In June 2017 Google rolled out Google Posts for all Google My Business users, enabling business owners to publish directly through their Google My Business listings and acquire even more real estate on the SERPs (search engine results pages).

However, despite it’s announcement this has widely been an under-utilised tool in the local marketing and local SEO arsenal. Posts is just one of a number of new features that aren’t being used to their full potential.

Google Posts

Through Posts, Google has given businesses the ability to post content for key events, offers and product updates directly into the knowledge graph (clickless search model).

Google Posts are designed to convey additional information to users already searching for your business on Google, increasing the user value factor of searches.

The four recommended categories for posts are:

  • Events
  • Offers/Specials
  • Product Updates
  • Announcements

Google Posts are accessible through your Google My Business page, and the option to post appears below your “basic business information” fields.

While the fields allow for more than 1,000 characters, it’s important to remember both how users search, and why they search.

Data suggests it’s highly likely they’ll be on their mobile phones and on the move.

Because of this the recommended post length is between 150 and 300 words, so provide value and additional information in a precise manner.

Post curation is extremely easy, and is as simple as choosing a post type, and entering standard post fields such as title, and body content (the details).

You then select a CTA relevant to the post type and the information provided.

Google said in their blog post that:

Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. By creating posts, you can place your timely text, video, or photo content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.

From experimenting with local clients already, I’ve found that:

  • Posts perform better when they include high resolution visuals, such as images and video.
  • When you do use images, make sure they look good and professional (small businesses can benefit from using tools like Canva if they don’t have graphic design resource).
  • There is a correlation between posting frequently and post visibility within the Knowledge Graph panel.
  • You can have more than one post live at any given time.
  • 300 characters is a small limit, so don’t try and say everything and give users a reason to click through to a relevant page that continues the discovery and user journey immediately.

Google lets you see how many times your post was viewed, and your button clicked in the GMB dashboard.

Google Services

Services allow businesses in specific (service) industries to add those exact services into their Knowledge Graph panel.

These don’t currently show up on Desktop search, but they do on mobile (which for a lot of service businesses constitutes a high proportion of visibility and traffic). In order to access this feature, you need to login to your Google My Business listing;

  1. Click on the “Info” tab on the left-hand nav bar
  2. Select services from the menu

One important thing here is that you don’t need to add a price, even though the field is visible. Other important considerations include:

  • If a quote or pre-price qualification is necessary, make sure this is made abundantly clear in the item description.
  • There is no option to include a linked CTA or point the user to a landing page, so utilise the item description to encourage a website visit.

Also from experience, I’ve used the top navigation menu for some clients to inform the parent/child structure of categories and items within the services setup.

Business Descriptions

This isn’t strictly a new feature, however Google did remove it in August 2016, but it now looks as though they’re brought it back and then some. Previously, businesses could add 100 to 300 words of brand copy to a GMB listing, but now with the reintroduction they can add up to 750 characters.

But the real benefit of business descriptions is for mobile users who aren’t likely to read your meta titles and meta descriptions if they come right from Google Maps or a Google Map Pack result. This makes business descriptions essential for those looking to improve their local visibility.

At the moment there is no data to suggest that adding a Business Description improves your local search/map pack performance.