As Google+ has continued to evolve and grow, we’ve released a number of features and tools to help you engage with your users in new ways. We’ve heard from publishers that they’d like to ensure they’re getting set up in the right way on Google+, and so we’re kicking off a Social Friday series right here on our blog. Our goal is to help you make the most of Google+, discover ways to reach new audiences, and use our resources to make data-driven decisions.

Even if you’ve already gotten started with Google+, we encourage you to follow along over the next few weeks to make sure you’re using our social tools optimally for your website and business. Today, we’ll start off our series with a look at the +1 button, and show you how you can track its impact with Webmaster Tools.

The +1 button helps you expand your audience by enabling users to recommend your content to their friends and contacts. When a user clicks the +1 button on your site, they’ll be able to share your site’s link with their contacts via their Google+ stream. This can help you extend your reach beyond just your existing fans, to their circles of friends. Be sure to place the +1 button on your pages so that users can endorse your content -- we recommend locations like the header and footer of your pages, and also on pages that tend to be shared frequently, like articles or product pages.

In addition, +1 recommendations will be visible to a user’s friends and contacts on relevant search results, which can help your site stand out. For example, let’s say John is a fan of your content and he clicks a +1 button on your site. When John’s friend Sue is logged in to her Google Account and performs a search that includes your site in the results, she may see an annotation below your site that tells her John has +1’d it. This annotation may help your site stand out to Sue because it’s personally relevant to her. Overall, as potential visitors see recommendations from their friends and contacts among their Google search results, you could see more, and better qualified, traffic coming from Google.

So how is the +1 button performing for you so far? You can find out using Social Reports in Analytics.

Get started with the +1 button on your pages today -- just generate a short snippet of code and paste it into the HTML of your site, as you do with your AdSense ad code. You’ll also be able to customize the size and layout for your site. For help with the +1 button, visit our Google+ Webmaster FAQ.

Thanks for joining us for our first Social Fridays post. Next week, we’ll discuss Google+ pages for your business and how to get set up optimally. Do you have feedback or best practices to share with other publishers about today’s content? Feel free to leave us a comment on our AdSense +page.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team