Google Posts is a relatively new tool designed to help local businesses engage with customers in their nearby area. When Google rolled out the feature in mid-2017, it said 82% of people turn to search engines to find local information and learn more about businesses in their area.
Google My Business (GMB) helps you deliver that information in local search and Google Maps. However, Google Posts gives you a channel to publish branded, promotional content on your GMB profile, expand your visibility in local search, and engage new customers.
What are Google Posts?
Google Posts allows you to publish short posts on your Google My Business page, which also show in your local search and Google Maps listing. Google says 70% of local searchers look at multiple businesses before choosing which one to deal with and these posts are an influential factor.
There are four different types of posts you can publish:
- What’s New: announce your latest news or blogs
- Event: provide information about an event you’re hosting
- Offer: promote any offers you’re running
- Product: put the spotlight on a particular product you want to sell more of
Posts are live for seven days before they’re automatically deleting, except for events posts, which can run for up to 14 days.
The idea is to regularly publish content to engage new customers and build stronger relationships with your existing customers. The platform gives you a space to announce new product launches, promote special offers, promote events and inform local prospects about your business.
What SEO value do Google Posts have?
Google Posts are all about engagement and, while some studies have pointed to minor ranking benefits, the focus should be on genuine interactions with potential customers in your area. When a user clicks on your local listing in Google Search or Maps, they’ll see your posts in addition to all of your business information.
Aside from using Google Posts to build your brand voice in local search, you can also use them to interact with customers in meaningful ways - for example:
- Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.
- Promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.
- Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.
- Answer questions left by potential customers
In terms of SEO visibility, Google Posts also appear in the Knowledge Graph on desktop and in a carousel format on mobile, which is the first thing people are going to see if they search for your brand name in Google Search.
Crucially, the ability to add CTAs to your posts means you can turn Google Posts into zero-click conversion opportunities directly from local search.
How to make the most of Google Posts
Google Posts is completely free, so you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out. That said, to get the best results, you’re going to need the right mix of strategic planning, management and quality content.
Here are some key steps to follow:
- Post regularly: posts only last seven days (except events) and you’re going to need to post on a regular basis.
- Publish different post types: experiment with different posts types to see which ones your customers respond to most.
- Be promotional: Google Posts are designed to be promotional so don’t be shy about getting straight to the point.
- Use captivating images: this is crucial for your posts to grab user attention but also to help communicate the message in your content.
- Create actionable headlines: tell users what they’re going to do/achieve by engaging with your posts (think more along the lines of ad headlines).
- Include CTAs on every post: match your headlines with a compelling call to action.
For more tips on Google Posts and what they can do for your local SEO strategy, take a look at this article on local SEO lessons from Learn Inbound 2019. Essentially, it all comes down to bringing more customers through your business’ front door or encouraging them to pick up the phone to speak to you directly.
Chances are, you’re not the only business local searchers are looking at but Google Posts could be the difference that makes you the one they choose.
Kerry Dye, Head of SME SEO at Vertical Leap.