffic is not cut and dry. There’s the new social data in Analytics, and Google’s Site Statistics breakdown. But search guru Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand sums it up quite nicely:
Each site’s own traffic will vary, of course. Google+ might turn out to be great for one; not so much for another. The same can already be true of Twitter and Facebook.