Old thread and I'll admit I didn't read all 6 pages of the comments, but ultimately I wanted to say this. If you are a small business and you care about how your business ranks, you MUST care about Google Plus. Google Plus is NOT a social network, it is an extension of Google Search with social features built in.
Google cannot access the juicy social data that facebook and other social networks keep for themselves, so it added social features. As of today already and even more so in the future, search results will be largely tied to signals from Google Plus, specifically these:
- number of keyword hashtags used;
- number of conversational microblog posts;
- number of conversational microblog posts where conversation is initiated by the author;
- number of times an author's microblog posts are resent by others;
- number of unique microblog posts of an author resent by others;
- number of unique users who resent an author's microblog posts;
- number of times an author mentions other users;
- number of unique users mentioned by the author;
- number of mentions by others of the author;
- number of unique users mentioning the author;
- number of topically active followers of the author;
- number of topically active friends of the author;
- number of followers posting on a topic after the author; and
- number of friends posting on the topic before the author.
So if you ignore Google Plus, you may one day essentially be gone from Search.
Again, it's not Google's social network. It's Google.