Google+ Links and Reviews Dropped From Google Search Results

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google+ dropped from search results

Google+ links and reviews are no longer being included in search results, even in searches for specific business names.

This has been reported on via various sources around the web — including on Google+ and Local Search Forum. I have also confirmed via my own testing that Google+ is no longer being included searches which would have previously returned links to Google+ business pages.

Not only are the links gone, but the star reviews from Google+ have been stripped from the SERPS as well. However, Google will still return links to Google+ pages if the intent to find that page was indicated in the query.

For example, a search for “Frank’s Pizza” will not bring up a Google+ link, but a search for “Frank’s Pizza Google+ page” will.

There has been no official statement from Google on removing it’s own social network from search results, but the search giant’s actions would lead one to believe Google+ is becoming even less of a focus for the company.

Is Google Responding to Accusations?

Another possible explanation is that Google is responding to the accusations of favoring its own properties in search results by, well, removing its properties from the search results.

Companies like Yelp have long been accusing Google of unfairly ranking Google+ pages ahead of their sites in local search results. The companies allege they’re losing traffic as a result of Google’s practices.

Yelp, TripAdvisor, and individual businesses, should all be happy with today’s discovery. Now, when searching for a business, I find that 9 times out of 10 a business’s own website will show up first. The company website is then followed by Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, and so on. No sign of Google+ anywhere.

Even when you search for a category of businesses it’s unlikely you’ll end up on any Google property other than Maps. For example, a broad search like “sushi places in Toronto” will return the local 3-pack. Clicking on a listing in the 3-pack will open an expanded view in Google Maps with links to either call the business or visit their official website.

Below the 3-pack you’ll find links from Yelp, TripAdvisor, and maybe some articles on local websites who cover stories about the best cold-pressed juice places in town. Where Google+ used to dominate local searches there’s now barely a trace of it.

Google local searches are no longer funnelling traffic towards Google properties (aside from Maps). Traffic is now either going to the business’s official site, local review sites like Yelp, or local blogs and websites.

This should help quell the accusations and complaints directed towards Google — provided this is a permanent change and not just one of the search giant’s many tests.

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Featured Image: Alzbeta/Shutterstock.com
Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • http://www.doctor.com David Brooks

    Interesting development. I wonder how (or if) this affects any of the trusted publishers that feed into AdWords Review Extensions.

  • http://www.seeallmedia.co.uk Luke Allsebrook

    Thanks for the heads up Matt… The + pages still must have some kind of ranking value towards local seo and especially within Google Maps etc… Taking your thoughts into consideration on Google favoring its own properties, it must be the reason why they have reduced the Google Map listings to only the top three!

  • http://cobblestonemediagroup.com Eric Mellen

    If Yelp and Trip Advisor are upset about where their links appear, they should develop a search engine that is globally accepted and integrates into our daily lives.
    I’m interested to see how Google+ continues to affect organic search results overall.

    • http://susanfinch.com Susan Finch

      I agree, Erin. Oh, Yelp! is whining? They who suppress current reviews in favor of old ones if the current ones are written too well? This is too bad. I used to review businesses I liked on G+ for a reason. I refuse to use Yelp! Bummer – no more reason to review if it doesn’t help the businesses I visit or hire.

  • http://www.localsearchforum.com Linda Buquet

    Hey Matt. Great post and thanks for linking to my post at the Local Search Forum.

    Want to point out that this in no way indicates Google is “phasing out” G+. This move does not change G+ at all. The point here is that the Google LOCAL platform is distancing itself from the G+ Local page. Has been gradually for some time. But G+ social is still the same.

    Also reviews are “not dropped from Google search results”. This isn’t about the general search results or the pack. It’s purely about Branded searches for the business. Reviews are still in on the G+ page and on the Knowledge Graph and on the results that are in the main search results (3 pack) and also on the Local Finder.

    The point of my post is that 1st they removed the G+ link from the pack. Now they also removed the G+ link as well as reviews from a branded search, specifically for the business.

  • JP

    Why shouldn’t Google be using results from their own properties? It is a great feature that Google has the ability to provide to users. No different than a Ford Automobile using a Ford engine and not a Toyota engine in their cars. If the other service providers don’t like it, develop their own search engine and let people decide which they are going to use. But for Google to discontinue results featuring their own products is just plain silly.

  • http://www.confluentforms.com David Kutcher

    It would be helpful if you clarified that reviews left on a Google+ Local Page are still displayed as stars in the local carousel for local search (over 50% of searches have local intent per Google), and a user can easily click on those stars to read the full reviews. Those reviews are also included in the Knowledge Graph that displays for branded queries.

    This was likely due more to low adoption rate (see Google’s earlier notices about abandoned pages) rather than competition issues.

  • http://www.insideedge.com mark waldin

    yes. I have talked with Google about this and they seem to be somewhat clueless over it. While Google says that you should “just do good marketing” to get good rankings, that would suggest not wasting time with Google+ since it is almost impossible to find. In spite of that Google representatives continue to push the absolute importance of maintaining Google+. It is very strange and puts Google users in a bad situation.

  • http://www.netmagellan.com/ Ash Nallawalla

    I am still seeing Google+ results in the SERPs from Australia – I looked for that Organik SEO example cited in the link as well as some others. Perhaps we are next in line, or it is a glitch for you? ūüôā

  • http://about.me/jackvarnell Jack Varnell

    While there is a wealth of educated speculation here, shouldn’t Google actually make a statement ? It is frustrating enough to keep up with the constant changes in methods and algorithms at Google, Facebook etc. Should we really have to speculate on their intent or reasoning as well? I make decisions on a daily basis on behalf of my clients which are continually impacted by ongoing core changes in tools and techniques. While I appreciate streamlined improvements, and an ongoing revenue stream implementing these changes, to have to continually do so in the dark is getting tiresome.

  • http://andrewfaulkphotography.com Andrew Faulk

    This is great information. Thanks Matt. I do wonder… At this point, will a small business be helped more at this point by a google review or a Yelp/TripAdvisor review?

  • http://resumes-for-teachers.com/ Candace Alstad Davies

    This is a little surprising.. it will be interesting to wait and see what the futures holds for Google+. I recently started using it and believed it did help with search. Thanks for the post!