Does the plus one button improve search engine ranking ?

We all know about Google’s plus one button. What most of us don’t know is whether it is something more than a way for people to like our website our product. Since it’s made by Google, a lot of SEO specialists have suspected that Google may improve the search engine rankings of websites using the button, with the obvious end goal of making the button popular.

As with all things SEO, there’s no scientifically proven answer to this question. Even if Google does modify it’s search engine rankings in order to promote it’s own product (button) it will never admit it in public. All we can do is observe and assume.

random text generator

A couple of years ago I built a small util that generates random text. It helps designers by providing random text that looks real in their demos. You may have guessed by now that it’s called random text generator. It’s just a language selector and a form essentially so I’ve had just a couple of ads on top and on the side of the form just for the sake of it. The ads are bringing some change every month but nothing serious. The traffic is a few thousand page views a month.

When the plus one button came out, I though I’d give it a try on this tool and see how it goes. About four months ago I removed the top advertising banner and installed the button next to the logo as you can see in the image above. To my surprise the advertising revenue did not change at all, despite the fact that I’ve removed half the advertising space. I guess this is yet another reminder that advertising, when done on a small scale and without serious targeting is practically worthless.

However traffic from Google started rising almost immediately on a rate of 10% to 15% per month. The cumulative traffic growth over the last four months is around 50%. The best part is that in contrast to retweets and facebook likes the google plus button clicks stay. Any people with google+ friends who clicked the button will see it as a recommendation in their search results now and in the future. Of course facebook and twitter buttons have other uses and benefits and I’m not suggesting not to use them.

However the moral of the story here is that the Google plus one button seems to work very well and is definitely worth a top spot in any webmaster’s toolkit. Also since I’m promoting other products of mine on this website from time to time, it is a nice outcome to increase traffic and reduce advertising space. Of course none of the above is official and it’s just my personal observations, but I hope you get the point!

It seems others have also noticed SEO benefits from the +1 button.
The latest that caught my eye is a post from INC magazine.