tedster - 6:22 pm on Jan 16, 2012 (gmt 0)
And yet, that analysis (which certainly contains a major chunk of truth) can also be the little guy's cop-out. Small business still can be effective online and grow their free Google traffic. But if they assume that Google just wants to kill them off - then they fall into despair. That's not a good place to be effective.
I've worked with giant corporations and very small businesses. I know of industries where two competitors are without a doubt the leaders - top-of-mind household names who cannot break into the first page for their most important non-branded keywords. Both still face major challenges in SEO, yet both can still succeed.
When it comes to this "Search Plus Personalized" change, it will definitely take away some of the space from conventional organic results for some searches. However, I think this search integration is extremely premature. There's just not enough interest and use of Google+ to make it effective, even for those who want to see their circle's recommendations. It looks desperate to me - a very frightened and heavy-handed change that is almost anti-social.