Did your Google search results just change?  Did you recently sign up for Google +?  Unless you are using Gmail on a regular basis and you want to be in on the latest social networking scene, then probably not.  Although Google does change their search algorithm with such regularity, that maybe your search did change anyway.

Regardless, the advent of Google Plus has been quickly followed by a new style of search results from Google.   These new results take into account postings by people or companies in your “circles”.   If a member of your circles has mentioned or taken a photo of a particular product/service and you are logged into Google+ you will see those results in addition to the standard results.

So what does that mean for the local advertiser?  Simply put, since Google is the #1 search engine and they have launched a new social network, your company needs to be there.  Just like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you need to have a presence.  I realize that this can be hard to keep up with, but if you want total coverage, this is a natural extension of your print and online advertising.

Are you still going to show up in the Google Places results?  If you are already there, then yes, at least for now.  The Google Places results rely on a number of factors, but for now should not be affected by the Google+ results.  If a consumer is looking for a local service, it’s still my belief that for online presence, this is one of the most important places to be.  If you are not already there, then we need to talk.

So what do you need to know?  Google+ is expected to have 400 million users by the end of this year, http://bit.ly/tl2ORk .  Facebook has far more than that already and Twitter claims to have 175 million.  Simply put you can’t tell when or where a consumer will need a local business service, so advertisers need the help of their local advertising consultants to have a presence in print and online.

Written by Mark Thomas