With the arrival of Google’s new social network, Google Plus, many of my auto repair shop website design customers are wondering if they should be jumping on-board Google's latest social media technology. For the vast majority I will say not yet. There are two reasons for me not recommending Google+ at this time.
UPDATE [2013-11-28]: Most of the information in this article is now obsolete. Things have changed greatly in the year since this article was written! Google has changed G+ to make it a necessary part of SEO for Google.
For most auto repair shops Google+ is way down your auto repair SEO to-do priority list. If you haven't worked on optimizing (cleaned up and standardized) your online citations, increased the number of backlinks to your website, created website content to target essential auto repair related keywords, and long list of other basic auto repair SEO, you shouldn't be worrying about Google+.
Second, Google+ is still in its infancy and no one really knows if people will embrace it like Google hopes. It is being promoted as Google's version of Facebook but there is serious doubt Google+ will get people to leave Facebook. Many speculate it will end up being an experiment that Google will learn some lessons, develop some technology that will be used in their other products, and quietly let it fade away sometime in the future.
The only exception I can see is IF your customer base is mostly composed of young males who are involved in the IT (Internet Technology) industry. At the moment this demographic is the largest user of Google+. If you want to target customers with social media Facebook has the broadest demographic of users.
Will Google+ affect your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) position and website ranking? Google says it will but in the big picture Google+ will have a VERY small effect on your website ranking. In comparison to other auto repair website SEO work Google+ is way, WAY down the list of ranking influences. Even the most basic automotive website SEO will pay back significantly better return for your efforts.
Spending time and money on Google+ when you haven't done other more important SEO work is like fighting over scraps while ignoring the steak... Spend you money on basic automotive repair SEO before you start worrying about bleeding edge marketing technology and fads.