Almost overnight it’s everywhere on the web. It’s the Google +1 button, and if you’re an SEO-conscious webmaster and/or site owner, you’ve already got it on yours. It’s already abundantly clear that Google has big plans for this little button and its effect on search engine rankings and ads, so it would be folly to ignore it.

Yesterday Google Webmaster Central announced that it has already improved the loading performance of the +1 button. Since one of the factors that affects Google’s ranking of your site (and your landing pages for AdWords) is page load time, it would certainly be polite of Google to make sure their own button loads and gets out of the way as quickly as possible.

Two improvements have been made. For one you need do nothing. The other requires action to implement:

  1. Google is now rolling out a version of the button image that will allow it to render up to 3x faster than the old button. You don’t need to do anything to get this benefit; it will occur automatically.
  2. Google has created an asynchronous code snippet that will allow the rest of your site to download for the visitor while the +1 button java script kicks in. To upgrade your present code to the new version, go to Google’s +1 Configuration Tool.
If you have not yet added a +1 button to your site, just get your code from that same +1 Configuration Tool and you’ll have the improvements right from the start. That page also has a handy FAQ that will answer most of your questions about how the +1 button works, its benefits, and how you should use it.
More detailed tips and tricks for the +1 button are available at Google’s Code site.