Google is constantly updating its search engine, which means that users can wake up one day, perform a search, and suddenly see something completely new. Google Posts are the latest surprise that users may be encountering when they search for their favorite bakery, bookstore, or clothing brand. The small content cards that appear under a company’s knowledge graph are actually a new and improved version of the “Candidate Cards” that first appeared in search results in January 2016. The feature underwent several changes before finally rolling out to all Google My Business users in late June 2017.
What are “Google Posts”?
“Google Posts” are a new feature that lets a company or organization post short, timely updates directly in the organic search results. The feature is managed through Google My Business, which means any local business owner will have access to it. The posts are published in a carousel directly under your business’s knowledge graph, thus any updates and company news you post will be shared directly in Google Search and Maps. The posts allow for 100-300 words of content, an image or video, and a CTA button that will lead to any page of your website that you choose.
When to Use Google Posts
Posts are most beneficial for promoting short term, fresh content that is interesting to both new and returning users. The types of content that should be promoted through posts includes:
- A sales promotion or special limited time offer
- An event
- The launch of a new product or rebrand
- A new study, eBook, or published content
- An official company announcement
The posts only last for 7 days because Google wants to ensure that the only content appearing in the Posts section of the knowledge graph is relevant and up-to-date. The exception to this is events, which will remain in the Posts feed until the day after the event occurs.
How to Create a Google Post
Creating a Google Post is a fast and simple process. Using Google My Business, a new post can be created for any of your business locations.
- Log in to your Google My Business account.
- Scroll through your list of locations to the office or store that you wish to post about, and click to its Dashboard. The Dashboard can be found in the drop down list that appears when you click the 3 vertical dots next to the location.
- On the left hand side of the Dashboard, click the Posts tab. This is where you will create and manage posts.
- When writing your post, make sure your content does not exceed 300 words. At the bottom of the New Post box, there are options to “Make the post an event” or “Add a button”. It is best practice to give every post a button that leads back to your website when clicked.
- Choose an image to upload. The best size to use for the image is 750×750, and anything smaller than 250×250 won’t be accepted at all.
- Preview and publish your post.
As you create multiple posts, the newest one will show first in the carousel and push the older ones to the back. Google will show up to 10 posts in the carousel at once. It’s encouraged to post often because the carousel will remove a post older than 7 days, but not more than once per day to avoid filling the carousel completely,
How Google Posts Can Boost Your Organic and Paid Search Strategy
Since Google Posts appear directly in the search results for your business’s name, they will influence your search strategy. Currently, the posts don’t have an impact on website ranking, and are only used to drive new sessions and spread awareness of your site. Although the posts generate their own unique URL that can be shared, the URL is not indexed in Google. However, the posts are a feature of the knowledge graph, which means they appear in “position 0” on mobile, and in the top right side of the results on desktop. This places them above all organic search results. Posts provide an opportunity to share a link to a sales landing page that might never rank well organically on its own, right at the top of the organic results. Even though Google Posts are not a ranking signal (yet) it would be unwise to not take advantage of the prime real estate to post your latest promotions, articles, or news.
The content of Google Posts should be friendly and informative, and promote some form of new sale, event, or article. Successful ad copy from social advertising and paid campaigns can inform the content of Google Posts. The goal of the post is to highlight current sales or unique news with a purpose, not to generally advertise your business. but attention-grabbing copy from your ad campaigns can be re-purposed in this way.
Aside from promoting sales or events, Posts can sync with your company’s blog or publishing calendar in order to highlight the most important posts at the most opportune times. For most brands, creating a Google Post for every piece of content that’s published won’t be worth it, since Posts are restricted to 7 days and a limited display carousal. However, creating a Post that highlights content that is timely and related to real-time events, or content promoting a new or specific aspect of your business, would be beneficial. Using Google Posts to share the new blog or article will increase your chances of getting more users on the page and more eyes reading your content.
Finally, each Google Post ends with a CTA button that leads to a page on your site. A best practice is to ensure that this link is trackable using UTM parameters. This data can provide details on how often a user arrives on the website via a Google Post rather than a PPC ad or organic result, which in turn can help inform how often to employ Posts.
Posts of the Future
Google Posts are currently a free feature within Google My Business, but it may not always be this way. It appears that Google is still testing the feature because certain users have reported variations in posts. An example of this is video content; not all GMB users have the ability to add video at the current time. Google will continue to modify the Posts feature, as it does with all its tools, but for now every GMB user should take advantage of this free way to promote fresh content at the top of branded search results.