I mentioned above that my findings didn't make sense unless keyword values had changed, well they have in a sense, Google calls it "your money or your life".
Some subjects, according to the latest leaked "unofficial" Google rater handbook, require an increased amount of authority because they have the potential to impact someone's life. In the past this included health, legal and financial sites however it has now been extended to sites which might make a major financial impact on someone, such as a site about vehicles.
My site is automobile related, Google wants to see more authority.
My take: forget Google+, consider Google traffic a bonus but not a goal moving forward and ponder at the fact that this makes Google adwords even more profitable since to get the same traffic I previously deserved I would now have to pay for it. No thanks.
Why do I feel that way? Because I don't sell cars on my site or influence people to buy anything. I report on what's out there after trying it out myself. Google and I can now agree to disagree, I have no intention on spending countless hours integrating G+ to provide Google with what they should already know. My visitors aren't on Google+ anyway, they much prefer Facebook and Instagram.