Posted at May 21, 2021 12:03:00 PM by Morgan Stuive | Share
For local businesses, staying up to date with the latest releases of citation tools is key to outperforming competitors, especially on the citations giant, Google My Business. The latest release of capabilities is highlighted by Google Posts. If you haven't been introduced to Google Posts, you will notice some examples of posts highlighted in the section at the end of the blog.
WHAT ARE GOOGLE POSTS?
In simple terms, the purpose of Google Posts is to highlight upcoming events, sales & offers as well as recent news events within 100 to 300 words directly on the Google My Business listing. Yes, this also means it will be present on the search listings as promotional options and one more way to set your business apart.
This new tool appeals to nearly all industries and is easily accessible to update within the GMB dashboard as seen in this image. The posts section within the GMB dashboard is user-friendly and walks through each step to understand the purpose of the post making it an easy add-on to your laundry list of local citation management items. But, before getting ambitious with posting your next full year of events, there is something you should know. Google has noted and confirmed that nearly all posts are removed within seven days of being published with the exception of upcoming events, which are then removed after the event date. This addition to posts keeps content fresh and relevant for the end-user.
GOOGLE POSTS EXAMPLES
So what are some good examples of what to post and not to post? Below are two options that local businesses in different industries are taking advantage of within their posts.
Local Restaurant Google Posts – This local restaurant in the mobile GMB example is highlighting one of their menu items with a direct “buy” button right on their recent post as a strong call to action for searching users. Other Google Post buttons or CTA's available to use are; learn more, reserve, sign up, buy and get offers. This post will only last seven days but is highlighting one of their client's favorite menu items at a potentially discounted price. Once again, this can be used for all industries to promote new products, sales, and upcoming offers. Most importantly, this promotion is occurring without actual ad buying or management.
IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS BECOMING A SOCIAL NETWORK?
Google Posts have been proven to increase map pack rankings and offer a way for businesses to display messages to searching individuals for free. Google has experimented with the location of the placement for these calls to action but have seen steady improvements in the utilization from businesses in multiple industries.
Following Google Local Businesses – With an announcement from Google in October, users now have the ability to follow businesses directly in the search results. This is likely a direct compensation for the shutdown of Google + which had this feature. Although this is currently only available for Android users, this shift shows the intent of Google to create a personalized option for users. IOS is expected to see this feature in early 2019.
Once a user follows a business location, they are able to navigate to a “For You” tab in their Google maps account. The tab holds information from the businesses they follow and is primarily consisting of Google Posts from these followed businesses. This is in essence creating a social feed without updates from friends and family. Some theories regarding the follow button have suggested that the number of followers could be a ranking factor in 2019. Additionally, I would not be surprised if these updates get woven into daily updates from voice assistance like Google Homes or push notifications surface on Google Map apps.
GMB Q&A – Although one of the older additions to GMB, questions, and answers were added to Google My Business listings. This gives users and business managers the ability to interact on the listings with questions that may be frequently asked by customers. Managers can answer these questions directly on the listing to help improve a user’s experience with the listing and the business. Much like reviews, the listing managers receive notifications of a new question, so it can be answered in a timely manner.
These three main changes along with others are supporting updates to the theory that GMB is moving toward a more customizable and social network-focused platform. As always the Google team is pretty closed-lipped about their future, but you can be rest assured that they will change quickly to adapt to the changes. As business and marketing managers of local retailers and services providers, we are along for the ride and should continue to maximize our efforts on this platform.
Why Google My Business is Important:
Because Google is the main search engine to help you find exactly what you are looking for, it has become necessary for small businesses to present and showcase their products and services on google. Google My Business was developed for businesses to stand out and share their business information with massive audiences. The benefits of having a google my business are pretty apparent but let's dive a bit deeper.
1. GMB is Cost-Effective
GMB is free for businesses to set up their listings. Your GMB listing gives potential clients easy access to your hours of operation, website, phone number, and directions all with just a click of a button at no cost to you. Customers can also see review ratings and busiest hours.
2. Helps with Local Ratings
According to local ranking factor industry research, Google My Business “signals” is the most important ranking factor for local pack rankings. Google My Business signals had an increase in ranking importance between 2017 and 2018 — rising from 19% to 25%. Other things to increase rankings include, claiming your GMB profile, optimizing your profile, and frequently reviewing your dashboard to make sure that no unwanted updates have been made to your profile.
3. Google Search and Maps Visibility
One of the biggest benefits of your profile on Google My Business is appearing in the local search area and in Google Maps results. You’ll typically see a map with three local results highlighted with details such as the business website, directions, and contact information.
4. Messaging through GMB
Google recently released the options to message businesses through their GMB profiles. Through this feature, businesses will be able to quickly answer questions and assist current and potential customers. You’ll need to turn on this feature within your Google My Business dashboard to begin receiving messages.
5. Menus Available for Restaurants
This new feature allows for restaurant owners who are managing their GMB profiles to have access to a menu editor which enables owners to create and edit their menus that are displayed on mobile.
6. Product & Offer Posts
Product and offer posts are designated to help highlight and showcase your products and services to your potential customers. This is a great opportunity for business owners to take advantage of a free feature that would typically cost them money.