Google+ started life as a social network, but for a number of reasons it never really took off and Slowly and steadily Google is systematically breaking it up and keeping only the pieces that did work – e.g. Photos, Communities, and Collections as is evident from the latest Google+ changes.
Google+ Local piggybacked on G+ and became the place that Google displayed local business data. It always felt like an odd association – social features with business information – and now that association is ending.
The New Google+
The official Google blog post define the changes as Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.
These changes are entirely centered on Google+ Local pages. Up until recently these pages displayed all the useful & important data that Google holds about a business, and Google linked to these pages from local and map search results. They no longer think that Google+ is the right place to display business information.In terms of marketing, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+.
Google+ Ambassador Denis Labelle is very positive about theses changes “The new Google+ is all about the interest graph, the open web but mostly, about people’s passions.” If your marketing is geared towards passionate people, you will find great ways to connect with them in the new Google+.
Google My Business: If You Are Local Business
The annual Local Search Ranking Factors study, Google My Business signals made up 14.7% of the overall ranking factors (see image below).
So Google is still very much focused on local, and there is little need for SEOs and local business owners to worry about changes to Google+.The data from your GMB dashboard will show up everywhere that Google deems necessary; notably in Google Search, Maps, mobile search, and the Knowledge Graph.
Power Of Google/Local Search
- 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products/services (Source: BIA/Kelsey)
- 43% of consumers search every month for a local business (Source: BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 2015)
- The number one reason for an online search is to find the location of a ‘known’ business (Source: comScore, Neustar Localeze, 15 Miles – Local Search Study, 2014)
- 78% of mobile searches for local businesses result in a purchase (Source: Local Search Association Conference, 2014)
- Local Search delivers better ROI than all other online channels (Source: BrightLocal Clicks & Calls Survey, 2015)
- 34% of SEOs/SMBs would choose Local search above any other marketing channel (Source: BrightLocal Clicks & Calls Survey, 2015)
Google+ Changes: The Take Away
So Their is no denial of the fact that Google Local search is very powerful, but Google+ is no more a place to display business information.Still marketer can leverage the benefit of New Google+ with Communities and Collections section, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+. For a more detailed look at the changes check this Blog post.
What do you think about the latest changes to Google+? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!