Google +1 and Webmaster Tools: What does the New Data Mean for SEO?

We at SEO Inc. are analytic junkies, and when a new form of measurement comes out we must evaluate it. Google +1 is of course brand new. But we are already seeing signs of the sharing function in Google Analytics and Webmaster tools. In this post, we will take a look at how Google +1 and Webmaster Tools interface. Our goal is to simply understand the measurement units and the possible effects on SEO.

Search Impact, Activity and Audience

+1 Metrics in Webmaster Tools
+1 Metrics in Webmaster Tools

Google +1 in Webmaster Tools has three categories of data: Search Impact, Activity and Audience. Let’s take a look at each of these data categories, as there are subsets of analytical data in each.

Search Impact

The search impact report section has two main pieces of information, +1 annotated impressions and +1 annotated clicks. These two metrics measure the clicks and impressions that result from people using the +1 button within search results and on a webpage. There is an additional piece of data here that is meant to further gauge the success of +1 – CTR.

Search Impact Webmaster ToolsIn this section we are given data on CTR without +1, CTR with +1, and CTR Change with +1. So let’s take a moment and consider why this makes sense here. Well, when someone +1’s a web page, whether it be from the actual page or a search result, they are actually endorsing that piece of content to their friends. When a friend then logs into a Google Account and does a search, they can see the items that were +1ed by people they are connected to. Because the search result is endorsed by their friends, it is essentially recommended and thus should increase CTR for a particular search listing.

Here is the full list of data we can see in the Search Impact section.

  • +1 annotated impressions
  • +1 annotated clicks
  • All impressions
  • All clicks
  • CTR for a Search Listing without +1
  • CTR for a Search Listing with +1
  • CTR Change for a Search Listing with +1


The activity report mainly shows the amount of new +1s that take place within a given time period. +1s pertain to a particular URL. Furthermore, this feature takes it a step further by segmenting the data based on +1s from your website and +1s from other sites. According to Google, +1s from other sites are, “The number of times users have +1’d your page in search results or ads.”

Activity for +1 Webmaster Tools
Activity for +1 Webmaster Tools

This area also shows the change in +1s and overall new +1s. Let’s take a look at the entire data offering in this area.

  • New +1s from your site
  • Change in New +1s from your site
  • New +1s from other sites
  • Change in New +1s from other sites
  • Total New +1s


The new Google Webmaster Tools Audience tab is pretty straightforward, but it also shows some quality aggregate date. In this tab you can see the total number of unique users who +1’d your pages. This could be an important factor for overall rankings in the future. It also may influence PageRank for areas like the home page. As an additional perk in this section you can segment the data by time period, just as you can filter by time in the other sections.

Audience +1 Webmaster Tools
Audience +1 Webmaster Tools

Will Google +1 Data in Webmaster Tools be Important in the Future?

As of right now we see new data, but have only been given vague statements regarding the impact that +1s will have on search results. We have been told that more shares mean more visibility in search engines, but specifics are still a mystery. Although this is a common theme with Google, I would venture to say that Google will place quite a bit of emphasis on the +1 button in the future and make its importance to SEO overwhelmingly clear. With the competition Facebook is creating, the +1 button is Google’s main form of defense. The more power they can give to the button the more people will utilize it. The more they utilize the button, the more they will become ingrained in Google, and eventually, sign up for a Google+ Profile in the Google+ Project.

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