How We Use Google Posts for Small Businesses
Brandon Schmidt | Jan 23, 2018
In less than a year, Google Posts have become my favorite part of the Google Knowledge Panel. See what it is, why we love it, and what posts work well.
What are Google Posts?
Google Posts is a new feature that allows verified businesses, people, and venues to share content, images, and videos to their Google Knowledge Panel. Released to the public in early summer 2017, these posts are a new way for business owners to add their own content to their Google My Business listing. Posts expire after 7 days, and multiple posts can show up for a business.
For desktop, Google Posts show up below the company information and above the Questions & Answers and Reviews. On mobile, Google Posts have received a prominent location, earning a tab between the Overview and Reviews. You can see expired posts on mobile by visiting the Posts tab, while this feature is not available on desktop.
Google Post Features: At a Glance
- Shows prominently in your company’s Knowledge Panel.
- Multiple posts can be scrolled through.
- Includes an image and up to 300 words.
- Can include a link to your site.
- Can include dates for event-based posts.
- A great benefit for content marketing, event marketing, and local SEO.
Types of Google Posts
Prompt for Reservations
Share Blog Post
Announce Company News
Advertise an Event
How to Create a Google Post
1. Log into your Google My Business account, go to your Dashboard, and click on Posts.
2. Click on Write your post and you’ll come to this popup window. This is where you will draft your post.
3. Start by selecting an image. Square images work best, and 750 x 750 pixels is ideal. Keep in mind that the image may be cropped when multiple posts are live. Some words in the graphic is OK, but make sure it is legible on a variety of screen sizes.
4. Next, write the description. I prefer using an opening headline or sentence that lives above the fold, then another paragraph that is visible when you click on the post. Remember only the first ~100 characters are visible above the fold, and even less on mobile.
5. If this is an event or time-based post, you can schedule the post to end at a certain date or time. For month-long sales, we have the post end on the last day of the month.
6. Finally, you can choose from one of 6 preset CTAs. You can have this link to your site, a blog post, or product page. You can also not set a button, keeping the post more like a social post.
Challenges of Google Posts
While we have seen some good results from Google Posts, there are some frustrations with using this new platform.
Posts only last 7 days
Right now, non-event posts expire after 7 days. It would be great if we could add a pinned post or select how long we want them to stay up.
As of now, you are limited to the following CTA buttons:
- Order online
- Learn more
- Sign up
- Get offer
I tend to use Learn more for blog posts, articles, and even some sales-based posts. I would love to be able to customize the button text in the future.
Minimal, often inaccurate data
The analytics Google provides on these posts are sparse and sometimes inaccurate. Within GMB, the only data shown is impressions and clicks. Tagging the link with a UTM code should give you a better understanding of how your posts are leading traffic to your site.
Manual process for multiple locations
If you are a business with multiple locations, you’ll need to follow this process for each and every location, which can be time consuming. This limitation should change once developers incorporate the Google My Business API 4.0, which includes managing Google Posts (I’m looking at you, Hootsuite).
How One HVAC Company Made Over $20,000 from a Single Google Post
This summer we put up a Google Post for a promotion on new AC units. The post was up for a little over one month and received 2,150 views and 6 clicks to the landing page. Call tracking on the landing page confirmed 3 new AC installations from those clicks, resulting in an over $20,000 return from this essentially free post.
The Future of Google Posts
While Google Plus died a slow, unremarkable death by neglect and poor traffic, I have a feeling that Google Posts will have a much greater impact – especially for small and medium sized businesses. Still in its infancy, Google Posts is showing potential for business owners, marketers, and local SEO agencies to directly communicate to searchers from the Knowledge Panel.
I hope that Google continues to support and expand Posts, developers will build applications that make posting easier, and searchers will start looking to posts for deals, events, and information from your company.