Google +1 buttons affect site speed
The release of Google's +1 button has been greeted with mixed emotions by the online community.
First launched on Google search results pages, the code has recently been made available for webmasters to include it on their own sites, allowing users to personally recommend web content.
This is a powerful tool for a website's content marketing strategy when site owners are looking to gain a foothold on the front page via honest, measurable consumer interaction.
For some, it represents an opportunity to score higher in search rankings, with recommendation clicks having an influence on the all-powerful search results.
But for others, the inclusions of Google's latest offering has been shown to hamper their SEO efforts by having a negative influence on some site's search rankings.
An article by Search Engine Roundtable has discussed the impact that the button – and its long load time – have had on sites rankings.
The length of time a page takes to load is known to impact on the overall quality score awarded to websites by search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, making it an important factor for webmasters to consider when deciding how to optimise a site.
One site manager who reportedly suffered a dip in rankings removed the +1 button after ten days. He said that just 48 hours after making the change, his sites ranking were restored. This change occurred even though site traffic remained constant and no other changes were made to the site.
Of course, the same might be true for any third-party code included in a website, as they all will have the chance of affecting its load time.
So the question is: how much is the +1 button worth to a website? How heavily do the search engines rank page load times and how many +1 clicks will it take to make a positive impact on a site's rankings?