Google Post is a relatively new feature that allows businesses and individuals to create content directly on Google that will rank highly in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for their name.
Google Posts were first used in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, where they were popularly referred to as ‘Candidate Cards”. They allowed politicians to showcase their values and opinions directly on SERPs on specific issues. Google did this to enable voters to easily and conveniently determine a candidate’s stance on specific issues. Candidates were able to place quotes on topical issues on Google Posts.
The concept looks much like a social network where one would display status just like they would with tweets, but there is no social media networking aspect to it. Users cannot follow, leave comments, or like.
On the 22nd of June, 2017, Google Posts officially made the big move to Google My Business (GMB). Google Posts are now available on GMB on the desktop version and on GMB iOS and Android apps.
To access it, simply log into your Google My Business account and click on “Posts”. When creating a post, you have several options namely:
- Write text of up to 300 words
- Upload images
- Add event titles with start and end times and dates
- Include CTA (call-to-action) buttons such as “Buy”, “Get offer”, “Sign up”, “Learn more” or “Reserve”
Note that Google Posts are not a replacement for the NAP information you give on Google My Business or to Google My Business reviews since Google Posts expire after just 7 days of posting. You will get a notice of the Post’s expiry on the 6th day.
Benefits of Google Posts to Businesses
- Google Posts allow you to share current promotions and daily specials to encourage existing and new customers to take advantage of the offers.
- Google Posts are FREE of charge and are easy to manage.
- Event promotion allows you to share upcoming happenings, which allows you to bring in more numbers.
- You are able to showcase your best selling products/services and to highlight new arrivals at the first Google SERP where the whole world can see.
- You are able to connect directly with your customers through your Google My Business listing. You are more likely to convert with a one-click path.
- Google Posts show up on both Maps and Search results.
- Google Posts have a local bias. Google uses them to connect local businesses to the customers within the area. This is important because people in your locality are more likely to buy from you.
- Google Posts enable you to share such information as open job positions and emergency updates (such as school closures due to inclement weather).
- People can easily make reservations and book appointments.
Tips for Success when Using Google Posts
Given that Google Posts are relatively new, strategies to unlock their true value are still in experimentation and case study stage. There are, however, a few tips that have been tried and tested over the short period that you should employ for the best results.
1. Use Captivating Images
The optimal image size is 750×750 pixels in JPG or PNG format. Google does not accept anything smaller than 720px x 540px. The images should be “center-weighted” so they show up properly – you don’t want Google chopping your head off. Consider close up shots of your products because they are more likely to catch peoples’ eye. Note videos and animated GIFs are currently not supported on Google Posts.
2. Use Actionable Headlines
Come up with actionable headlines since most visitors do not bother with the content. An example of good headlines is “New Year’s special brunch package,” “Spoil your family.” You should give visitors a reason to check out the rest of the content.
3. Have a Concise and Informative Description
The descriptions should be concise yet informative. Only the first 100 characters will be displayed in the Knowledge Panel. You should, therefore, make sure these characters count. Write the last sentence in such a way that it is not cut out. Do expounding in the rest of the text. You have up to 1,500 characters at your disposal, but studies show the ideal length is between 150 and 300 characters.
4. Have a clear CTA
Call-to-Actions should be short and clear. They should not be overly promotional or full of commercial slang. Examples of good CTAs are “Order Here”, “Download your Copy”, and “Learn More”.
5. Abbreviate where possible
To keep within the strict character limits, you could abbreviate such things as hours, days, and months. Also important in keeping the post within the character limits is not including your business name. This already appears in the Post.
6. Use short event Descriptions
You should describe your event in 4 or 5 words. You have up to 58 characters to use for titles.
7. Use Google’s URL Builder for Tracking
Google Analytics uses the URLs of your CTA buttons to get the information it needs on users once they click on the CTA. Google Posts does not integrate seamlessly with Google Analytics and you will, therefore, not get actual, deep insight. Consider using Google’s Campaign URL Builder for more in-depth insight. To do this:
- Insert a UTM code in the CTA button link
- Go to Google’s URL Builder
- Input the URL you want to CTA to point to on the first box
- Set the Campaign Source to “Google Posts” on the second box
- Set Campaign Medium to “Organic”
8. Schedule Weekly Posts
Given that Google Posts are only live for 7 days, you should schedule to have fresh content posted before expiry. Note that you can have a maximum of 10 posts at a time, but only the first 2 will be visible without the use of horizontal scrolling.
9. Do not Use Overly Promotional Language
Do not use an overly promotional language since Google has explicitly warned against this. You risk your Post being deleted when you do this.
10. Share Posts
You can share Google Posts on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms for maximum effect.
Hire a Pro
Consider enlisting the services of a digital marketing agency for Google Map optimization through posts. A pro will incorporate Google Post in the rest of your SEO efforts seamlessly. Hiring a pro means you do not have to bother creating posts, searching for pictures and other information every 7 days, allowing you to concentrate on running your business. A pro is also able to integrate other digital marketing methods like PPC (pay-per-click) and SMM (social media marketing) for maximum benefits.