By now almost everyone is familiar with G+, its integration into search results and yet another pronouncement that SEO and SMM are dead. As compelling as that copy may be, the fact is that SEO and SMM are just fine and not going anywhere. Google has shot itself in the foot a bit according to a number of analysts by weighting G+ far too heavily, but the reality is that those returns can be shut off anytime. Most people that need accurate fast results who Google 100+ times per day have already shut off the G+ returns feature. So What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that Google has in essence manipulated returns in a manner that for many people are no longer relevant. For instance, it is already showing where mentions of a website on a G+ page are showing up higher than the actual website itself. Without doubt, that is asinine. That shouldn’t happen, but with G+ in the mix it does. Again though, once you shut off G+ or log out, returns are basically back to normal.
What does it mean for Google? Right now it means a broadened antitrust investigation by the US government. It means more people are turning off G+ or just logging out of Google to work, and another small but vocal and highly visible group is making the move to Bing. It likely won’t kill Google to have made this move and it won’t kill SEO or SMM, but it will be an annoyance for a long time.