If you’ve logged into Google My Business in the past few weeks, you might be looking for tips on a brand new feature: Google My Business Posts.
Google My Business Posts are short, social-media style posts that your search engine marketing team can post to Google for free. When someone searches for your business in Google search or Google Maps, your posts appear directly in their search results. Google calls Posts “a new way to share relevant, fresh content with the people who are searching for you.” But in terms of search engine marketing, you might as well call them “free ad space.”
Sound enticing? We think so too. But before you jump in feet first, here’s what you need to know about this new feature. We’ve also included five crucial Google My Business Posts tips that you can use to optimize your results.
Google My Business Posts 101
While Posts is a new feature for Google My Business users, Google has been toying with this product for over a year. It was first available to candidates in the 2016 presidential primaries, and Google has been testing it with different types of verified users ever since.
Each post is made up of a few, simple elements. When you make a post, you will be asked to choose a post type (i.e. “Event” or “Offer/Special”), add a photo, write content, and choose a call to action (i.e. “Buy” or “Learn More). You’ll also be able to assign URL or phone number for the call to action button. If your post is an “Event,” you’ll be asked to write a title.
Posts appear when Google considers your business the most relevant search result for a user’s query. This is usually when someone searches for your business’s name. It could also be for a product or service query where your business is the top local result. Posts are displayed in a carousel format within the knowledge graph in organic search. In Google Maps, they appear as part of your business listing.
This feature has a number of search engine marketing advantages. It’s free (for now), it’s a great way to take up real estate in search results, and it’s an effective tool for promoting offers directly within Google search. That said, it’s a new product so there’s minimal data on its effectiveness. You also might need a few tips on Google My Business Posts before you get started…
Google My Business Posts Tips
Posts is a new feature for Google My Business, so search engine marketing professionals are still testing the limits of what this tool can do. But if you’re looking for some quick tips on optimizing Google My Business Posts, the five tips below should give you a head-start:
- Optimizing Content. Posts have a limit of 15,000 characters, but Google recommends only using 150-300. What they don’t tell you is only 100 characters appear in search results — users need to click on your post to see the rest. So, put as much time as possible into the first 100 characters. And remember: Google will punish posts that use gimmicky language or formatting.
- Optimizing Images. Google allows images as small as 250 x 250 pixels, but your images will appear best at 720 x 720 pixels. To avoid ugly accidents with cropping when your image appears in search results, use square images with a central focal point.
- Optimizing Visibility. Your carousel will contain up to three posts, and users can scroll through as many as ten posts in the carousel. Have at least three posts at any given time to maximize visibility. Keep in mind that posts appear chronologically, so users will always see your latest post first.
- Optimizing Scheduling. Google Posts will disappear from search results within seven days, so successful use of this feature demands a commitment to regular posting. Unfortunately, there’s no way yet to pre-schedule your posts.
- Optimizing Analytics. Google Analytics cannot track posts. Even worse, Posts data is extremely limited for Google My Business users. To get around this, use UTM codes for your call to action URLs. This will allow you to track hard data within Google Analytics.