You may be tempted to roll your eyes at Google Posts as another of the company’s underwhelming social features like Google Buzz and Google Plus. However, the service isn’t really a social platform at all. While we’re still learning Google Posts’ overall impact on search marketing, it’s already demonstrated its usefulness to businesses as a new way to connect with customers, especially now during the holiday season.
What are Google Posts and how do you use them?
So what are these things anyway, and why should businesses care? It’s simple: Google Posts are messages or updates published by brands that appear directly in search results on both desktop and mobile. They include text along with images, videos, or animated GIFs. When users search for your business name on Google, they’ll instantly see posts you’ve submitted. (Think Tweet feeds embedded in SERPs.)
Google Posts can easily be created from your Google My Business dashboard. Just click “Create post” or choose “Posts” from the menu. Alternatively, search for your business, click the link below the Knowledge Panel, and follow the instructions to become verified.
What are the benefits?
The potential advantages of using Google Posts aren’t too difficult to imagine. They provide an efficient way to deliver up-to-the-minute information about promotions, sales, or other events related to your brand. Posts are available for seven days or can be set to appear for the duration of a specific promotion, making them ideal for time-sensitive situations.
Time-sensitivity is a fact of life during the holiday season. Google Posts are a great way to spread awareness of your limited-time deals and special holiday store hours for Black Friday and beyond. When consumers are out shopping and search for your business, they’ll receive the latest scoop on what you have to offer. Posts also appear in Maps, making you even more visible to those searching and shopping locally. You can tell potential buyers exactly what you want them to know in a critical moment.
What are the drawbacks?
Google Posts do have a few limitations you’ll need to keep in mind as you create them. The text cuts off after 100 characters, so short and sweet is the key. Provide your audience with only the most important, relevant information about your promotion or business. On a similar note, images are best sized at 750×750 pixels.
Joy Hawkins of Search Engine Land tested the effect of Google Posts on overall search ranking and determined that posting regularly has a moderate impact at best. She also found that Google My Business Insights provide incorrect data about the traffic driven by posts. She advises using UTM codes on URLs to get more accurate numbers in Google Analytics.
In all likelihood, Google Posts won’t completely transform your online search profile, but there is little reason not to give them a try. They require minimal effort and can only increase your presence in Google search results. That could pay dividends during the holidays when buyers are searching at a feverish pace. Use posts in conjunction with your other marketing efforts and see what kind of results you get.
For more tips on making this holiday shopping season a success, we highly recommend checking out our NetElixir Holiday Readiness Kit to help you thrive this time of year.