I followed the buzz about the change from ‘Google Places’ to ‘Google+ Local’ fairly closely today and came across two articles near the end of the day; “Google+ Local to Replace Places as Google Makes a Play for More Mobile Ad Dollars” from Search Engine Watch and “Google Sending 51% Less Traffic To Facebook Pages Since Launch Of “Search Plus Your World”” from Search Engine Land.
In the first piece, Miranda Miller @MirandaM_EComm writes about how important Google thinks Mobile is today, and more importantly is going to be in the future. By “merging all business listings into one to be used across search, maps, mobile, and Google+” they are setting themselves up to be better positioned to take a growing share of the growing pile of money in mobile advertising.
In the second piece, Greg Finn @gregfinn discusses a change Google made months ago ‘Search Plus Your World’ (SPYW). Five months ago Google started factoring in ‘Social Signals’ into your search results. These ‘Social Signals’ are virtually all from Google properties; Google+, YouTube, etc. In the time since the change, traffic from Google to Facebook is down 51% - a huge number.
Putting this together: Search (or better yet, advertising) has been referred to as Google’s Castle. Almost everything else they do, Chrome, Android, Maps, etc, is a Moat designed to protect the castle. ‘Search Plus Your World’ is certainly a part of that moat. It looks like ‘Google+ Local’ is part of the moat as well – making it harder for others to compete for the huge, emerging pile of Mobile Advertising money.
How important is the castle to Google? Last year they reported about $38 Billion in revenue, and are tracking to come close to $50 Billion this year. 96% of that comes from advertising. Google wants you to spend money. Lots of it. And spend it with them.