SearchEngineLand just published Google Plus Connections Are The New Link, some thoughts of mine on how local search co’s and SMBs may try to leverage Google Search Plus Your World to improve local SEO. After rereading it, it seems clear that as more and more organic results are deemed to have “local intent”, the only way that Google Plus content stays relevant is for users to have tight local networks. If that doesn’t happen, Google’s own quality algorithm should purge these results from the SERPs, because they will have low click-through/relevance, either because they are from people I don’t know or because they are from people I know but who are not local. If Google can’t get this kind of local content density, that Twitter firehose is going to be looking a lot more necessary.

Here’s my SERP for “Chinese Restaurants” included in the post. Not really helping me find that moo goo gai pan.

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6 Response Comments

  • Dave Oremland  January 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Andrew: For it to really take off for searchers I believe you are correct. Its going to take some time though.

    Google recently announced 90 million G+ users…versus something over 750 million or lots more for FB. Its going to take time.

    Also there will be varying degrees of local effectiveness. If you have this web based world wide G+ network its simply not going to work for that “local moo goo gai pan”. Lets face it. OTH, if you and your neighbors start using it extensively then it will have that effect on a dramatic basis.

    My brother, who lives near you is not a social media user at all. But he does subscribe to a local network for news and events….if the local network was picked up by G+ or FB…or any social network….suddenly there are a mass of local contacts.

    2ndly we have some local businesses and to the extent we personally connect with customers…we do see overlap and friends of friends using the same services.

    Its not automatic/ or huge…but we see these things growing.

  • Stever  January 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

    It will take massive uptake and use from regular folks. Like I said in my post from Friday average users will have networks of mostly friends and family who are mainly local.

    Right now G+ is still mostly early adopters and techies. They’ll need to well surpass Twitter which is also largely web savvy individuals, not just techies and marketers, but not quite so many “average” users like FB has.

    I also wonder about how localized circle building will actually be, even if they get enough average users. The game to build as much followers as possible has always been rampant in MySpace, Facebook and, Twitter. I see the numbers of purely random people from anywhere and everywhere adding me to circles, on a daily basis it seems, and it leaves me scratching my head. Many of those don’t even seem tied to the SEO and internet marketing world let alone nearby me.

    Time will tell…

  • Andrew Shotland  January 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    The rollout of G+ tools to SMBs (and their marketing consultants) seems like it could be a big deal toward driving more intense adoption of G+.

    Indexing all of the local content and understanding how it connects to the user socially a la Facebook Connect will also be ginormous.

  • Len Ferrara  January 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    The idea of “location of the reviewer” could add another variable to the mix. If a reviewer is “too far” from the business being reviewed, this could add negative effect to the business’ status. Imagine that: a good review penalizing a business!

    Maybe now having reviews pre-qualified. “That’s great you’d like to leave a review, Mr. Jones. BTW, how far away do you live?”

    Such a tangled web…

  • Shefiu  January 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    It seems Google are making some tough calls with Google+. It’s clear that local businesses certainly have to focus more on acquiring local network groups to really stay ahead in the game in terms of SERP’s.

  • Mark  January 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

    How will Google+ affect a national business who competes locally?

    We sell practice tests for new drivers and people who move to a new state. What I am trying to get my head around is how +1 will affect our positions against local driving school even though they local schools typically don’t offer our product.

    With Google+ does this mean local vendors will always beat us if they target the same keywords?

    We all know companies target keywords with traffic even if they don’t sell the exact product.

    SEO always was high-maintenance but this is getting mind-boggeling!