+1’s and likes are quickly becoming the new currency in SEO for websites. In the early days of search engines, tactics like stuffing keywords in meta tags worked well to get a page ranked higher. Now search engines ignore those and other techniques. Even the current strategy of backlinking (or the amount and quality of links attached to a particular site or page) is outdated. Fundamentally it makes sense because likes, +1’s and other similar endorsements essentially provide the same type of information to a search engine, that a page has good content or is in some other way appealing.
These endorsement buttons do for a website in one click what it takes programmers all over the web a lot of time to do. The speed at which a site can become popular in this way isn’t even the best part about endorsement buttons. Google’s overall goal is to take the “tech” out of search results. Instead of an algorithm offering the most relevant search results, endorsements from your network of friends, family and colleagues do the job. The only drawback I see with this more “organic” plan is that a person would need to have at least a moderately large network of friends participating in endorsement button clicking in order to get quality search results. I can’t see how this will ultimately replace current SEO techniques but it definitely will become a major factor in how sites are ranked in search results.
This article on LinkedIn talks more about the +1 button and Google Plus in general