There have been rumors for a while now that maybe Google+ would be removing their links from showing up as results on a user’s SERP, while other rumors said that Google+ would amp up this feature of Google+ since the social aspect wasn’t working so well. In the end, though, everyone knew that a change was probably on the horizon and now we finally get to see what they’ve decided—Google+ links and reviews will no longer be a part of search results.
Google never actually made an announcement about this change, but Search Engine Journal covered the story here, and through my own search queries I can see that it’s true. I typed in several queries where articles we’ve written and shared on Google+ would normally show up in search results and now only the original link to the articles is showing up. The start reviews are also no longer apart of the SERPs, which is what I find most surprising of all.
So how can you see a Google+ result in the SERPs? If you specifically type in your query asking about a Google+ page, such as “Vinaka Café Google+ page,” then you will get a Google+ result. As far as anything shared on Google+ goes, however, you’re out of luck when it comes to showing up on a search. For these results, you’ll have to go to Google+ and use that platform as your search engine.
What It Means to You in Terms of SEO
The very first and most obvious thing that will affect you as a small business is the idea that your actual website will definitely be ranking first, with other major sites like Yelp following closely behind. In other words, it’s a good thing that Google removed these results. The Search Engine Journal article also suspected it may be because so many felt they were unfairly ranking their results over others, so getting rid of them altogether somehow seemed like the right move. We may never know unfortunately, but what we do know is business websites should be getting more traffic.
For business owners this now means that local accounts and especially platforms like Yelp should be at the forefront of your strategy (as if they weren’t already, right?). They will be getting more traffic and therefore need to be optimized, which you can learn more about here.
Extra: Check out this interview with Yelp’s head of local business outreach Morgan Remmers.
As far as Google+ goes, I would not say that it is no longer important. It’s tough to say whether or not Google will someday bring back these pages, and they are still very influential when it comes to reviews. Google+ allows you to email different circles so that you can segment your content, so if used correctly it can be beneficial all on its own; away from the SERPs. I highly recommend visiting here for a slideshare presentation to learn more about optimizing your Google+ business page.
What do you think of Google’s decision to remove Google+ results? Do you think they have an ulterior motive of some kind? Let us know in the comment section below.