Local businesses, listen up! Harnessing the power of search is no easy task, as you may have noticed. Businesses don’t get a page 1 ranking by accident. This process takes time, research, maintenance and buckets of caffeine to acquire. Luckily, Google stepped in, seemingly under-the-radar, with their Google Posts function. Google Posts allows business to post content directly on Google. The Posts feature has been steadily growing over the past year and helping small businesses boost their visibility and gain traction. It doesn’t hurt that Google logs 3.5 billion queries per day. Does your business align with Google Posts?
The Evolution of Google Posts
Initially labeled as “Candidate Cards,” this feature was exclusively used by politicians in the 2016 election looking to elevate their search presence with regular updates. Google extended the posts functionality to a handful of small businesses and individuals, and eventually made Google Posts available for all businesses using Google My Business. The posts are currently featured in the SERPs as cards, and include various CTAs as well as social sharing capabilities.
How Your Business Can Use Google Posts
Creating a post is easy and customizable. In addition to the simple logistics and construction, businesses can:
- Bring awareness to promotions or specials
- Boost visibility for events
- Spotlight new products
- Offer newsletter signups
- Take reservations
- Sell a product directly from their website
- Add an image, a title and up to 300 words of text.
- Show up on Google Maps, depending on the subject of the posting
What’s in it for Google
Google Posts continues to grow exponentially as small businesses realize the power behind Google’s visibility factor. How does this service stack up against the competition? Facebook is continually expanding their local search capabilities, and with features like Facebook Places and Facebook Ads, they are vying for the same large audience base as Google. Google may be leading the game right now with their vast amount of daily search queries, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gaining popularity in consumer searches. Users do not solely rely on Google to search for entertainment ideas, food suggestions and other ways to spend their money. Consumers have been increasing their reliance on social media platforms, and that may cut into Google’s reach. A study conducted a few years ago found that people visit Facebook more so than any other network to search for small businesses.
Google is keeping themselves busy, collecting the best features from their competitors and creating the ultimate social platform to help businesses gain more control of their online presence. Google Posts expire after 7 days, and events are quickly removed after they expire, to keep information fresh. They provide business feedback by measuring impressions and clicks for individual posts, as well as offering the share function across social channels. Businesses rely on social media platforms to post updates and engage with customers, but Google Posts allows customers to view these updates directly within a Google search.
What’s in it for You
Marketers know that any effective SEO strategy needs to consider the whole user journey and boost click-through rates from SERPs. Google Posts are staged towards having a significant influence over click-through rates. The ability to add pictures, videos and GIFs into your SERP appearance adds another dimension to your Google My Business profile. If you haven’t already claimed and taken full ownership of your GMB Profile now is the time to do so.
Essential Best Practices
Posts is a tool meant to improve click-through rates and subsequent traffic from your Google My Business profile. The ever-evolving feature is continually being explored by marketers hungry to see conversions. As with any marketing tool, there are recommended best practices to abide by.
Watch Your Language. Forget the overly promotional wording. Google forbids language like “BOGO” or “50% off” and will remove your post immediately. It is best to naturally inform your audience of promotions without the gimmicky sales pitch.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing. Like any other content you post online, you want to avoid stuffing your Google Posts with keywords. Your posts should speak to humans and contain relevant information. Spoiler alert: throwing a bunch of keywords into a post does not impact your ranking.
Utilize UTM Codes for Tracking. Google Analytics won’t innately track Google Post activity, so you will have to create a UTM code to get insights beyond the Google My Business dashboard. You can track the UTM information in Google Analytics.
Remember Size Matters. Images scaled at 750×750 are the ideal size for Google Posts. Additionally, images smaller than 250×250 will be rejected.
Pay Attention to Characters Count. Only the first 100 characters are visible in the knowledge panel. Empower this area, and make sure words are not cut off.
Carousel Your Content. If you post frequently, the newer posts show up first and the older postings will show up in a carousel. Google can support 10 postings in a carousel, but only the first 2.5 are seen within the search results without scrolling.
Center-weighted Pictures. Format the pictures properly so Google does not crop pictures awkwardly or accidentally chop someone’s head off.
Don’t Forget Your SEO Strategy. Your post rankings will be associated with your local business rankings. If you want to increase your post visibility, you need to continue to improve your local SEO. Don’t completely abandon the SEO plan you’ve already set in place for a few fleeting moments of Google Post ecstasy.
Optimize Information. Your information should be relevant and concise with an attention-grabbing headline. Since Google Posts only remain for 7 days, keep your content time-sensitive and personalized for your audience. Post frequently to maintain fresh content.
Tips For Enhancing Your Content
Posts remain active for just 7 days, so you need to post compelling content that will immediately capture your audience and invite them to look more into your business and website. Good news: Google Posts is 1.) Relatively new and 2.) Free so let the space be your playground as you experiment what works best for your brand. Just remember to always keep your audience in mind.
Images that Provoke. Just like every form of marketing, powerful visuals are a necessity for capturing your audience’s attention.
Strong Headlines. You want to compel your audience to read your post, drive traffic to your website and convert. Make your headlines powerful and digestible.
SEO-driven Descriptions. SERPs limits you to just 80 characters. Descriptions should immediately convey what you are offering to the consumer.
Call-to-Action. Your CTA is mandatory if you’re looking for conversions – and who isn’t? A CTA is a hallmark to engaging your audience in the buyer journey.
Is Google Posts The Right Tool for Your Business?
People are always searching, and you want to be easily discoverable. Businesses of all sizes can utilize the brand building and content control that comes with Google Posts. Google Posts may have the power to substantially impact your business with a minimal investment on your part. But that doesn’t mean they’re right for your business. We recommend any business that deals directly with consumers to test this feature and find out how it works for them. We’ve found it works well for marketing restaurants or other event venues and even some professional services businesses are using it well. If you find that it works well for your business make sure you always keep it up to date. If not, leave this google my business feature alone and focus your marketing efforts elsewhere.