How to Grow Your Local SEO with Google Posts

Local SEO has become an increasingly important facet of search engine optimization, as it’s capable of amplifying your digital marketing efforts and turning them into foot traffic.

According to Google, 82% of people rely on search engines to find local information. Similarly, there has been a 150% increase in the “near me” search phrases, which illustrates how indispensable it is to optimize your local presence.

If you want to boost the local visibility of your brick-and-mortar business and engage your potential customers, then this tactic is a must.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to achieve all this is through Google Posts.

Being the preferred starting point for product and service search, Google introduced this tool in order to help regional audiences discover businesses in their vicinity and get in touch with them easily. Therefore, by leveraging Google Posts, you can connect with potential customers from your area and help them learn about your business firsthand.

Here are some best practices for creating Google Posts and make the most of this powerful feature.

What Are Google Posts?

Back in January 2016, Google rolled out a new feature to be used during the US presidential campaign. Posts by candidates were shown in a card-like format at the top of search results. Later, this option became widely available, and its potential to amplify local SEO started to grow.

Google Posts is an unofficial name of this feature that essentially allows businesses to create and publish content directly on their Google My Business accounts. These short posts can be up to 1,500 characters long, but it’s best to aim for somewhere between 150 and 300 characters for the best impact, and can contain photos, videos, links, and call-to-action buttons.

There are four kinds of updates that you can publish

  • What’s new – share the latest news about your business, promote a new blog post, or make an important announcement
  • Event – share the information about the upcoming event that you’ll be hosting
  • Offer – promote offers and discounts that you’re running
  • Product – share the latest product information, upgrades, or simply talk about the product that you’d like to put in the spotlight.

These four categories cover all kinds of updates, including job openings, additional information about your business, collaborations and partnerships, webinars, conferences, and anything that’s relevant to your local business.

What you should be aware of is that all posts are removed after seven days, except Event posts as they expire after the event date. In other words, you need to create and publish fresh content regularly.

When someone runs a search for your business or clicks on your local listing in Google search or Maps, they will be able to see your posts besides all the other business details you provided. Google Posts will also show up when triggered by a search containing brand terms related to your business.

How to Create and Publish Google Posts?

We’ve already established that Google Posts is a relatively new addition to the Google My Business pack and that it can come in pretty handy to help you keep your target audience exposed to your content.

It’s important to emphasize that Google favors locally-focused content when it comes to GMB posts.

To start posting, you need to have a verified Google My Business account, as that way you’ll have full access to your Business Profile on Google as well as the dashboard from which you can add and edit the information about your business.

Once your Google My Business account is all set and verified, you can take the following steps.

As of March 2020, there’s also a Covid-19 update tab, so that you can make updates to your business information, such as business hours, changes in service, and everything else that has to do with how social distancing measures impact your business.

Given that there are new regulations and advisories in an attempt to control the crisis, it’s crucial to keep your customers posted about how they can obtain your products or services. Make sure to do the following:

These updates will be displayed in Google searches and Google Maps in the form of an alert.

As you can see, technically speaking, the entire process isn’t complicated, but in order to make the most of this strategy, you need to know how to craft your posts and make them appealing to Google and your local audience.

Related: Why Local SEO Is a Great Channel for Small Businesses

How to Craft Effective Google Posts?

The success of your Google Posts strategy heavily depends on the way you craft your updates.

As you already know, both Google and your customers expect nothing short of superb when it comes to the content you share, and the same rule applies in this case.

Here are some recommendations that will help you get the best from this useful feature.

1. Create Informative and Valuable Content

It’s a no-brainer, but given that this format isn’t your regular blog or social media post, it’s a good idea to pinpoint what exactly high-quality content is in terms of Google Posts.

First of all, although there’s no rule against it, you shouldn’t post duplicate content, that is something that you’ve already shared on your other channels. Your customers don’t need to see the same content repeatedly.

As for the length, the recommended 300 characters we mentioned earlier in the text are in line with the bite-sized information approach that’s considered more engaging since this is the place where your customers come to obtain helpful information.

So, if your post is elaborate and long, the most important information will be buried within it, and your customers might miss it. Sometimes, just a teaser or a sneak peek into a longer blog post or update can be used to capture their attention and get them to click on the CTA button. Also, as only the first 7 or 8 words will be shown above the fold, make this introduction compelling in order to get your customers to read on.

Finally, the relevance of your content plays an important role here. As these posts are temporary and last for only a week, talking about the current events and activities of your business is what works for such a format. Recent accolades, new pricing, discounts, or community involvement will do the trick.

2. Communicate Your Message Clearly

Although Google Posts are part of your overall marketing strategy, you should refrain from a salesy approach.

This means that using the industry slang, exclamation marks, and way too many emojis will make you look like a spammer.

Instead of that, focus on just one offer or piece of information per post and try to include your business values in the narrative. The purpose of this is to highlight the benefits of your products or service that your customers will enjoy if they decide to purchase from you.

For example, you can share your top products and services, and include links to happy users’ reviews. Also, if a customer asks a question, be sure to answer in a timely manner.

Although Google Posts don’t have a significant impact on your rankings, their SEO value lies in the fact that your business will build a strong online presence and increase engagement through meaningful communication with your customers.

3. Add Stunning Visuals

Using visually-oriented content is a surefire way of attracting your customers’ attention. According to a recent survey, 54% of consumers say they want to see more video content from the brands they’re interested in.

The same goes for photos, infographics, and other visuals – people find such content more engaging. No wonder if we bear in mind that a great deal of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Moreover, the human brain processes images within 13 milliseconds.

For example, if you run a restaurant, your potential customers would like to see its ambiance as well as some of your meals. Whenever you have a new addition to the menu, it’s a good idea to showcase it through an aesthetically-pleasing post or video.

However, not just any photo or video will do. To capitalize on this trend, the photos and videos you add to your Google Posts should be visually appealing and professional-looking.

We’re talking about high-res photos, 400px wide by 300px tall, while the format should be either JPG or PNG. Use well-lit, focused photos that are center-focused so that no important details get cut out accidentally by Google.

As for the videos, you can upload different formats, but the size has to be up to 100MB.

4. Include a Captivating Call-to-Action Button

Google provides a variety of different CTA buttons, and you can choose the one that suits the type of your post. Prompt your customers to Learn More, Buy Now, Sign Up, or Order Online.

Every effective CTA leads to a dedicated landing page that will successfully convert your customers and get them to purchase or take the desired action.

However, you can also choose to link to another page that’s not on your domain, but in that case, you should check whether it’s a trustworthy and reliable source, as well as that the content on that particular website doesn’t violate Google’s content policy.

It’s a good idea to set UTM parameters and add them to your links in order to keep track of your Google Posts performance in comparison to your other marketing efforts. Otherwise, you won’t be able to monitor whether your Google Posts strategy is successful and how many prospects and customers it brings to your website.

5. Take Advantage of Google Posts Insights

Understanding your customers’ behavior is of tremendous importance for your SEO and general marketing efforts.

And Google Analytics comes with very granular and powerful features with which you can easily identify what works and what doesn’t.

For example, if you click on Post Insights, you’ll see how many people engaged with your every individual post. This means that you’ll have the exact number of those who saw and clicked on each post.

Besides that, there’s an option to obtain more detailed analytics of your Google My Business account. You can uncover valuable information such as how your customers found you, what queries they typed in order to find your business, as well as the number of those who discovered your business via Google Search or Google Maps.

When you have such accurate information, you can tweak your future posts to match those that bring you the most traffic and engagement.

With Google Posts, you can open an entirely new avenue for improving your digital presence and enhancing your local SEO. This feature, if properly leveraged, can help you reach customers from your area online and attract them to your brick-and-mortar business.

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