In January 2016 during the presidential race Google gave Republican and Democratic candidates a privileged place in their search ecosystem. It was an experimental feature dubbed the ‘candidate cards’. It provided prominent placement for each candidate to share their own messages and content in a horizontal carousel in the search results.
In March of this year the feature was rolled out to an expanded user group. It was purely an experiment and involved local businesses that Google selected for their test. Special note: This was the first time Google allowed or included animation/GIFs on their search results page.
Google’s new search format was first created with mobile users specifically in mind, but for users on a desktop device, these new post types appeared immediately adjacent to the Knowledge Panel featuring that business. This really expanded the search real estate for an organization or business.
Just as with the ‘candidate cards’, the post allows businesses and organizations an opportunity to communicate directly in the search results. You can showcase products, highlight services, offer daily specials, or promote upcoming event, and it can be done in a way that other search results, like the Knowledge Panel doesn’t quite allow.
Google Posts, as they are typically referred to, are a fantastic opportunity to expand a business or organization’s footprint in search. If your organization is a Google My Business (GMB) user, and you should be, you can start posting right now. Simply login to your GMB account and you’ll see the ‘Posts’ tab on the left-hand side of the account.
You can add a description of 100-300 words and an attention grabbing image. The post gives you the option to create it as an event and to add a button as a call-to-action.
The Google Search Ecosystem
From a content strategy or marketing point of view Google Posts require little additional effort and really no risk. Here are some ways to leverage Google Posts and put them to work for your business or organization.
Build Authority & Trust
Google Posts offer another way to authentically engage with your target audience. It’s a chance to offer uniquely interesting and relevant content to build authority and generate brand loyalty. Google Posts are another source of natural organic traffic and can give insight into how ‘natural’ customers or users are engaging with your content.
Diversify Marketing Efforts
It’s always a worthwhile endeavour to leverage new ways to deliver content to your audience. The more mediums used to deliver a coherent, consistent brand, the better. Google Posts are interesting in that they exist somewhere between search engine results and social media posts, and they expand your presence in search.
Be Agile & Responsive
Google Posts functionality is highly agile and facilitates responsiveness with low barrier in terms of effort and risk. When someone discovers your organization they can be presented with the freshest and most relevant messaging and content. Is there something happening in your community, or region that is relevant to your business? As long as it is relevant it can be an opportunities to capitalize with a Google Post. Posts are versatile enough to allow you to deploy content tailored to the people most likely to come across it online.
Get Onboard Early
Any feature that Google introduces needs to be tested in terms of the value that it can offer to your overall marketing plans. Google Posts are relatively low effort and risk free and they can expand your search presence. For this reason it makes a lot of sense to get on board quickly, while posts are still a relatively new thing. Early adoption as a content marketing tactic gives you an inherent advantage.
This is always a consideration with any Google feature that can be leveraged as a digital marketing tactic. While Google Posts will not have an impact on organic ranking specifically. They do offer yet another opportunity to be part of the Google search ecosystem though, and for this reason Google Posts certainly add value to you digital marketing strategy.
Conclusion: Paint a More Complete Picture
Google is increasingly interested in the complete picture, so take every opportunity to show Google as much of that picture as possible. Google Posts are a great way to provide compelling content that can then be served as a result in Google search. If you don’t take advantage of the post feature, you’re missing a critical opportunity to help Google ‘get to know you’.
Main photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash