Google has been, by far, the most influential player in the internet game for the past decade. Starting with an innovative and simple search feature, Google has transformed into the largest internet empire, taking the world of email, documents, applications, and even mobile phones by storm. 

However, recently, there’s been some big competition to Google. Although Google has been unchallenged in its dominance of the search engine market by Yahoo and Bing, the social media market is being dominated by another figure: Facebook.

Facebook has become an online behemoth, boasting over 750 million active users. With its own version of advertising built-in, plus the ability for developers to create various apps, Facebook is looking unstoppable. So unstoppable, in fact, they recently acquired a patent to create their own search engine – a search engine rumored to post better results than Google itself.

On top of this, Facebook is already getting into the search engine market. Recently, Facebook partnered with Bing to bring the “trusted search” feature. This is a feature that displays search result rankings based on what your Facebook friends have “liked.” For example, if you’re searching for Hawaii hotels, if one of your friends “likes” a specific hotel, that hotel will show up higher in your search engine rankings than the hotels which used to be in that spot.

If Google didn’t post an answer to these challenges, they would quickly lose their dominance on the internet. So of course, they did.

Google’s Answer

First, Google has recently unveiled the +1 button. This works similar to “likes.” If you see a result on the search engine listings which helps you out, you can push the +1 button. Initially, the +1 button was mainly used to increase a page’s performance in the search results. If your page had enough +1, it could beat out a page with better SEO. This was, of course, only the beginning.

Next, Google announced its new social network, Google+. Google+ has borrowed from what Facebook has done right. On top of this, they’ve added their own unique features to make Google+ a serious contender to what Facebook is currently doing.

Like Bing and Facebook’s partnership, Google plans on implementing results from Google+ into the search engine rankings. In fact, they’ve already begun doing so. When you search for something, as long as you’re on Google+, you’ll see results your friends +1 higher than the results which would normally be there.

Of course, Google has a direct advantage over both Bing and Facebook: they personally own every aspect of their network. They own the search engine, the social network, and the +1 button. This means if you have a Google account, everything you do online becomes easier and more fluid.

Creating a Scarcity Mindset With Invites

If you haven’t been able to sign up for Google+ yet, it’s likely because you haven’t received an invite. In order to create a scarcity mindset with their new product, Google only released invites to a select group of people. This automatically makes their new service seem more valuable in the eyes of people who do not have an invite.

What Does This Mean for Internet Marketing?

It's no secret the world of internet marketing is being turned upside down. With the ideas like trusted and personalized search, it seems extremely likely that no one will have the same search results when they search for the same keywords. 

In the past, SEO has relied on the idea that if you can get backlinks for your website, it’ll rank higher in the search results. But what happens when rankings aren’t just determined by backlinks? What happens when the search becomes so personalized, everyone has a unique search results page?

For internet marketers, the time to dive into the social media scene is now. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to ramp up efforts on social media websites and slow down the backlink process. Although backlinks are still very important (and likely will be for some time), major search engines are putting more of an emphasis on social search and what your friends and associates are liking.

Since Google+ was only unveiled a few weeks ago, it’s too early to know exactly what it means for SEO. In the meantime, know the +1 button does affect your rankings. If you have more +1, your website will be featured higher up in the search results.

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