Google released “+1” in June as a method for web users to essentially give their seal of approval to individual websites. Sites that accumulate many will have favorable search engine result visibility. As +1 challenges the traditional dynamics of search engine optimization, Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, discusses the potential manipulation and negative influence this may cause the search industry.

“Plus 1 gives favorable search engine result visibility to those websites that amass, which I expect will cause unethical firms to manipulate the system, in the same way we’ve seen unscrupulous SEO firms practice in the past with ‘black-hat optimization’. Over the past several years, we [in the search engine optimization industry] have witnessed a significant increase in the amount of unethical SEO firms that inflate their clients online visibility by abusing the system in such ways as linkfarms, paid links, keyword stuffing, and others”, discusses Wisnefski.

SEO Ethics has been industry buzzwords particularly this year, as search engines are taking aggressive moves to alleviate the potential for companies to falsely inflate their client’s visibility. The release of Google’s “Panda Update” was a significant step toward fixing the problem.

“Furthermore, there are SEO firms that are known to hire offshore third-party contractors commonly known as “click farms” to endlessly click on paid-advertisements found on their client’s website that generate a lot of revenue for their client. Is this natural or ethical? Absolutely not!” exclaims Wisnefski”. My principal concern is that these same firms may look to hire others to plus 1 their client’s site to inflate their visibility and cause unnatural and unethical search visibility”, concludes Wisnefski.

Whether or not this case will surface will be determined in the coming months. To this point, ethics and countermeasures have not been officially discussed by Google.