The Google +1 button seemed out of place at first, people were already used to this type of buttons, but it wasn't clear what happened when you clicked the +1.Now that Google+ is rolling out, there is a more compelling reason to use it and Google, in anticipation of bigger usage of the button, has launched a couple of tools to see how social interactions affect your site.
First up, there are now +1 metrics in Google Webmaster Tools which make it easy to see if the +1 button has any effect on your website's search engine performance.
Specifically, it enables you to compare impressions and clicks for search results with and without a +1 annotation, a recommendation from a friend or simply an aggregate number of people who liked the link.
"+1 metrics in Google Webmaster Tools can show you how the +1 button affects the traffic coming to your pages," Google wrote.
"The Search Impact report gives you an idea of how +1‘s affect your organic search traffic. You can find out if your clickthrough rate changes when personalized recommendations help your content stand out," it explained.
Hopefully, clickthrough rates should be better for search results with +1 annotations, at the very least they should be the same as regular results.
Note that Google will only display +1 clickthrough stats if there is enough data to make a statistically valid comparison.
The second +1 tool in Google Webmaster Tools is the "Activity report" which, aptly enough, displays how many +1s your website gets from the button, whether on your site or from other places.
"Finally, the Audience report shows you aggregate geographic and demographic information about the Google users who’ve +1’d your pages. To protect privacy, we’ll only show audience information when a significant number of users have +1’d pages from your site," Google explained.
If you want even more detailed data, Google also debuted a Social Plugin Tracking for Google Analytics which enables webmasters to keep track of all social engagement activity, from the +1 button as well as the Facebook Like or the Tweet This and other buttons.