Google Posts: The powerful new feature to drive traffic to local businessesBy Vendasta Marketing
You may have noticed over the past year that a Google search for a specific celebrity, sports team or even movie showed something a little different. Along with the usual web results, the search would include a social media post directly from that brand at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). What is it and how did it get there? And as digital marketers think—wouldn’t that be a great way to increase your client’s visibility and drive traffic? Well, I’ve got good news for you! Google Posts, this powerful new feature that enhances business search results, is now available to any company with a Google Business Profile.
Google Posts is an exciting new way for your local business clients to interact with their new and existing customers. This is huge for clients to increase their chances of getting found on Google. The feature allows users to create and share relevant content directly through their Google Business Profile listing, posting in real time to promote important things happening within their business.
With Google owning nearly 80% of the search market share, getting local listings right is crucial for a business. It goes without saying that any tool that can highlight your clients’ business on the Google SERP is an obvious advantage. Google is shaking up how you can promote your client’s business to Google users with this impressive new feature.
With the arrival of Google Posts, will the SERP become a new player in the social media scene? Current functionality says no, but it’s just the beginning for Google Posts. Read more insights in our Future of Google Posts section.
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Why Google Posts?
How will this differ from social posting for your clients, you might ask? First of all, Google Posts is free to all Google Business Profile customers. It offers the ability to promote events and highlight important things happening within your client’s business free of charge! It’s an excellent way to share content that will engage your client’s target audience. It is essentially free advertising for your clients.
A simple Google search will allow customers to find a business’ latest promotion or event without them even having to visit the business website. Unlike Facebook posts, where a customer must like a page before seeing content updates, Google Posts are instantaneous and show automatically in a Google Search. They can help your local business clients stay ahead of the game. Local businesses can now add fresh content to their listings and start engaging customers right on the SERP—without having to redirect them to a different page or platform first. Consumers will now see what your business clients they have to offer directly from their business profile on the Google Knowledge Panel, and can drive additional traffic to their site by adding a link to their Google Posts.
|💡 Google Knowledge Panel: The box that appears at the right hand side of the page after certain Google searches. The panel displays hours of operation, contact details, website link and even a link to Google maps. Ensuring that the information that Google displays about a business in the Knowledge Panel is essential to getting a business found (and visited) online.|
Using Google Posts is a great way to increase your client’s visibility in the search engine results pages. They are spared the from struggling to get listed in Google’s “Snack Pack,” the top three results on Google’s first page (link to our Snack Pack blog), as their Google Posts content will automatically appear high on the SERP. By creating regular posts for a business, their chances of a search engine paying more attention to their listing is higher, which may result in a higher ranking in the SERP. There are many of other factors involved in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but Google Posts is a neat new feature and quick-win to improve your clients’ ranking.
The Value of Google Posts: Traffic-Generation and Brand Awareness
Google Posts gives your clients the opportunity to become more than just another faceless, ordinary business in the crowded SERP. This new tool gives a business the ability to target new and existing customers with relevant and timely content, catered to their specific business. It’s a powerful way to direct traffic to your client’s website.
Tip: Keep it short & sweet!
With 82% of people using search engines to find local information, a business’ Google listing is a great place to start promoting. It’s often difficult for a small business to create and post new content on a regular basis, such as a blog or steady social media feed. With Google Posts, your agency can create posts for business clients that encourage clicks to their site. Posts should have compelling descriptions with eye catching images that are short and to the point, especially considering the character limitations (see below). Using Google Posts is almost like posting a mini blog every day! Your client should see positive results from your efforts in no time.
The Characteristics of Google Posts
Google Posts can be Posts or Events. A Post will have a picture, text and optional CTA, while an Event has a specified title, as well as start and end times.
What’s in a Post?
- A photo (animated gifs and video are not supported yet). Any images will be cropped to a square, so it’s important to note the image dimensions
- A Post can be between 100 and 300 words long. Only the first 100 characters show in the Knowledge Panel, so make the first 100 characters count to convey your message!
- Call-to-action (CTA) buttons can be added and are limited to “Learn More,” “Reserve,” “Sign up” and “Buy”
Get Creative—Making the most of Google Posts
It’s important to note that Google Posts only show for branded search queries. A customer must be aware of who the business is already, and looking up their information through Google. However, this has benefits, as it allows you to be very specific about what your client has to offer. With the searching consumers already aware of your client’s business, there’s no need to waste any of the Post characters on an introduction.
The more online visibility your client has, the more people will look to their business for products or services. There a numerous ways you can help your client get found using Google Posts.
What to post with Google Posts
Not sure what the Posts themselves should include? Here are some ideas to get you thinking creatively with Google Posts:
Market an Event
Google Posts offers a unique opportunity to let your client’s customers know about an upcoming event. Whatever the event, it will be visible to every customer who searches for your client’s business location within the specified time frame. You can add a relevant CTA for the event, such as sign-up if needed, buy a ticket or just reserve a spot. While most Google Posts expire after 7 days, event promotion lasts until the event has taken place, however they will be bumped down the carousel by new Posts. You could set an Event post with no specified end time to keep as a promotional post, but any new Google Post would bump it down in the timeline.
You can set your client apart from their competitors by promoting a product using Google Posts. By showing your clients products alongside their business listing—whether it’s something new or a top product—you can help increase their visibility. Try adding a “Buy” CTA to direct customers directly to the client’s website to purchase the promoted product and increase their conversions.
You can also use Posts to promote an upcoming sale, or even to offer a discount code or coupon by using the “Get Offer” CTA to link to the landing page. It’s a one-click path for potential customers, and might just give them the push they need to visit your client’s page and convert.
Google Posts give you the power to upload images and post every day. You can link the CTA back to your client’s website and even share on social media. Posts are truly a powerful, exciting new way to generate new traffic.
A Google Post can inform customers about daily specials or in-store promotions. If your client has a special deal of the day, wants to promote happy hour specials or just give customers a discount on a particular day, then a simple Google Post can attract customers right from the search page. A CTA like “Learn More” or “Get Offer” can encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of their offers.
Promote the Brand
Google Posts provides a business with the ability to add relevant information to branded search results. For example, you could use the new content feature to increase traffic to a client’s recently published blog or guide. A brief summary of the piece combined with an image in the Google post and a “Learn More” CTA could generate more traffic to the content than simply promoting on social media. You can also encourage email marketing sign-up by using the “Sign-up” CTA to promote your company newsletter.
Google Posts are a great outlet to use if you want to make a newsworthy announcement, such as a new feature in a product or an add-on service. Google Posts could also be used simply to highlight your client reaching a milestone or winning an award.
The Future of Google Posts
Digital advertising works best when it’s personalized. Google Posts are an excellent way to reach a target audience using personalized and highly engaging advertising that can convert quickly. It’s an exciting tool that is generating some buzz in local SEO, and we believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the potential this feature has in managing a business’ online presence.
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As the feature is still a “first slice” of what’s to come, it’s hard to speculate on how the Google SERP will evolve with Google Posts. The introduction of content posts is a peek at how SERPs may become a new social platform to leverage for local businesses, and could lead to a shift in social media strategy when managing a business client’s online presence. Currently, Google Posts only supports 10 Posts in a carousel format, which expire after a week, so Facebook and Instagram will keep their hold as the power players in social media. However, as Google Posts expands, and more functionality is added to the content feed on the SERP, it may play a larger role in a business’ social presence.
Google Posts could be seen as Google’s refreshed attempt at a social channel, after the flop of Google+ as a power player in the social media scene. While Google+ still has an impact in SEO, significantly less than 1% of Google search engine users are active members of the Google+ community. Google is now adding social functionality right to where the users live with Posts, rather than directing them to a new platform. The Google search engine is still Alphabet Inc’s most powerful player in the digital scene, and leveraging it for new, free marketing functionality for businesses is an exciting step in the evolution of the SERP.
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Regardless of what the future holds for Google Posts, it’s a feature that businesses will benefit from, so adding it to your client’s social strategy is a must. You can use Posts to increase visibility on your client’s lesser-known products/services, advertise their open job positions, or increase click-throughs with attractive branding statements. Start including Google Posts in your social posting services now and get your business clients ahead of the game, and give your agency a leg up on the competition with new strategies for the feature.
According to Google, 70% of people look at multiple businesses before making a final choice. Businesses should take advantage of the opportunity to provide additional information to potential customers with Google Posts. Now is the time to act on, but it’s important to build a strategy for Google Posts. Create a healthy mix between product and event promotion and content!
Google will continue to improve Posts and expand its functionality. How it will evolve, nobody is certain, but businesses adopting this new feature can see an instant benefit right from launch. Watching it evolve in the coming months and years is exciting, as it’s a valuable resource for local businesses and local SEO.