This story has been updated from when it was originally published Dec. 19, 2011.
NEW YORK (
(GOOG - Get Report)
is setting in motion big changes to its
, after announcing Tuesday that one of the primary influencers to its search will be Google+.
For businesses -- even local business -- this means all the more reason to get on Google+ now.
|Google+ hasn't exactly caught on with users. You should be on it anyway, digital media expert Jason Hennessey warns.
At first glance, setting up a business profile on Google's social media site, which is sort of a combination of
, seems unnecessary, since the site hasn't gotten much traction with users so far. But experts say now is the time for businesses to get comfortable with using Google+, because it will become a increasingly n important piece of the search puzzle.
Last month we spoke with Jason Hennessey, CEO of
, a digital marketing agency, who predicted that Google+ would become a primary influence to Google searches. He said that the more a local business engaged with Google+ (both by posting and allowing users to "check in"), the more likely Google is to pull up that business during a user's searches.
What's so great about Google+?
Six months ago Google had an exclusive contract with Twitter, which was providing them with a real-time feed. That was a big deal.
So say you search for Kim Kardashian. You're not seeing all the real-time buzz that's happening about Kim Kardashian like you used to see when Twitter had the contract with Google. Google+ has its own real-time news feed to replace the real-time search feature. They haven't actually brought it in the search pages yet ... this is something that is right around the corner. They will implement a real-time news feed almost like a Twitter feed that will be part of the search.
So why should businesses care?
As a journalist, at the end of the day the whole reason why you're posting [on a social media site] is so that you can be the first to break different stories. When you're talking about small business or local restaurant, it provides you a larger audience without a whole lot of effort. So essentially you can follow something that is buzzing and you as a small business have the ability to compete with the mega-companies and large brands out there and get followers and fans. You're basically maximizing the same audience.