Google AdWords and the New +1

SMS Text

There has been a burst of posts about the new Google +1 button and SEO, even an awesome discussion on Sphinn. It does seem to have the biggest impact with SEO and algorithms over there, but I see the bigger impact on the paid side.

I’m not sure how popular this feature will become, or if will be retired in 3 months like some other Google efforts, but if it does stick around, there are some ramifications to consider. Please keep in mind that only signed in, Google Profile users can use the +1 system right now. Google account holders can see +1s but you can’t give a +1 without a Google Profile.

Quality Score

Right now, AdWords states that the +1’s will have no impact on Quality Score, and that makes sense. Quality Score is all about relevance of your keyword to ad to landing page. The +1 is about recommending things, not about saying “this is more relevant than the other ads.”

Breathe a little easier now, but I don’t expect that to always be the case. I’m not saying that it will be a negative if your ad doesn’t get +1s, but I can see it being a bonus later on. It’ll take some time before that happens though — something to keep in the back of your mind.

Until then, a +1 will help convert some users and this will increase clicks and maybe conversions. The increase in clicks can help with your account performance indicators.


The issue with all of this is spamming of the system, one reason to keep them out of the quality score. But spamming in the AdWords system happens already. We have click fraud and a number of other things happening within and outside the AdWords system. Good is good at seeing and disregarding spam already, I can see them being on top of it here too.

In this case, Google tracks your +1s and know what account the votes are from. So I am sure there will be a filter, or accounting for those +1s from new accounts. The +1s from good accounts will weigh more in the future. Remember in social that there is a weighting for authority accounts. I expect the same here.


What I’ll be interested to see is the metrics that come from this new indicator. Will advertisers be able to see how many likes they have gotten? Google has said that we will be able to see which ads get more, but total numbers?

Will we get metrics that show us fraudulent likes? Will our accounts be in trouble for fraudulent likes? Doubtful as we don’t have control of it, but this space is going to be the most interesting, I think. We don’t have much control over who likes us and who else is in those people’s social circle, but it would be nice to know how many are being received and compare to performance.

Ad Writing

A friend of mine recently sent over this screenshot:

Figure 1: SEO Calls to Action, Not Allowed in PPC via Dr. Peter Meyers

Please be aware that this is not going to work on the paid side. Like “Click Here,” ad text that influences the +1 button will not be approved or allowed. [Hat tip to @JoannaLord for that one]

Kate Morris
Kate Morris is an SEO Consultant for Distilled Consulting in Seattle, WA. You can find her on twitter @katemorris.
Kate Morris

Latest posts by Kate Morris (see all)

Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.

Comments are closed.

8 thoughts on “Google AdWords and the New +1

  1. Even though it may not have a direct impact, +1 could still have some influence on quality score since it could potentially affect CTR, one of the bigger factors that determine QS.

  2. I haven’t seen it on my searches yet, but agree, it will have an influence on CTR’s. The frontend on Search Results will be very similar to business reviews for Local Listings. Gotta do anything to make your listing stand out amongst the rest. Thanks for the article Kate!

  3. I’m interested to see where this all ends up. Lately I think that Google has been all over the map. This +1 thing could be just another “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” attempt. Feels like just competing with Facebook for small element of a space that they dominate.

  4. For years Google has made it easy for advertisers to spend money in the very popular AdWords program, but it has made it extremely difficult for advertisers to get answers to their questions. Today Google announced that it’s now providing phone support. Jeez, it took them long enough!

    AdWords is the program that allows companies to advertise on Google’s site. Advertisers bid on keywords, and depending upon their bid and how many clicks their ad generates, they can rise to the top of the sponsored results in a Google search. The advertisers pay for each click they get. So rather than pay for an ad view, the advertiser is paying for a click (meaning the Web surfer is going to the advertiser’s site). This method of advertising can be very effective, but it’s not cheap. AdWords is most likely Google’s main source of revenue, so it’s quite surprising that it has taken this long to offer phone support.

  5. I’m glad to see the +1 button but Google needs to take it to the next level or it is going to become the next Google Base. Remember that? No? Exactly.

  6. Even though this article is a bit dated, I think it’s still very relevant. In my own experience, I worked with my SEM team to integrate +1’s into a small test of Google ads. We saw our CTR’s jump 20%. The reality is that the +1’s add authority and relevance to consumers as they’re searching.