Local businesses now have a new option to showcase current promotions, events, products and content in Google search results. With Google Posts, businesses can share marketing updates directly in organic search via the Knowledge Panel.
Google made Google Posts available to local businesses that use the Google My Business (GMB) platform as of June 22, 2017. Just weeks prior, Google had migrated Google Posts to GMB.
Previously Google tested this new feature with the U.S. election via candidate cards. In late 2016, Google began rolling out the test to select businesses only, and the product was often referred to as Podium.
What’s the Impact on Google Search Results?
Knowledge Panel in Desktop
Google Posts display in the Knowledge Panel for a local business. Typically, the Knowledge Panel appears in Google search results when a user performs a branded search for a business.
Below is an example Google desktop search result for the local business “The Range 702.”
The Knowledge Panel displays on the right (which is tied to the Google My Business account). The new Google Posts featuring the Summer Sales are displayed within the Knowledge Panel.
Knowledge Panel in Mobile
Knowledge Panels in mobile typically feature the same information as in desktop. Google Posts also appear in Knowledge Panels in mobile, but they can have different dimensions and layouts than in desktop.
Below are example Google mobile results. Junzi Kitchen displays a carousel of Google Posts as the business has more than one Google Post active. The Range 702 displays one Google Post. The two screenshots for The Range 702 were taken weeks apart, suggesting Google is still testing or updating the appearance.
It is important to note that Google Posts will only appear directly in search results via the Knowledge Panel for branded searches. For non-branded searches in mobile or desktop, a user must first click on your business in the local map results in order to view the Google Posts.
For example, Junzi Kitchen appears in the local map results below for a non-branded search.
Upon clicking Junzi Kitchen in the local results, the user is then directed to Google Places results. There, the user can see the Knowledge Panel – and Google Posts – for the business.
What’s the Opportunity for Local Business Marketing?
The rollout of Google Posts presents exciting opportunities for local businesses. Ultimately businesses can use Google Posts to “speak” directly to current or potential customers in real time. A Google Post can appear almost instantly in the Knowledge Panel.
Local businesses can utilize Google Posts to:
- Share current promotions and specials
- Promote events or happenings
- Highlight top products and new arrivals
- Showcase new site content or blog posts
As Google Posts can be eye catching, they can naturally attract click-throughs. This means they can support organic conversions for sales or promotions, which are posted in real time.
In terms of paid marketing implications, some speculate that Google Posts could help businesses lower their budget for sponsored ads. (Again, it’s important to note that Google Posts only appear on page one for branded searches. Therefore they shouldn’t impact paid budget for non-branded keywords.)
What are the Guidelines for Creating Google Posts?
It is important to stay informed of Google updates for any changes. At this time, the current guidelines and key points to remember are the following:
- Google Posts that are not designated as an event will remain live for one week
- GMB owners will get a notice on day 6 that a post will be expiring
- Google Posts designated as an event will remain active for one week from the time of posting, or until the event end date (and so events can be live for longer than one week)
- Multiple posts will display in a carousel, with the newest post first
- Google Posts have unique URLs that can be shared on social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Google+
- Posts have no impact on organic rankings, according to recent tests, and are not indexed by Google
- Insights are available in the GMB platform and include views (times your post was seen) and engagement (times a user clicked your button)
- An image is recommended but not required
- The minimum requirement for an image is 250 x 250 pixels
- The recommended dimensions for images are 750 x 750 pixels
- Images should be “center-weighted” due to cropping that can happen
- Animated GIFs and videos are not supported at this time
- Copy can be 100-300 words
- Only the first 100 characters display in the Knowledge Panel
- Events will also need an Event Title, which will appear just below the event dates and just above the post copy
- Predefined buttons are available: Learn More, Reserve, Sign Up, Buy or Get Offer
- If a button is selected, then one destination URL is required
- For destination URLs, it is recommended – but not required – to use UTM codes for more insightful Google Analytics tracking
How Do You Create a Google Post?
Google Posts can be created directly in the Google My Business (GMB) platform, either on desktop or the Android and iOS apps.
If you have multiple business listings in GMB, you will need to create a post for a single location. Should you wish to have the post for all locations, you will need to create a separate Google Post for each local business listing.
First you will need to access your location’s “dashboard.” This can be accessed by the three dots next to the storefront icon, as shown below:
If you do not have multiple business listings, then you can skip the step above.
Once logged in to your dashboard, click on “Posts” on the left-side menu, as shown below:
There you will see the link to “create a post,” in which the following options are available. (You will need to click the event and button dials in order to see all the options shown below.)