Late last week Google transitioned the Google Places listings local businesses use to promote their services to Google+ Pages. The rankings don’t seem to have changed as far as I can tell at this point, although I’m still trying to sort out the changes brought about by the Google Penguin Update, both positive and negative (this blog included in the negative).
Google+ already looked like a must-have for local businesses, not because it would help them right now, but because of the potential it had IF it could draw in enough real people to use it at a level similar to Facebook. That wasn’t working out so well, so plan B – “SURPRISE, small business owner, you now have a Google+ page. Now get to work promoting Google+ usage by creating offers, putting up signs… kinda like you do with Facebook.”
Another trend I have seen in the past weeks is regular professional service websites using the Google+ authorship rich snippet to stand out in the SERPs. The authorship snippet puts a little picture of the author with a byline next to the page summary that is displayed in the search results. This has typically been used for blogs in the past. You need to have a Google+ profile to have your picture.
So good people of small business, get to work on promoting Google+ (and your business while you’re at it)!