Take a close look at this screenshot from a Google search for “google keyword tool” I did and you’ll know everything you need to know about why Google+ is a big deal…
Notice the #4 and #7 results (the ones with the little thumbnail picture with someone’s name next to it)…
#4 is a 2010 blog post by my friend (and Main Street Marketing Expert) Russ Henneberry. Russ and I are connected on Google+.
#7 is a blog post shared by Leslie Clark who I am connected to on Google+ as well (and, unlike with Russ, Google+ is the only social network Leslie and I are connected on).
If I am not logged into Google, the search results page for the exact same search for the keyword “Google Keyword Tool” looks like this…
Notice Russ and Leslie’s post are nowhere to be found.
This is the direction that search is headed.
For better or worse, your connections on Google+ and other social media sites are going to influence the results you see when doing searches. We knew this was coming, I’m just surprised at how quickly these changes seem to be happening.
What’s the bottom line for you as a local business owner?
Right now, you don’t have to worry much about Google+. It’s not adopted by enough people to make much difference. But that will change sooner, rather than later.
Think of a prospect of yours doing a search looking for a local (insert your industry here) and one of their friends has shared your website, blog post, reviewed your business, etc. That instantly makes your business rank higher on Google and be the most compelling result on the page to the person performing the search.
What I also see happening is that as more people come on board with Google+, the activity of Google+ users will become a bigger factor in where your business ranks in the search results for everyone…not just those we’re connected to through social media.
Google+ Action Steps for the Local Business Owner
1. Sign up for Google+ (it’s by invitation only right now and if you send me an email at adam [at] wordsthatclick [dot] com with the headline “Google+ invite” I’m happy to send one your way) so you have a front row seat as this evolves.
(Note: Only individuals can sign up for Google+ right now, business accounts are coming later this year.)
2. Get familiar with how it works – create some Circles, +1 some sites, make a few posts.
3. Check back with us here at the Main Street Marketing Community and we’ll keep you informed of how to use Google+ to market your local business.
You can start (whether you have a Google+ account or not, by hitting the +1 button right below this post!