If you’re a local business that uses Google My Business, you can now access the Posts feature. This feature allows you to post content directly on Google. The post will show up in the Google search results Knowledge Panel alongside your Google Business listing for a week. Let’s talk about how you can use this new feature to your advantage.
Personalizing the Search Experience
As a small business, you’re in tough competition when it comes to your ability to highlight your business compared to all the others that show up in the results for your queries. You can use this feature to personalize the search experience for your customers.
You can use it to share content and timely announcements, such as news of a new product line, or a new hire. You can also use it to promote specials and upcoming events, to boost sales and attendance, or even brand awareness. If nothing else, you can feature your most popular products, or highlight some of your lesser known offerings.
What Can You Do with Google Posts?
Google Posts offers several options to choose from when you decide what you want to share. Your post length can be up to ~300 words and can also include an image to help it stand out in the results.
It’s also possible to include an event title with start and end dates and times for multi-day events. You can include a call to action (CTA) button and a website link, though you’re not allowed to write your own CTA. You must choose between:
- Sign Up
- Get Offer
- Learn more
When choosing your image, I suggest a minimum of 344px x 344px, at the advice of others who’ve tested the service. Animated images are not supported at this time. Though they may be supported in the future, there’s no indication that it will ever happen. Google themselves recommend using a minimum of 720px x 720px, either in JPG or PNG format.
Remember, your post ad will expire seven days after you create it. You can change it an unlimited amount of times – including the promotion itself and the image – but only one post will run at a time. You’ll either need to change it out or re-do the same post every week. If you do not, the post will expire and thus disappear from your listing in the search results.
Make Sure You’re Following the Rules
According to the Google My Business Posts content policy, any content in your posts should be relevant to the business it is posted for – regardless of who writes the content and the person who is actually posting it. Any content that has no relevancy or clear connection to the business isn’t allowed. Using this service means you agree to post content that is upfront and honest about the information, and doesn’t mislead users in any way.
Content that is not allowed includes:
- Anything, such as links, images, or video that negatively affect user attention
- Automated or distracted content
- Repetitive content, any kind of misspellings or gibberish
- Links that aren’t relevant to the business or website
- Posing as an individual or business
- Links to viruses, malware, or any other harmful software
- Anything used for phishing scams
- Any inaccurate promotion information that omits how the user is charged or billed
- Sexually explicit or adult content
- Any hateful or harassing content
- Any kind of personal or confidential information
- Any content that references child exploitation
- Any content that is graphically violent
- Any content related to recreational drugs, tobacco products, weapons, fireworks, or anything that may cause injury or damage
Authors are responsible for ensuring their content complies with any and all applicable laws and regulations. Content related to gambling, alcohol, financial services, pharmaceuticals, or any other regulated products and services is not allowed.
How to Create a Google Post
Login to your Google My Business dashboard. You’ll find “Posts” along the left-hand menu on your Google business listing. From there, you’ll be able to create your post and choose the CTA you want to use. You can publish it, and then you’ll see it is live in the Google search results. To see what it looks like for yourself, search for your company in the Google search bar, rather than navigating directly to your website’s address.
Think about the type of post you’re creating. Are you sharing news about your company? Sharing information about an event? Offering any kind of time-sensitive deal? Knowing what you want your post to do – encourage more customers to come into the store, make a purchase, or announce something new – will help you determine the best way to write the copy. You have a limited amount of space, so you need to maximize it!
Use the title feature only if you’re posting about an event. Describe it in four to five words. There are only 58 characters in the title space.
In the post section, provide more details. Though you have to 1,500 characters (not words!) Clearly describe the offer or the event. Google recommends keeping it limited to 150-300 characters. After you have the details included, choose the most appropriate CTA.
Finding out How Well Your Post Is Performing
Google makes it easy for you to find out how your post is performing in the search results. All you have to do is sign in to your account. If you have two or more locations, choose “Manage location” for the location you’re interested in. Then, choose Posts. Click the posts you want to see the insights for. Keep in mind that it can take two to three days for the data to be updated. You’ll be able to see the number of times the post was viewed, and the number of times the button was clicked for each post.
Instructions are slightly different from viewing on mobile devices. Open the Google My Business app, and then tap Posts. Tap the post you want to view the insights for. Tap the expand icon and the top of the screen next to published. From there you will be able to see the number of views and clicks for each post. Like with desktop, it can take two to three days for the data to update.
Local Businesses Should Use Google My Business Posts
If you’re a local business, you should be making use of this free advertisement in the organic search results. Chances are you’re already using Google My Business as part of your local SEO efforts, but if you’re not, sign up to have your business included today.
Have you started using Google My Business Posts yet? Have you noticed any businesses that are using it?