This past June, Google announced the roll-out of a new feature, now available to businesses world-wide – Google Posts (or “Posts by Google”). In fact, you may have seen them in action when searching for businesses online. So what are they?
From Google, “Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps.”
The result is what some are calling a “micro-blog”, a little card that appears with your business’s info snapshot (or “Knowledge Panel”) in Google Search Results and Google Maps. They can include text, media and link, and can be shared by people via social and email making them another great opportunity for free online word-of-mouth advertising. Think: Google’s own version of a social post.
We’re always telling our clients to make use of every opportunity for a good call-to-action (CTA). Google Posts represent a new spot to include a CTA, and one that should definitely be added to your business’s internet marketing plan.
Wait! What’s a Knowledge Panel?
“When people search for a business on Google, they may see information about that business in a box that appears to the right of their search results. The information in the box, called the Knowledge Panel, can help customers discover and contact your business.” (Google)
Here’s Disney World’s Knowledge Panel:
Businesses can moderate the contents of their Knowledge Panel from inside their Google My Business (GMB) account dashboard. Doing so provides an incredible opportunity to control exactly what people see when they search for your business by name or by related products and services, and give searchers an easy and immediate way to learn more about you and, ultimately – hopefully, contact you!
Don’t have a GMB listing? Get one! It’s free.
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.” (Google)
One important note: a Knowledge Panel result for your business isn’t guaranteed, and isn’t guaranteed to appear in search results every time. Lots of factors come into play, like the business’s proximity to the searcher’s physical location or the relevance of the business’s offerings to the searched-for keywords. But ensuring that you’ve got a GMB account with accurate and updated information is a critical first step.
Here’s what our Stir Marketing Knowledge Panel looks like in Google Search and Google Maps:
Google Posts were first launched last year for use in the US by Presidential Candidates as a way for parties to share up-to-the-minute information inside their Google search results. Now they’re available for use by all Google My Business users.
And while this new feature feels like it’s still in the beta phase (read: testing), so features and functionality are likely to change, you shouldn’t pass up any opportunity to share timely information about your brand with your target market. (And people searching for your business by name, and therefore people who are likely to see your business’s Knowledge Panel, are definitely members of your target market!)
Some things you might share via Google Posts:
- Sales and events
- New products and services
- Business announcements
- Links to articles, press releases or blog posts
Consider dovetailing a Google Post plan with your overall social media and/or content marketing strategy. Add Google Posts to your internal editorial calendar so you can plan posting to match your business’s events or new product/service launch calendars.
Google Post Best Practices
Google Posts can include up to 300 words (though anything after the first 100 words will likely be truncated, so get your message across quickly!), a photo, video or animated GIF, and a link. And the link is crucial – it’s how you’ll drive traffic right to your website or landing page. Those first 100 words should include a strong call-to-action (CTA) – ie: click the link below!
Still stumped? Consider these ideas: If you’re a restaurant, make it easy for people to reserve a spot for dinner and link to your website’s reservation page. Launching a new product? Feature an eye-catching photo and link to the “Buy Now” page on your website. Does your business blog regularly? Include links to new blog posts in your Google Posts. The possibilities are endless! Note: Endless, but not timeless. Google Posts expire after about a week so plan to post often to keep things fresh.
Here’s a Google Post we published recently:
A few things to remember: your Google post “cards” won’t always appear, for example, along the bottom of your Knowledge Panel. Sometimes they’ll be higher up, or somewhere else completely depending on, among other things, the viewing platform (ie: PC or mobile).
Don’t fret, you have no control over that, but you can follow some posting best practices to make sure your cards look great no matter where they appear. Here’s a great list c/o Search Engine Land: 12 Things To Know To Succeed With Google Posts.
Ready to get started but not sure where to begin?
Stir Marketing can incorporate a Google Post plan into any of our digital marketing campaigns. Get in touch with one of our digital marketing experts today to learn more.