This post is part of a series of 2016 predictions from industry experts.
Google+ Phases Out, Twitter Rises
I expect that we will see Google drop “plus.google.com” URLs for local pages in 2016. Google already moved most things off Google Plus, but each business still has a Google+ URL, which is the URL that Google indexes and shows in the search results. I predict this will change to be something from Google Maps.
Twitter will become more important in Local now that Google and Twitter have a deal to display tweets in search and Google is pulling back from G+ for businesses. I’m already starting to see more tweets showing up above local packs. I hope that Google will come out with a feature that links Twitter profiles to Google My Business (GMB).
I also predict Google will come out with a paid feature that will allow a business to highlight details or specials about their business in search results (in the Maps section, not AdWords section). Currently the business description shows nowhere. Google had a feature years ago called the Tag that allowed a business to display an update in the search engine results pages (SERPS). Maybe this one will integrate with Twitter.
Lastly, something I would love, but am not holding my breath for, is a fix to Google’s “permanently closed” label on professional listings when a doctor or lawyer leaves their practice. The label is ill-suited to the the situation, and I hope Google will come out with better messaging in 2016.