With a Google My Business account Google lets you manage how your business appears in Google search results and in Google Maps. However, Google My Business is more than just an SEO tool for local search. With the latest developments, Google My Business now offers a whole range of features for your content and corporate communication strategy. Don’t miss out on this great and free opportunity for marketing, PR as well as social engagement.
Google has turned the My Business service from a simple NAP listing into a more complete social media solution for presenting your business and communicating with people who find you in Google Search.
It now includes many new features and options to optimize your business listing with images, videos, company, and product descriptions, a Q & A section, messaging, reviews, as well as current events, news, and promotions directly in the search results page.
With Google Posts, businesses can present their latest news and current announcements about events, products, and services. Google Posts can be used for sales promotions, blog posts, press releases, and job offers. The content will appear in both Google Search and Maps results. Fresh content and current news on your Google My Business account gives more impetus to your listing and helps to ensure a better reach and visibility on the Internet.
Many companies register for a Google My Business listing and then forget about it. But this is a big mistake. Here is what you need to know about Google My Business and how to use the full potential of Google Posts.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free business listing service by Google that shows up in the so-called “Knowledge Panel” on the right-hand side of the search results page.
A business listing on Google can be the first touchpoint for customers and prospects with your company or brand. Google assigns your business listing to your address using Google Maps and displays your company’s listing in the Knowledge Panel when users from your area search for your company.
A verified Google My Business listing with complete and accurate information is easier to match with the right searches. So, make sure your Google My Business listing is complete, correct, and up-to-date.
Any business with a valid local address can create or edit a Google My Business account.
Whether a business listing shows up in the Knowledge Panel depends on the details of the search algorithm, which Google keeps a secret. There is no way to request or pay for a better ranking of your Google My Business listing in Google Search or on Google Maps.
However, Google’s maxim for higher ranking content is well-known: relevance, value, and freshness of the information. And this is where Google Posts come in handy.
With Google Posts, businesses can present their latest news and current announcements about events, products, and services. Google Posts can be used for current press releases and blog posts as well as for sales promotions or job offers. The content will appear in both Google Search and Google Maps results.
Let’s first start with the basic features Google has added to the My Business Service to turn it into a more holistic solution for corporate communication.
How to optimize your Google My Business listing for corporate communication
In addition to basic NAP data, Google My Business includes your business and product descriptions, contact information, additional phone numbers, business category, office hours and special opening hours and other attributes. It also includes features to add images, videos, company and product descriptions, customer reviews, a Q & A section, a chat section as well as Google Posts to promote current events, news, and promotions directly in the search index.
1. Improve your prominence score with Google Ratings
It’s no secret that online reviews influence buying decisions and have a significant impact on your business reputation and marketing. A large number of 5-star ratings indicate quality and trustworthiness in your business and products.
A high level of social trust can increase the prominence score of your My Business listing in Google Search. The ratings and a short excerpt from up to three people will show up in the Knowledge Panel. So, there are many good reasons to ask your customers to rate your business on your Google My Business account.
2. Use Questions & Answers for more engagement
With the Q & A feature, Google provides a kind of FAQ area (Frequently Asked Questions) for your Google My Business listing. This is another feature to encourage social engagement and increase your Google prominence score.
People (including potential customers) can ask questions about your business, products or services publicly. But you can also use this feature to ask and answer your own questions. So, if you already have an FAQ section on your website, take some of the most frequently asked questions from there and provide a link to your FAQ section.
3. Allow Messaging to chat directly with your prospects
Another feature to increase engagement on your Google My Business listing is the Messaging feature. This is also a great way to connect directly with people who find you in Google search.
The Messaging feature allows you to chat directly with people who are interested in your business, products, and services. Responding to messages can help you to attract more people to do business with you. You can set up an auto-response message for people who reach out to thank them and tell them when they can expect a personal response from you.
It goes without saying that online messaging, as well as Q & A and reviews, rely on prompt replies. Answers to questions and ratings are visible to the public. With every response, you are not only building a positive online presence but also encouraging other consumers to engage with your business, which, in turn, adds to your trust and prominence score.
4. Publish Google Posts for fresh and relevant content
As stated above, relevance and freshness are the most important factors for ranking and visibility. The best option to fill your Google My Business listing with fresh and engaging content is the Google Posts feature.
Google Posts are short articles that can promote any kind of information about your company, from events to current press releases, blog posts, job offers, and current sales promotions. The multifunctional features of Google Posts can turn your Google My Business listing into an important content marketing channel and an integral part of your corporate communication strategy.
Google Posts are displayed prominently in your Google My Business listing:
New posts remain active for 7 days (or when the event date in the post has passed) before they are removed from the default view to a historical view.
The time limit of the Posts shows that Google applies this principle to ensure the information on your Google My Business listing is current and timely.
Current and relevant content in your Google Posts is therefore essential to keep your Google My Business listing fresh and relevant for search.
In mobile search results, the latest post is displayed immediately below the prominent Call, Directions, and Website buttons:
On both desktop and mobile, a click on the image or the text, will take the reader to the post area to read the full post and optionally scroll through older posts.
A CTA (call-to-action) button will take the reader directly to whichever link you provide. This feature is an easy way to get more click-throughs to your website or blog and take your readers to a special landing page for lead generation and conversion.
Google Posts have individual URLs. To measure the performance of your Google Posts the Google My Business dashboard provides you with a statistic below each post that shows how many readers have viewed your Google Posts and how many times your link was clicked (if you included a CTA button on your post).
Google Posts are an easy way to help you draw the attention of a searcher towards your business before they click on any of the other search results listings. As the Google My Business engagement rate is very likely to be part of Google’s ranking algorithm, publishing Google Posts is another feature to encourage users to interact with your profile.
Google Posts can also make a big impact by increasing organic traffic to a website, which should also improve the position in the search engine results page (SERP). A 2018 analysis by Blue Corona found that traffic from Google My Business converted at twice the rate of traditional organic traffic. A study by Moz has shown that Google Posts can increase online bookings by 11%.
5 Tips to use Google Posts for corporate communication
Tip 1: Share valuable and fresh content
Use Google Posts to share and promote information that will be helpful to your customers and targets. Always think about the intent of the customer or prospect who searches for your company or brand, or any other search term that is closely related to your business. Consider what they are looking for and create or use existing content that would appeal to them.
Make sure to refresh your Google Posts every 7 days with interesting and relevant content to maximize your outreach.
Here are a few ideas for what your Google Posts can promote:
- Announce new products or services
- Include current promotions and special offers. Or even make a Google My Business special offer for people who find you on Google Search. Use strong CTAs like “Buy” or “Get Offer” to maximize conversion.
- Share your upcoming business events or webinars. Use CTAs like “Book now” or “Register” to take them directly to your registration form and win more attendees.
- Publish your latest blog posts as Google Posts to promote your content. Google loves relevant content.
- Promote giveaways and subscriptions, like free white papers, checklists, eBooks, or promote a newsletter or other subscription services.
- Announce job opportunities
- Tips and tutorials: Google loves helpful content.
- Publish your news stories and industry news, or press releases, if they are relevant for your customers.
Tip 2: Keep it short and simple
Google Posts allow up to 300 words for your message. Only the first 80-100 characters of the post actually showing up in the SERP on desktop search. Even less on mobile search. Use as many words as necessary and as few as possible and make the first paragraph count by informing the reader what they can expect on clicking.
Use actionable headlines to get more attention and clicks. However, don’t over-promote your offers. Provide concise and descriptive content to genuinely inform your customers about your offers and promotions in a way you would in a blog post or press release.
Always check your post once you have published it, to see whether it needs additional line breaks to separate paragraphs or other forms of editing.
Tip 3: Add strong calls-to-action and links for more clicks and conversions
The Google Posts feature allows you to add a call-to-action (CTA) button with a custom link URL.
This can be a product page, a registration form, a campaign page, or your blog or news center. Whatever landing page you link to, make sure it is intended to deliver a relevant user experience.
Use a clear call-to-action like “Learn More”, Buy Now”, “Get Free Download.”
Tip 4: Use well-focused images
Use a well-lit and well-focused photo or image to help you stand out. The best image size for Google Posts is 750×750 pixels, with a minimum of 250×250 pixels.
Make sure that the most important image information shows up prominently. Create images with product, faces or text messages in the center, so that Google doesn’t chop off your head or your text message when the image is cropped.
Tip 5: Create a Google posting schedule
Always remember: Google Posts will remain active for 7 days. Events expire at the end of the event date. Posting on a schedule will make sure there is always a current post visible on your Google My Business listing.
You can publish multiple Google Posts at a time. The latest 3 posts are visible directly in the Knowledge Panel without scrolling. Make sure you always have 1-3 current posts on your Google My Business listing.
However, Google Posts require minimal investment if you re-use existing content you’ve already created for other marketing activities. With a maximum of 300 words and almost no means of formatting. Google Posts don’t require much in the way of special optimization, and thus, cost almost nothing to create. For example, you can use your blog updates to automatically update your Google Posts with relevant content for your audience.
An option for scheduling content in advance is currently not available. However, you can use social media tools to help you schedule and share your content automatically.
Google Posts have been surprisingly underutilized by businesses and agencies. However, they’re still low-effort tasks for promoting existing content. And they’ll push this content to the top of the Google search results. By showing the Posts on the Knowledge Panel, you can reach many more potential customers and readers and drive more traffic to your website.
Relevancy and freshness are key to a successful Google My Business listing and for the visibility of your Google Posts. Social media tools can help you to schedule and automatically update your Google My Business account.
For more information on how to set up and optimize your Google My Business listing, get the free Google My Business Guide