When a prospective customer is able to find your business on Google quickly, good things happen.
Appearing on the first page of local search results can lead to benefits like improved brand visibility, lead generation, increased website traffic, and more retail store foot traffic.
But these benefits don’t happen by chance.
With local search becoming more and more competitive, one way to help your business stand out from the rest is through Google Posts.
What are Google Posts?
Google Posts is a type of content feature provided by Google through one’s Google My Business (GMB) listing. These posts appear as small social media snippets similar to Facebook posts or tweets.
Google Posts posts are displayed in local search results, as part of your GMB listing, whenever a user searches for your business name. These posts also appear to local audiences when they search for branded keywords associated with your business.
What’s unique about Google Posts is that it provides local searchers with more information about your business and its products or services. It’s an effective way to promote and advertise your business directly from the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Leveraging the different types of Google Posts
To create a Google Post, you must first add your business to Google. This requires you to have a verified Google My Business listing.
Claim your GMB account by doing the following:
- Visit http://www.google.com/business/ or search “Google My Business.”
- Enter your business name
- Categorize your business
- Register a location or service area(s)
- Add your contact details
- Decide if you want email notifications
After you’ve gone through these steps, Google will require verification. There are several methods available to you to prove ownership of your company. The most effective way to verify that you own the business is through email.
Now that you have access to your Google My Business account let’s look at how your business can effectively make use of this marketing tool.
What can Google Posts be used for?
As an advertising and marketing tool, Google Posts can be used to promote events, announce product launches, share company updates, and showcase current promotions.
In your GMB account, select the “Posts” option on the left-hand side menu. From here, your business can publish three different types of Google Posts:
- Offers: Sales, discounts, and promotions being provided by your business
- What’s New: Announcements, seasonal messages, and other business-related updates
- Events: Upcoming events that your business is promoting, hosting, or participating in
As an added feature, each post type can be published with a custom call-to-action (CTA). The CTAs available are:
- Order online
- Learn more
- Sign up
- Call now
Using the right post specification and CTA can help drive the user further down the sales journey.
For example, a “What’s New” post showcasing a new product can have a “Buy” or “Order online” call-to-action to direct prospective buyers to your e-commerce store.
NOTE:As of writing this post, there is also a fourth type of Google Post available: the COVID-19 post. This post type allows companies to communicate any changes that have occurred to the business due to the coronavirus pandemic. These changes can include hours of operation, temporary business closure, etc.
Since COVID-19 posts are temporary, they appear more prominently in the “Updates” tab of the GMB listing, especially mobile results.
Google Posts optimization tips
Now that we’ve covered the posting process of Google Posts, here are five essential tips to create posts that’ll make your message stand out and capture a reader’s attention
Pique curiosity with high-quality images
In today’s age of visual culture, a picture does more than say a thousand words. A business with images displayed in local search results is 60 percent more likely to attract potential customers. This attraction can quickly translate to lead opportunities and sales.
Uploading a quality image with every Google Post helps to illustrate the content of your posts better. Without a captivating image, your posts are unable to create a lasting impression on your readers. This means avoiding stock photos at all costs.
One key image SEO best practice to apply to your images is to use keyword-optimized filenames. An excellent format to follow is “brand + keywords + location.” For example, a picture for Doors Freestyle Grill, a steakhouse in Dubai, could be formatted as “doors-steak-restaurant-al-seef-dubai.jpg.”
Another essential image optimization tactic to help you get more SEO mileage out of your images is to geotag your images. Localizing your photos gives Google clues that these post images are relevant to your business’s location.
You should also scale your image to Google specifications. As their photo guidelines state, all photos or images should be:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
- Resolution: 750×750 pixels
Be sure to 中心的主要焦点, so it doesn’t get cropped in the Knowledge Panel preview display.
Entice readers with a captivating title
The “Offers” and “Events” posts require you to include a title to the post before publication. Think of this space as an opportunity to create an actionable introduction to the post’s content.
Without an eye-catching title, it becomes that much more challenging to capture the attention of a search user.
Because of the 58-character limit, your post title should be descriptive, concise, and give readers a reason to care.
For example, let’s say you operate a pizzeria. If you were to publish a limited pizza offer, one compelling title could be: “Limited Time Offer: Buy One, Get One FREE!”
Not only does the title tell the user what’s on offer, the words “limited time” creates a sense of urgency while emphasizes “free” evokes a powerful emotional trigger.
Be concise with your post content
While Google Posts descriptions have a maximum 1,500 character count, it’s unlikely you’ll ever make use of such a limit. This is because only the first 80 words will be visible in local search results.
Google best practices suggest that while descriptions have a 1,500 character limit, the ideal length for post descriptions is between 150 to 300 characters. This means you have roughly two sentences to make a pitch to prospective customers.
So how do you make the most of such limited real estate?
Write about the critical information and unique selling points (USPs) of your product or service in the first 80 words. By making your first two sentences compelling, you motivate users to either read further or immediately take action.
Your post’s description should follow SEO best practices. This means putting your target keyword(s) at the beginning of your description and avoiding black hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing.
As a final description tip, don’t use hashtags in your Google Posts. Unlike other social media platforms, hashtags are unnecessary in Google Posts, result in no ranking advantages, and come off as spammy to local search users.
Track every click with UTM codes
A vital part of any marketing initiative is data analytics. Knowing how search users interact with your Google My Business listing is key to determining your marketing campaigns’ effectiveness and how traffic flows to your website.
Unfortunately, while GMB does come with an integrated “Insights” feature, this data-reporting tool is lackluster. The feature only highlights how users find your business across Google Maps and local search.
What’s more, Google Analytics cannot differentiate between GMB traffic and other organic traffic sources.
To better understand the various organic traffic sources appearing in your Google Analytics dashboard, you need to tag website URLs on your GMB list with UTM tracking codes.
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes are lines of text added to the end of a URL to determine the source of website traffic.
The main parameters you want to track with your Google Posts is the source, medium, and campaign.
Google provides a free URL builder that can churn out a UTM-optimised URL for your Google Posts. Simply fill out the required attributes, and you’ll have an automatically generated URL.
To easily distinguish GMB data in Google Analytics, keep all Campaign Source as “gmb” and Campaign Medium as “organic.” The Campaign Name aspect will differ according to the marketing initiative.
Using the “Buy One, Get One FREE!” post example, a well-optimized URL will look like:
You can also use UTM codes wherever a URL field is present. This includes the website URL, appointment URL, and menu URL.
Stand out with emojis
Using relevant emojis in your Google Posts does more than just give your branded messages personality. On other social media platforms such as Twitter, emojis have been shown to increase engagement dramatically by 25 percent.
To use emojis effectively as part of your Google Posts strategy, relevancy is vital. With our pizza example, including a pizza slice emoji in the “Buy One, Get One FREE!” title or in the description adds a bit of visual character to your text and gives your business an SEO advantage.
Ready to take advantage of Google My Business?
Making use of these Google Post optimization tips will help you easily get your business on Google search. Having a well-optimized Google My Business listing can positively impact local search results, sending ready-to-buy customers your way.
But claiming and optimizing a Google page for your business is just the start to your local SEO efforts. With local SERPs already extremely competitive, you’ll want to work with a top local SEO agency that can help you outrank your competitors.
What Google Posts strategies are you excited to try out?