While working in the SEO industry for almost five years, I have witnessed numerous changes that Google has made. Some of these changes have been small, while others have been on a much larger scale. Over the past few months, I feel like Google has made more changes than ever to Google+ — most of them not for the better.
I have mixed feeling about Google+. Do I use it personally, absolutely not. Do I use it for clients, you bet. With Google’s recent change, which I wiell get to in a second, I’m not so sure if it is worth the time and effort though. Google might see something in Google+ that I don’t, but only time will tell. Here is a list of those changes:
Removed Google+ Link in Search Results
Previously, it was easy to view a Google+ page when doing a search. When doing a search for “Netvantage Marketing” you will notice the link to the Google+ page below.
The Google+ page is easy to get to, right? If you want to write a review, it is easy to see where you should click to write one. If you didn’t already know, reviews are important for local businesses, so it was awesome to have two links to do so. Well this is now the results when a search for “Netvantage Marketing” is done.
You will notice that there is no longer easy access to the Google+ page. Now the ‘write a review’ button is more hidden as well. The Google+ page was valuable for reviews, which you can now only see a handful of and for more information on the business without having to go to the website and find an ‘About Us’ page.
Changed the Google+ Page Layout
The next change Google made was to the Google+ page layout. Neither are all that great in my opinion, but the most recent change is horrible. Here is what the page previously looked like:
This is what the page looks like now:
Both are very picture heavy. I will admit that is a negative for both of the pages. The upside of the previous Google+ page was the options right below the image. You could learn more details about a company under the About section, which included reviews; check out a company’s latest social media posts via the Posts tab; and the photos and videos tabs are self explanatory.
Now when you get to the new Google+ page, what are your options? Below the very large picture is all of Netvantage’s social media posts. That’s it. See the very small info icon near the Following button. If you click on that you get contact info such as phone number, address and a link to the website. No additional info about the business, no reviews, nothing. After having an intern rewrite the description for 40 Google+ pages, I find this really frustrating.
Remember how you told your clients that reviews would be really valuable and they should try really hard to get them from their customers? Well now I’m not so sure about this. I have mixed feelings. Since some reviews show up in the search results, I don’t think they are pointless, but when they aren’t readily available on the Google+ page I don’t know how hard we should push clients to get reviews either.
Google+ pages have come a long way from what they once were. I was actually starting to see the value prior to the recent changes. Now, I will just wait and see what Google has in stores for the business pages because I’m on the fence about their value.