The social web has just moved +1 closer to influencing Google Search.

Its recommendation system is similar to Facebook “Likes”, except the big difference being that +1’s also appear in Google search results.

This will only appear for users which are signed into their Google Account and you’ll also need to update your settings via the Dashboard (when it’s fully released). However at the moment it’s not fully live, so in order to get started now you can activate it via Google Labs here as an experiment.

What can I +1?

• Organic search results
• Paid search results
• Website pages (if the visited website incorporates the +1 button)

It’s likely that +1 buttons will be added to other Google properties too.

How will +1 help?

Is Google Natural Search the place for social recommendations? But recommendations are great, right? So why wouldn’t you want them in your search results?

+1’s appear publicly in search, on ads, your Google profile and across the web. This means that the results recommended by your friends will appear in relevant results. (So let’s hope you trust all your “friend’s” recommendations). It won’t just show your friend’s recommendations it will also use other connections such as Gmail contacts and Twitter followers, for example.

Your own +1’s will appear in a tab in your Google Profile. However, this will depend on whether you have allowed your +1’s to be visible to the public.

How will +1 influence PPC?

Google states that no changes will be needed with your current search ads as this won’t affect your Quality Score. Google go on to mention that : “(+1s will be one of many signals we use to calculate organic search ranking)”.

This strengthens the case for social media to influence rankings.

Is +1 going to be the new hurdle for customer services? Or will social media only effects results for socially active consumers?

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