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Google+ Badge Tool Now Makes Facepile-Style Badges, +1 Counts To Be Consolidated

Want to show off the people who follow your shiny new Google+ Page, right on your own website? Now you can, with a Google+ badge that shows the faces of those subscribed.

Badge Maker Now, Uh, Makes Badges

When Google+ Pages launched last week, the badge making tool also went live — but it only produced static icons, not badges. Now that’s changed, Google has emailed:

The Google+ badge has graduated out of preview today, be one of the first to put it on your site! For those who’ve already added the code, this means all users will be able to see the badge starting today.

Featuring both an ‘add to circle’ and a ‘+1’ button, the Google+ badge helps you grow your audience on Google+ while also showing more recommendations on Google Search

To make the badge, you go to the tool, enter the number of your Google+ page, and then you’ll be shown a small preview of the badge. Here’s how it looks for us:

Further down on the page, you’ll be able to grab the code you need to install the badge on your site.

Google’s Version Of Facebook Facepile

The standard badge is similar to what Facebook calls its Facepile plugin, because faces of those subscribed to a page on Facebook appear.

You can see this on Search Engine Land. Just look over to the right-hand column, and you’ll find a box that looks like this, linked to our Search Engine Land Facebook page:

Similarly, faces for those subscribed to a Google+ page appear in its badge. Our badge isn’t yet up (it will be soon), but the badge preview gives you an idea of how it will look:

You can also use the “Small Badge” option that will show just the Google+ icon along with the Add To Circles button. With either badge, people can subscribe to your Google+ page without having to leave your site.

Don’t Use Icons If You Want Instant Subscribe

Of course, the standard icon options also remain. The problem with these is that they don’t show an update on the number of subscribers your page has (as buttons from Facebook and Twitter allow), nor do they allow people to sign-up for your Google+ page without leaving your site (also as the Facebook and Twitter buttons allow, if they are configured correctly).

Which +1s Get Counted?

Another important change is that the number of people who have +1d your page should soon begin to reflect all the +1s that your site has earned, not just the number of people subscribed to your page.

Confused? Let’s start with the email from Google:

If you have linked your Google+ page to your site, the count of +1s on the badge will represent the +1s across your brand including those from your home page, your Google+ page, and any ads you’ve linked via Social Extensions.

Please note, once you’ve linked your Google+ page to your site, there may be a delay before the count shown on the badge includes +1s from across your brand. During this delay, the badge will show the count of +1s from your Google+ page.

In other words, our Search Engine Land Google+ page has counts that look like this:

See the top arrow? That shows 373 people currently have +1d our Google+ page on itself.

See the lower arrow? That shows 11,943 people currently have subscribed to our Google+ page, in order to get updates. This is also how Facebook works (as does Twitter, showing the number of followers an account has, since Twitter doesn’t have both page and accounts).

Obviously, you’d rather let visitors to your site know that you have nearly 12,000 followers rather than only 400 people who follow your Google+ page and who ALSO +1d your page there.

Google Plus, however, is going one better. Rather than using your follower number, it will begin showing any +1s you have to any page within your website overall.

For example, looking at our stats as Google Webmaster Central reports, we have this:

As the top, you can see that we currently have 17,166 +1s to any page on our site overall. Hey, that’s an even bigger number than our followers to our Google+ page, and that’s what Google will be using, if you’ve linked your site up correctly with Google Plus.

The caveat here is that the Google email talks about consolidating only “home page” +1s, not necessarily those within your site. I think this is incorrect, as that’s not how Google has described things to me in the past. But I’m checking on this.

Potentially you could have a situation where you have more followers on Google+ than +1s to your site. It might be nice if Google provided more options, so that you could choose the number you find most relevant.

Pumping Up The Counts

Personally, I’d rather they adopted the standard that Facebook and Twitter use, which is that the count shown in association with an account or page reflects the number of people following that account or page, without mixing in share-level metrics.

In other words, when you put up a Twitter button, Twitter will show the number of people who follow your account. Let’s call that the follower count. Separately, Twitter will report the number of people who have share an item on your page. Let’s call that the share metric. These are kept separate.

Facebook does the same. You have a follower account for your Facebook Page; you have share or like counts for external content shared on Facebook.

You can see these metrics directly compared at the bottom of any of our stories, in units like this:

See how on the left, we have share counts from Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus? On the right, we have follower counts. Google+ is going to mix the follower counts up with share figures, as well as +1s that may have been earned through ads.

Postscript: See our follow-up story, The Broken Follower Counts & Confusing Buttons Of Google+.

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