How soon until SMBs’ Google+ Local Pages start to outrank their actual websites?
In my article about the Google+ / Google Places merger, I noted that the new Google+ Local Pages will be indexed and appear in Google’s search results – a complete change from the old Place Pages.
That’s a potentially big deal because Google+ URLs can (and do) rank very highly in Google’s search results. I’ll share some reasons why below, but first a screenshot to show.
I often do Google searches for specific articles that we’ve written on Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. A few days ago, I was searching for Danny Sullivan’s article introducing the Google Knowledge Graph. I did a search for “google knowledge graph danny sullivan.” The search results:
His article came up in the fifth spot, and was preceded by four different Google+ URLs. (The first from his account; the second from SEL’s account; the third from his account, but about a different article; the last from Nina Anthony.)
Some thoughts why this is the case:
1.) Google+ (plus.google.com) has a zillion inbound links. Open Site Explorer says it has 711,000 inbound links. Majestic SEO says it has 240 million. Either way, if you believe in the aphorism that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” you can start to see why some Google+ URLs have a shot at high rankings.
2.) Google+ pages are optimized to the page owner’s name. In the example above, my search included Danny’s name. The title tag on the SEL article doesn’t include his name, but the four Google+ pages have his name in the title tag. So that one piece of on-page SEO was a better match on Google+ than on the original SEL article.
Social signals, you ask? Well, the Google+ ripple for the top-ranking URL shows 121 public shares on Google+. The article page on SEL shows 330 +1 votes, 635 Facebook likes, and more than 1,400 tweets.
I don’t want to spend a ton of time analyzing rankings for a single query, but I wanted to show this and talk about about Google Plus and its visibility in Google’s search results.
My point: Google+ URLs are already optimized and the domain has a ton of inbound link authority.
Now that Google+ Local Pages are being indexed, back to my question at the start of this article — how soon until some of them start to rank above the actual (unoptimized) business website?