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How to measure your Google+ traffic

Posted by Kristi Hines
Social media marketing
How to measure Google+ and Google+1 button activity from Wordtracker - the leading keyword research tools

Now that you (hopefully) have had your Google+ personal profile and business page set up, you are probably wondering how you can track your Google+ success. Kristi Hines illustrates the ways you can track Google+ and Google+1 button activity in relation to your website.

View Google+ shares of your website on Topsy

The first thing many people like to know is whether their website is being shared on Google+ - and by whom. If anyone has shared a link from your website on Google+ publicly, you can see the statistics by visiting the following URL on the social media search engine, Topsy:

http://plus.topsy.com/s/domain.com?window=a

Just replace domain.com with your domain, and you will see the following:

Google plus sharing on Topsy

Click on the orange '# more' links next to each post to see the people who shared your website’s pages, along with the comments from each Google+ user.

Google plus user comments

This is a great way to find out if your audience is active on Google+ and what content on your website is popular amongst Google+ users. You might even catch possible reputation management issues that tend to arise on social networks.

Find out how much traffic Google+ drives to your website

Next on the list of Google+ analytics is Google Analytics itself and discovering how much traffic Google+ drives to your website.

Under your Traffic Sources > All Traffic, you will want to find out where the two Google+ referral URLs (plus.google.com and plus.url.google.com) ranks in your overall traffic generators.

Keep in mind the launch dates - June 28, 2011 (beta) and September 20, 2011 (public) when comparing your Google+ traffic referrals to other networks or to view the overall growth in referrals.

Google plus referral traffic

If you want to compare your Google+ traffic against other social media referrers, you can create an Advanced Segment. To do this, click on the 'Advanced Segments' tab in your Google Analytics dashboard (see the image below), then click on '+New Custom Segment'.

Name it Social Media, and then use the 'Source' dimension to add social media referrer domains including the ones from Google+ (plus.google.com and plus.url.google.com), Facebook (facebook.com), Twitter (twitter.com, hootsuite.com, and t.co), LinkedIn (linkedin.com), and other social networks that drive traffic to your site.

Google Analytics advanced segment

Once you’ve added your social media referrers, click 'Save Segment'. Then look at your Traffic Sources > All Traffic to see just those social media referrers and how they stack up against each other:

Google Analytics social media segment

When looking at your data, don’t just think about the number of visits. Look at the pages per visit, average time on site, and bounce rate to determine which social networks are best.

If you have goals set up in Google Analytics, be sure to see how your social media referrals are leading to goal completions by clicking on the 'Goal Set' in the Explorer. If Facebook sends you a ton of traffic, but Google+ sends you goal completions, then you will be able to determine which is more valuable.

Learn how +1’s affect clickthrough rates

Want to know the power of the Google +1 button on your website and how it impacts search?

Make sure your website is set up in Google Webmaster Tools to find out. You can add your website to Webmaster Tools and verify it using the Google Analytics code installed on your website. Once some data has been collected, you can go to your website’s Webmaster Tools profile and click on +1 Metrics > Search Impact. Results below:

Google Webmaster Tools plus one annotations and clicks

The chart will show you the number of times your website has been shown in search results with +1 numbers noted, plus the number of clicks the +1 annotated results have received:

Plus one annotated results

Beneath that, you can see individual URLs and the difference in clickthrough rates with and without the +1 annotations.

Google Plus One with and without

This will give you an idea about how people clicking the Google +1 on your site affects your website in search results.

Track +1 activity on your website

There are two ways you can see the +1 activity on your website, including the specific pages that received +1’s in a set period of time.

In Google Webmaster Tools

Under +1 Metrics > Activity, you can see the number of +1s you have received from people clicking on the +1 button on your website itself and in search results or ads.

Google Webmaster Tools new Plus Ones

Beneath the chart, you can see specific URLs and their +1 activity, plus the breakdown of +1s from your site vs +1s from search results or ads.

Google Webmaster Tools new Plus One details

In Google Analytics

You can also see +1 activity from people who click the +1 button on your website in Google Analytics by looking under Audience > Social > Action.

Google Analytics social action

If you click on the 'Secondary Dimension' dropdown and select Content > Page, you can see the breakdown of Google +1s for different URLs on your website plus a pie chart showing percentages of +1s from those pages.

Google Analytics social action secondary dimension

Find out more about your +1 audience

If your website has enough +1s, you can view audience demographics in Webmaster Tools by going to +1 Metrics > Audience. This screenshot from Distilled shows the breakdown of age and gender, plus an additional tab for where your audience is located:

Google Webmaster Tools Plus One audience

See how authorship affects CTR

If your website has a blog or other content, then you should take advantage of setting up authorship in Google by linking your content to your Google+ profile. To see if you have set up your content to link to your Google+ profile correctly, use Google's Rich Snippets Testing Tool to check one of your URLs.

If you have to check a lot of sites’ authorship settings, you can also install the Rich Snippets bookmarklet on your browser to quickly check any page you are viewing. By enabling authorship from your content to your Google+ profile, your content will appear in search results with your photo next to it.

Google authorship claimed

How does that affect your clickthrough rates? Webmaster Tools has an experimental tool under Labs > Author Stats. This section shows you the number of impressions vs clicks that content linked to your Google+ profile receives in search results. The best part is that it includes any content your Google+ profile is linked to - including others' sites.

Webmaster Tools clickthroughs

By using Topsy, Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools, you can learn even more about how Google+ and the Google +1 Button affects your search and social media marketing. Next, we will be taking a look at Google Search Plus Your World and additional ways you can use Google+ and Google +1 to make an impact on your website in search results.

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Other articles in the Google+ series

Why have a Google Plus personal page?

How to set up a Google Plus personal profile

Why have a Google Plus business page?

How to set up a Google Plus business page