How (and Why) to Use Google Posts

If you're looking for new ways to promote your business, products, services, or events–Google Posts could be just the ticket. They allow businesses to post fresh content that can appear in local searches as well as the Knowledge Panel on certain results pages.

 

What are Google Posts?

Knowledge PanelGoogle describes Google Posts as “up-to-date posts from verified people, places or things, directly in search results.”

I describe them as snack-sized content packets that can promote anything from an in-person training session to a recent blog post to a clearance sale in your online store.

To get started, you need to “verify” your business or organization through Google My Business (GMB). (This is just one of many reasons you need a GMB account. If you’re serious about generating more leads and business and you don’t have a GMB account yet, go set yours up now!).

Once you log into your GMB account you’ll see Posts as an option in the left-hand navigation.

Why use Google Posts?

Local SEO Benefits

Utilizing Google Posts helps your Local SEO. If you serve a local community or attract a lot of tourists, you’re going to increase your chances of coming up in a local search. Start using your Local SEO keyword strategy inside your Google Posts. If you're using those keywords on your website why wouldn't you use them on Google My Business? 

Quick & Easy

Google is always hungry for content, especially fresh content. Since Google is the number one driver of traffic for many of us, it makes sense to “feed the beast,” but that may feel like a time-intensive challenge. 

However, it doesn't take a lot of time to create a Post, so you may just make it part of your regular social media promotional strategy, just like posting things to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Unfortunately, you're going to need to publish Posts directly to GMB and in real-time. Currently, Google doesn’t allow Posts from third-party tools like HootSuite to post on your behalf, nor can you schedule posts in advance.

Free Google Real Estate

Yes, you read that right: FREE promotion at Google. With Google being the most used search engine across the globe, if they give you a chance to market your business free of charge, then take it! While many users use Google Posts for their blogs, announcements, coupons, and events–there’s some other hidden potential. Google Posts tend to be lumped in as “just another social platform”, and while that is how most businesses use Google Posts, that is only one way to utilize the platform.

Types of Google Posts

While there are four kinds of Google Posts templates, the “What’s New” post template is generally considered the common post type, mostly because it allows you to add the most text within the thumbnail view (three full lines).

What’s New: This is the perfect type of post for businesses to start putting their Google Ads campaigns to good use. You already have your post copy from your headlines and descriptions. Now all you need to do is add a strong image and Call to Action. We also suggest using this type of post for any new content that you publish and push to social media.

Google Post Example for What's New

Event: Here’s the perfect example to start adding your post-pandemic events for all of your local customers to see. Allow them to see the date, duration, and information about each even without users even leaving Google’s search result page. 

Google Post Event Example

Offer: There’s no better way to attract users to your brick-and-mortar store than a discount or sale. These types of posts allow businesses to add specific campaign offers on GMB and track them by purchase or leads. 

Discount Google Post

Product: If a business sells products, use these posts to highlight new products or seasonal products to attract more attention to your GMB profile

Using Images and Videos in Google Posts

While you can use stock photography, it preferred that original photography be used just like the rest of your digital marketing strategy. Google doesn’t limit the use of wording (like Facebook) or discourage users from using branding images. Take advantage of this space to catch the user’s eye, and increase your click-through rate on the post itself. Using Google Posts as a vehicle to send users to a specific page on your website increases your chances of getting those users to convert. 

Remember, like many other platforms, Google will crop your photos to ensure it fits within the thumbnail. Having all of your text centralized is one of the best practices when it comes to choosing and creating images.

Greg Gifford and his team at Search Lab created a template that allows you to see what is and isn’t cropped in the Google Post thumbnail

With Posts, you're able to upload videos as well. Google allows business owners to upload short videos to their profiles.

Google Post w/ Video

Using Google Posts for Advertising

Do you run Local Service Ads or other Google Ads? If so, we suggest using the same verbiage from those ads in your Google Posts. Users are ultimately checking out your business from Maps or the Local 3-Pack, you want to ensure that you’re advertising your products/services consistently. 

Remember, any image 750 x 750 or larger seems to work best.

Tracking Posts with UTMs

Looking at your Google Analytics, you won’t ever see “Google Posts” as a referral source nor will you find “Google My Business.” For this reason, it’s important to add UTM tracking codes in your post URLs. UTM codes are snippets of code attached to the end of a URL that can be used to pinpoint specific sources of traffic to your website. 

For more information on how to create UTM codes check out How to Use UTM Parameters to Track Social Media Success.

How to create a Google Post?

If you're ready to create your own Google Posts, we've created this helpful video walkthrough for you.

If you're the type of person who prefers text, here's a breakdown:

  1. Log into your Google My Business account
  2. Click “Posts” in the left column
  3. Click on the “Write your post” box in the main area
  4. Find a photo and add some descriptive text
  5. Choose “Event” if you're promoting an event and add start and end times
  6. Select a call to action button and include a URL where you want to drive traffic
  7. Review and publish when you're ready

Final Thoughts on Google Posts

Posts are a great way to promote new content, services, products, or offers. This could be a recently published podcast episode, a webinar, or the soup du jour.

If you're already sharing your content (or specials) through social, just add Google Posts to your routine. It will probably only add a couple of minutes to your day and may add a lot of value to your marketing.

Posts are about conversions, not optimization (although thanks for the info on it still helping Local SEO visibility…I didn't know that.) Where a company's organic social posts are often about engagement and trust-building, GMB Posts are about traffic and conversions. I think we need to stress that more, so rather than saying “since you're already promoting stuff on social” I think it should be more like “while organic social posts are about engagement, Posts are about conversions and so serve a different purpose. Even if you don't regularly post to social media, Posts are about directly impacting your bottom line. If customers are looking for you on Google, Posts can increase your footprint there and give them a reason to click through and visit your website or sales page.”

Have you tried Google Posts? Have any suggestions on how to make them work more effectively? Or creative ideas on what to post? Please let us know in the comments below!

Rich Brooks
Post Cereal, or Serial Poster?