Local businesses can all benefit from a presence on Facebook and Google My Business, but there’s a competition heating up that’s beyond your control. As Facebook continues building out its local search capabilities with Facebook Places and Facebook ads, Google has also launched a new channel to help local businesses update their listings.
Google posts have been live on all Google My Business pages for a year, just waiting for your post to be published and shared. So, we want to show you what exactly is in this for you.
Why Google has created Google posts:
When Google extended their My Business features, their goal was to give all businesses the ability to:
• Share daily specials and current campaigns, to encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of new discounts and deals.
• Promote your business’s events and share your upcoming activities.
• Launch and showcase your new products.
• Choose from a host of options to engage with your customers right there within your Google listing. You can give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, or learn more about the hottest offers. Your customers can even buy what you’re selling, directly from your website.
How do searchers see your Google posts?
Google Posts appear in card-format at the top of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), when users search for your local business.
What benefits do Google posts offer?
1. CTAs. Posts offer users a one-click incentive to learn about, buy, or sign up for a product, service, or event. It moves your business towards better interaction with your customers.
2. Sense of urgency. Google posts with a start and end date create urgency when you craft daily campaigns. This, in turn, drives business.
3. More calls. Boost clickthroughs by posting interesting, relevant posts to your Google My Business Page.
4. Increase online visibility, customer engagement, and conversion rates. If you want to beat out the local competition, Google posts are your opportunity.
5. Strong relationships. Google posts allow you to add a personal touch, and create a stronger bond with your local community.
6. Break down barriers. Your customers are all using Google, so why wouldn’t you want to align yourself with their go-to channel?
7. Rank higher for local SEO with Google posts that are fresh and up-to-date.
8. It is FREE. We’ve got to be prepared un-boosted posts on Facebook are soon going to be removed from the home stream. Eventually, all posts will be required to be boosted in order to reach an audience. Google is offering a zero-cost way to grab the attention of local customers who are searching for the solutions your business offers.
How can Google posts help move you up the map?
Local Search is an indicator of new interest, and an opportunity to compete for customers. According to Google’s local research, 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, compared to only 34% who conducted the same search on a computer. Local SEO is a complex system that depends on eight factors:
1. My Business signals (Proximity of address to the point of search, categories, keyword in business title)
This year, Access released some interesting data. On average, we venture eight or nine minutes from home for groceries and fast food. We’ll go as far as 14 minutes from home to get our car serviced, or to buy home and garden products. Simply put, we are staying closer to home. This is why your address and location accuracy is more important than ever. Just think about how this generation is using technology to reach point B.
Millennials no longer rely on memorizing phone numbers. We rely on map apps, navigation systems, and Uber to get us where we need to go. For that, your business needs to have a clear location on Google maps.
Bonus tip: if your business has more than one branch, each site needs its own Google My Business profile, Facebook page, website or landing page, Yelp listing, etc.
2. Link signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity)
3. On-page signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority)
Local signals need local content. Publishing content related to your local events, services, and reviews is key. It’s easy to generate this type of content, by:
– Taking photos in your area
– Interviewing local business owners
– Creating local contests, and celebrating the winner
4. Citation signals (citation volume and consistencythe same name, address, and phone number, working hours on your website, social media profiles, review sites and directory listings).
Bonus tip: To check consistency and track your local listings – try Moz Local listing service.
5. Review signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity)
Industry experts say that reviews are the most authoritative ranking signal for local SEO. A new report published about local rankings backs this opinion – reviews matter. If we want to dig a bit deeper, reviews with keywords and local place names should be the top priority for your local SEO strategy.
6. Behavioural signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins)
Google knows where a searcher is, and their personal search history, and displays brands that the user has engaged with before. With a bias towards first impressions and brand loyalty, this is just another reminder that you need to capitalize on your location and reviews.
8. Social signals (Google, Facebook, Twitter engagement)
Update, update, update. By keeping your social media active, you can encourage higher customer participation in your posts. Your profiles across social media offer some of the most open inbound links you can possibly get. If you’re not already doing it, take advantage of all the relevant fields the major social media platforms offer. After all it’s free!
Okay. This is a lot of work for any small business. We get it, but the benefits to your business are absolutely worth it. Google wants to create the best user experience. By publishing fresh, engaging content, you can become the best user experience that Google wants to get out there. Use Google’s post vehicle to boost your My Business page, and drive yourself up the rankings on the map and search results.
We’ve covered a lot here, and we hope we’ve got you thinking about your local SEO as much as we do.
85% of brand engagement by consumers is local. By targeting Local SEO, your business also reaches the largest global audience millennials. If you want a mind-blowing statistic: Google is the starting point for 90% of all millennials online experiences. Trust us you need to be there.
Google posts: best practice
Getting started with Google posts is simple: get a Google My Business profile, and verify your listing. That’s it!
Now you can create your first post. To reap the benefits of this local SEO strategy, keep these best practice tips in mind:
• Google deletes your post after seven days to ensure the sharing of fresh content, so update regularly.
• Event posts stay live until the event is over.
• Only the first 80 characters show up in the Knowledge Panel.
• Your newest posts will show first, and the older ones will be displayed in a carousel.
• The best size to use for your image is 750×750, and anything smaller than 250×250 won’t be accepted.
• Animated GIFs and videos are not currently supported.
• Follow insights and pay attention to user engagement. Adjust where you need to, to get the best results for your business.
Here’s a quick self-check tool for you: do your posts stand out and encourage clickthroughs?
Millennials value authenticity. Transparency in communication, original offers, and relevance to their needs these things matter. Having an open house? Create a post for that event. Offering a free report or white paper? Create a post about that white paper, and add the download link to make it easier for your users to find and share.
Even if you’re not following all these guidelines right now, it’s still important to give your local business a Google presence. Depending on when you’re reading this post, your competitors may already be enjoying the benefits Google posts provides.
Bonus tip: Location descriptions don’t have to be static. Ads targeting fans at a game can reference proximity to the host stadium, for example.
And Google is not stopping here. At the end of 2017, the company announced that it is bringing new forms of local search to Google Assistant and Google Home. It’s working with local home service providers “like HomeAdvisor and Porch” to make it easier for users to get the services they need.
Phew. There’s a lot going on.
Here at Digital Apeel, we’re working with small local businesses to secure their ranking for local SEO, and to raise their visibility with their local audience. We want to deliver the right message to your audience, and maximize your lead generation on Google. If you share the same goals – and we’re sure you do- schedule a chat with us today.