In 2019, nearly a third of online consumers were in the United States used the internet daily to search for local businesses. As of 2021, Google had a market share of 86.6% in search engines. So if you get noticed on Google, you can effectively grow business and find new customers.
To help businesses reach potential consumers, Google introduced a feature called “My Business Mail”. Businesses can share relevant information, which is shown in Google search and Google Maps results, instead of directing users to a new webpage.
Despite their potential benefits, Google My Business Posts haven’t seen significant brand adoption. If you do a quick Google search, you will find a Help page for “My Business” and a series of questions like “Are Google Posts working?” or “Are Companies Really Using Google Posts?”
In part, this poor acceptance is due to the ubiquity of Google and our own familiarity with these posts. Many companies assume that the Google algorithms automatically select and place relevant data. In fact, companies need to create and schedule their own My Business Posts.
Here’s what you need to know about the best kept secret of local search engine optimization – and how to use My Business Posts for your brand.
What are Google My Business Posts?
A Google My Business Post is a business announcement, offer, event, or product update that appears in your Posts, Summary tabs and on the Google My Business website. Depending on what type of search query your customers are looking for, your Google Post will appear in either Google search or map results.
When creating your Google Posts, there is ample opportunity to grab your audience’s attention. You can describe your offer, product or event in up to 300 words, upload an image, video or GIF, and add calls-to-action to initiate product purchases, reservations and newsletter subscriptions. Your audience can also share your Google Posts on social media.
To ensure that your company constantly publishes new content in the search results, Google sets a lifespan of seven days for each of your Google posts. The only posts that don’t expire after seven days are those promoting events. However, they will disappear once the events end.
Google Posts also has an analytics function that shows you how many impressions and clicks your posts are receiving. This seems like a limited set of metrics, but ultimately it provides enough information to capture which Google Posts resonated with your target audience and which didn’t.
Also note that Google My Business listings are free to create, schedule, and publish.
While it is logical to assume that Google would try to monetize the growing popularity of local search by selling ad space on company listings, the search giant opted for the opposite – it gave every company a Google My BusAccess to a tool that allows them to advertise on their business listings for free. Posts made with Google My Business appear in both search and map results, making it easy for users to find what they’re looking for without being redirected.
How to Use Google My Business Posts to Get Customers
Originally introduced as “Candidate Cards” in 2016, Google Posts were only displayed in relevant search queries for political candidates who wanted to advertise their brand in the search engine.
A few months later, Google decided to make it available to a select group of small businesses. By July 2017, the search engine made Google Posts available for every company with a Google My Business account.
By giving every business the ability to use Google Posts, the playing field in digital marketing will be improved. SMEs without a lot of SEO know-how can now use the enormous range of local search to expand their business. Note that in the first six months of 2020, the number of calls to companies based on data in My Business Posts increased by 61% as customers struggling with pandemic pressures checked to see if companies were open , closed or somewhere in between.
Ready to Create a Google My Business Post? Here is how.
How to post on Google My Business
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Choose the type of post you want to make.
- Make the post.
- Publish your post.
- Check your post status.
Let’s break down each step in more detail.
1. Sign in to Google My Business.
First, sign in to your Google My Business account on your desktop or mobile device. If you have more than one location, select the location you’re creating the post for, then select Posts.
Worthless? You can also create a post directly in Google search. First, make sure you’re signed in to your Google My Business account, then find and select your company profile. Click Promote to get started.
2. Select the type of post you want to create.
Next, choose the type of post you want to create – update, event, offer, or product.
Now you can add elements like photos, videos, text or buttons. In 2020, COVID-19 posts have also been added which can be used to add temporary business hours, operating conditions, or safety and hygiene notifications.
3. Craft the post.
If your content isn’t engaging regardless of the strength of your marketing strategy, you won’t get results. Only by creating engaging content can you grab your audience’s attention and gain their trust. Here are three copywriting tips you can follow to effectively connect with people and encourage action using Google Posts.
1. Create headlines that appeal to people’s self-interest or type messages.
With only 58 characters in your title, you have to get to the point of your offer. However, in order to get users to click, you also need to clearly communicate the value, benefits, and relevance of your offering. How do you get the attention of someone with so little space to work?
- Headlines that appeal to the audience’s self-interest
- Headlines that deliver the news
- Headlines with attention grabbing words and phrases
- Headings that are clear, easy to read, and lint-free
2. Publish Google Posts that are clear, concise, and compelling.
Although you technically have up to 1,500 characters to describe your offering, only the first 100 characters will appear in the Google Knowledge Panel.
Try sticking to one message per Google Post to instantly hook people and convince them to click your offer or read the rest of your description. Highlighting the main benefit or function of your offer, especially in the first 100 characters, will help your customers understand the value of the offer and increase the likelihood of a click.
Another way to increase Google Post’s click-through rate is to take advantage of the scarcity. People value objects and experiences that are rare – having something that most people want but cannot have increases our self-esteem and our sense of power.
Since every Google Post has a lifespan of seven days, you can also adjust the deadline for your offer to match the expiration date of your post and use words and phrases that create a sense of urgency, such as: B. “Exclusive Offer” or “Limited Availability”. This psychology-assisted tactic will skyrocket the perceived scarcity of your supply, and thus consumer demand.
3. Use a large, high quality image to make your Google Post stand out.
On a website that is dominated by text, vivid graphics are refreshing and eye-catching. However, if you add a standard photo or an amateur iPhone image to your copy, no one is going to get noticed. Vibrant photos make your Google Post stand out and grab your audience’s attention. So make sure you take photos or videos with good composition, lighting, and a decent camera.
You also want your picture to take up most of the space in your post. So make sure that your photos have a minimum resolution of 720 x 520 pixels.
4. Publish your post.
When you’re ready to go live, click Publish. If you’d rather see what your post will look like before you publish it, choose Preview. Do not you like it? Click Back and then Edit to refine your My Business Post. Once your post is live, it will show up in both Google Search and Google Maps results.
5. Check your post status.
If your post doesn’t appear in search results, please return to your My Company account to check its status. “Live” means it should be visible in both search and map results, while “Pending” means it may be in the uploading, processing phase, or being reviewed by Google.
If the post status is Unapproved, it won’t appear in Cards or Search. However, the question mark next to the post indicates which content guidelines the post is currently violating.
Examples for Google My Business Post
Let’s take a look at some interesting examples from My Business Post
1. Kate McElwee Photography
If you search for “Boston Wedding Photographers” a list of the photographers will appear in a list on the left side of the page and their locations on the right side of the page in a Google Map.
2. Boston Yoga Union
If you google “Boston Yoga Studio” you will see a number of options in a list on Google. You will see the results on the Google Map.
Clicking on any of the photographers in the list will reveal their contact information, hours of operation, ratings, and samples of their photos without leaving the Google search results page.
3. Bostonia Public House
If you search for “Boston restaurants” on Google, you’ll see a long list of restaurants along with a Google Map showing where each restaurant is located.
If you click on a restaurant in the list, as I did with Bostonia Public House in the screenshot below, you can “reserve” your table without ever leaving Google. You also have access to the menu, reviews, pictures of the restaurant and much more on this page.
Use Google My Business Posts to Maximize Local SEO Marketing
As a free and easy tool for connecting with customers, Google My Business Posts offers tremendous potential for local SEO marketing. The restriction? While your posts will appear in both maps and search results, generic content will go unnoticed in an increasingly competitive marketing landscape.
In fact, Google has the tools you need to get your jobs done. However, it’s up to your company to create compelling, context-sensitive content that will grab the attention of consumers.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated for completeness.