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What is Google"s +1 and What Does it Mean for SEO?

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When it comes to the internet, Google pretty much rules. It's the largest and most powerful search engine in the world and it's always one step ahead of those working in SEO, often making changes to its operation that throw a spanner in web design, development and search engine optimisation activities. In its latest move, Google has borrowed from the infectious features of social media and social networking sites, to present the "+1" button, almost a direct mimicry of Facebook's popular "like" function.

For those who are not regular users, Google's "+1" button allows searchers to endorse and recommend websites to their friends and other users of the search engine. Each time you conduct a search and are returned listings that you find are useful, you can let others know by clicking on the "+1" button beside the link, a kind of virtual "thumbs up". If you are logged into your Google or G Mail account at the time of clicking on the "+1", your name will also appear to the friends and contacts that are connected with you on your Google accounts, making the function even more social and personalised.

There's no doubt that Google's "+1" will make some change to the kinds of tactics that have been found to be successful in SEO. The button will not only be confined to Google search listings, but will also be available to install on other sites across the internet. Website owners will be able to place the button on their own websites to encourage recommendations and monitor the recommendations they receive. It is essentially Google's way of fine tuning their search engine ranking methods by basing their selections not only on algorithms but also on user recommendations.

Although no one is so sure exactly how the information gathered by the "+1" button will be used by Google or influence SEO, it's estimated that the new feature will eventually influence search rankings and SEO practices in a variety of ways. For example, the more "+1" votes a website have, the more likely it may be to receive a better ranking.

The "+1" button is still only operating in an experimental way, however, SEO experts should begin considering how it may influence algorithm changes as well as work in with their existing Search Engine Optimisation boosting techniques. Great content and rich links may cease to have the pull they once had if they have not gathered many "+1"s for example. One thing's for certain, with Google now adopting the tricks and tools of social networking, it's essential that Search Engine Optimisation strategists involve social media and content marketing activities in their SEO campaigns.

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