The only constant is change.
There have been many variations of that saying from songwriters and philosophers alike throughout our lives. And in the digital marketing world, Google is no exception.
A few years ago, Google attempted to create a social platform to compete with Facebook. Google+ combined social with what it was already, a directory services for small businesses. Then Google+ became Google+ Local and later became Google My Business.
Now, Google is going back to basics. Not everyone jumped aboard with creating a profile, claiming a local listing, making sure that they're posting relevant content and so forth. Who has the time, right? You're running the day-to-day details of your business, and if someone isn’t managing that information for you, it's probably not a priority.
However, it's time to make some time for it.
If your business is not verified, or you haven't posted to that Google page in a while, it's just taking up space on Google. And in its push to provide relevant information and content for users searching for businesses, that is not good for Google.
So, Google is starting to shut down Google+ pages that are associated with Google My Business accounts that have no one running them or are not verified.
What does this mean to you?
If you're managing your business on Google, making sure your information is consistent across the Internet, using your page to provide updates to your customers, you have nothing to worry about.
If you're not controlling your listing (or having someone manage it for you) or it's unverified, your directory spot on Google is no longer a given.
You can see a clear difference between an optimized page and the unverified ones that Google is now removing.
This move represents a large-scale housecleaning for Google.
By essentially marking unverified listings so they do not show up in search results, Google is supporting its intention to provide the most relevant search results. So, in Google's view, a business owner who is not taking the initiative to reserve his or her spot on the world's busiest search engine is missing an opportunity.
Google is the essential piece of your business’ marketing strategy that the Yellow Pages used to be. About 97 percent of all consumers are shopping for goods and services online.
Claiming and verifying your Google listing may prevent your page from ending up in the trash, but it's not enough to propel you to the top of search results. It's the first step and the bare minimum. But the bare minimum is now more important than ever.