Exciting news from Google: their latest update for Local Search, Google Posts, is open to everyone!
But wait; what are Google Posts, and more importantly, why are
they such a big deal, especially for businesses that rely on organic clicks?
Stick around as we explore what just might be the key to unlimited visibility
for your business no matter how small it is.
Google Posts: What Is It?
Google Posts (not its official name) is a useful little feature
that lets both individuals and organizations create and post content directly
on Google. According to Search Engine Land, content created using Google Posts
gets ranked highly in the search results.
Google’s nifty new feature was first launched in January 2016
with the aim of providing a platform for US presidential candidates to relay
real-time updates to their supporters. Content posted by the presidential
candidates appeared in a card-like format, and for this reason, the feature was
initially known as “candidate cards.”
Two months later, the Google Posts feature was finally extended
to small businesses, albeit on an invite-only basis. As a result, it was only
available to a select few number of local businesses from around the world.
A year later, the program was extended to sports teams, museums,
movies, and musicians in the US and Brazil. It was not until June 2017 that the
feature was finally rolled out to small businesses that were using the Google
My Business platform (GMB).
Features of Google Posts
1. Content is posted directly to Google. As a result, it appears
on both Google Search and Google Maps results.
2. For promotional content, a 7-day limit is imposed after which
it is removed from the default view. Event-based posts are removed after the
event date passes. Posts that are removed from the default view can still be
accessed in the historical view under the Posts Tab.
3. Content appears in a carousel format that is positioned just
below the paid ads but on top of the organic search listings.
4. The feature is strongly integrated with social media. Social
share buttons and a shareable link are available at a click.
5. Each carousel can contain up to 10 posts. However, only
two-and-a-half can be viewed on the search results without scrolling.
6. Google does not index the URLs on Google Posts.
7. Businesses under the “hotel” category currently do not have
the “post” option enabled.
8. Only the first 100 characters appear in the Knowledge Panel.
9. The feature currently does not support the use of videos and
animated GIFs. Pictures smaller than 250 x 250 are also not accepted.
10. One-click call-to-action links can be created to allow
customers to perform actions such as “Buy Now,” “Make a Reservation,” “Sign
Up,” and “Learn More.”
11. Google Posts don’t integrate automatically with Google
Analytics. If you want insight beyond what is provided on the GMB dashboard,
you need to create a custom URL for your call-to-action link.
How to Create a Google Post
Google Posts can be accessed via the Google My Business
platform, which is available for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. Alternatively, you
can click here.
- To create a post, first log into
your GMB account, then on the left-side menu, click on “Posts.” An interface
with a blank text pad will appear.
- On the interface, you can to type
up to 300 words max and upload an image. For event-based posts, you are allowed
to add an event title complete with the relevant dates and times. On this
screen, you will also be able to add call-to-action buttons such as “Buy,”
“Sign Up,” “Reserve,” and “Get Offer.”
- Once you submit, the post appears
on searches performed on your business’ name.
Using Google Posts: 3 Useful Tips
#1 Don’t stuff keywords
If you’re a serial keyword-stuffer, this is a habit that you
will have to let go of when using Google Posts simply because they will not
have any impact on your rankings whatsoever. Use the platform to highlight new
products, offers, and promotions only.
#2 Make the first 100 characters count
To avoid being cut off mid-sentence, ensure your first 100
characters form a coherent compelling and complete sentence that will make
people want to click on the call-to-action button.
#3 Ensure you use appropriately-sized images
Anything smaller than 250 x 250 won’t work; the best image size
to use is 750 x 750. Also, ensure that the picture you choose is
center-weighted to avoid having the top part chopped off on the results page.
As we wrap things up, we can conclude that Google Posts can be a
vital small business marketing tool for you simply because:
- They allow you to create and share
daily promotions, specials, and offers that will attract more customers;
- They let you share the arrival of
new products and keep your existing customers updated, and lastly;
- They allow you to integrate
call-to-action buttons in your posts, making it easier for your customers to
connect with you.
Google Posts is still a relatively new feature, but it is on
track to becoming one of the most valuable small business marketing tools for
business owners like you.