Simsi - 9:11 am on Jul 26, 2011 (gmt 0)
Just dragging this thread back up with an observation. I said previously:
Within a week of after adding +1 buttons, all Google referrals to the news pages has slowed to a trickle (5-10 a day)
Just thought I'd add that about 10 days after posting that I removed the +1 buttons from the news articles and within 48hrs the traffic to the news section was back to normal levels (up to about 150/200 uniques a day). Two note: 1) addig +1 was the only change I had made to the news section in months and 2) during all that time, traffic to other parts of the site always remained consistent.
Nothing conclusive, may just be pure coincidence. Or it may be that the load times of +1 just tipped the balance as the server isn't the fastest.