If you are a local business owner, you have probably used the Google My Business (GMB) page. It is a must-have for improving local SEO.
Google decided to turn things up a notch by adding the “Post” functionality to GMB. This means you can publish posts on-the-go using GMB Android and iOS apps or even website.
We used this feature to improve the local SEO for almost all our clients. The results were astonishing!
Want to know how we did it? Read on!
A. What Are GMB Posts?
With a GMB Post, you can share content directly from your GMB profile page. Though this feature had been around for some time, only a handful of industries were allowed to access it. But now, any business with a GMB account can use it to share content with text, links, and images.
I) Create a GMB Post
You can create a post using either the desktop version or the GMB mobile app on Android or iOS.
- Create It on Desktop –
- Sign into your GMB account.
- In case of multiple locations, select the one for which you would like to create the post.
- Click on the Post option from the main menu to open the “Create Post” screen.
- You will see options to add photos, text, events, and a button to your post. Select the ones you want and add relevant information.
- Use the Preview option to check your post before it goes live. Click Publish on the top right corner of the screen to make it live.
- Create It on Mobile:
- Open your GMB mobile app.
- Click on the “+” icon located at the bottom right corner of the screen to open the “Create post” screen.
- You can add photos, text, events, and a button to your post with relevant information.
- You can Preview the post before making it live by clicking Publish button.
II) Where Will the Post Appear?
It will appear in the Knowledge Panel within your Maps listing and consequently in SERPs within a few minutes. Users will be able to see it on their mobiles as well as desktops.
Each post will stay live for up to seven days, after which it will be archived in the Posts tab. The newest post will show up first. However, only the first two posts are visible without scrolling.
When users click on a GMB Post, it opens into an attention-grabbing full-screen ad-like box.
B. Why Did We (Or Anyone Else Should) Use This Feature?
Now that you know what a GMB Post is, you may be wondering why this feature should be used. We considered quite a few objectives before tapping GMB Post.
- One of the first things that crossed our mind was the inherent advantage of becoming an early adopter. As the doors to GMB opened up for all businesses recently, you may become the first one to adopt GMB Posts among your competitors. In short, you will enjoy a reasonably good headstart.
- Your early adopter status may vanish eventually, but not without creating a strong emotional connection with your target audience. Being an early adopter creates a positive perception of your business. This advantage puts you in a unique position to influence your followers for months or even years to come.
- Being a critical factor of Google’s local SEO ecosystem, GMB Posts can help you gain significant SEO advantages. This is, perhaps, the number one reason why we wanted to use GMB Posts right away. Once you have set the course of your GMB Posts, creating backlinks to your website becomes a lot easier.
- For a moment, even if we didn’t manage to get the desired results, GMB Posts will most certainly help us make an authentic appearance on Google Search. This direct and personalized appearance is the golden ticket to interact with your target audience.
- Lastly, it is also a new way to present personalized content on the Web. It is a new place to interact with your business directly. As you are targeting the people who are most likely to take action, you will see a rise in inbound Web traffic and store footfall eventually.
That’s precisely why we decided to try the GMB Post feature for one of our clients. Let’s see how it went.
C. Case Study:
We used the GMB Posts feature for one of our clients, a local law firm based in Wheaton. We shared the following September 10th blog post from their website via the GMB Posts feature. It was published as a “Learn More” post to build user interest and capitalize on local search trends.
Increase in Google My Business Actions:For three months before we began publishing GMB Posts, the GMB insights data for our client’s Google My Business Page (location – Wheaton) revealed low Discovery Searches, Direct Searches, Views on Search, Views on Maps and even Direction Requests.
As Google Posts are live for seven days, we kept publishing a new post every week to ensure continuous exposure. We didn’t get enough clicks for our first two posts, but we still managed to earn 329 views.
After the first GMB Post, we started witnessing an all-time increase in Discovery Searches, Direct Searches, Views on Search (associated with local three-pack rankings), Views on Maps and even Direction Requests in the first quarter.
The Post Views generated a lot of exposure for the client with minimum effort. But most importantly, all these post views brought additional brand awareness for the client among a highly targeted user-base.
After just three months of continuous posting, we saw an increase in total searches using the business name directly, and also through Discovery, where customers find your listing searching through a service category. (See image below)These improvements in GMB actions were directly proportional to the increase in website traffic, phone calls to their sales associates, and new leads.
Impact on Keyword Rankings
In this case, we decided to target the keyword “Wheaton Divorce Attorney” as we wanted to see a steady increase for location-specific keywords.
The first two posts with this keyword were published on the client’s blog in June & July 2018. However, they weren’t published on GMB until 10th September 2018. We wrote one more blog post in September. We published all three posts on GMB between 10th September and 15th October 2018.
Keyword Previous Ranking New Ranking Wheaton Divorce Attorney 37 14
Impact on Web TrafficJust like an advertisement, Google Posts send users to a specific webpage once they click on the GMB Post. Unfortunately, our client was unable to share Google Analytics details for unknown reasons. So, we tracked the amount of traffic that increased from September 2018. There was a noticeable increase in inbound Web traffic to the client’s site between 10th September and 15th October 2018. We also witnessed a rise in keyword placement in first and second Google SERPs.If you can set up URL tracking in Google Analytics, you can track a variety of metrics such as user engagement, bounce rate, average session duration, and sessions per pages for a GMB Post.
Observation:With Sender One Climbing, the Local Three-Pack presence and the total presence on Google Search and Google Maps witnessed a noticeable increase around the same time GMB Posts went
live(10th September 2018).
D. How We Did It
To ensure better results, we always adhere to the best practices for GMB Posts.
- Post Often
- Google Posts stay live only for seven days, so we published one post per week.
- This allowed us to keep the client’s knowledge graph in GMB listing updated continually.
- Write Creative Posts for Your Blog
- Make sure to identify keywords that you want to see in the SERP rankings.
- Create at least 1000-word long blog post and add the target keyword to it.
- Make it live on your GMB Post as soon as it gets published on your blog.
- When Publishing GMB Posts
- We always used high-quality photos in our post. Google recommends the image size of 750×750. Preview and crop the image, if necessary. Keep it in the center. Avoid loading anything smaller than 250X250.
- Stick with images without any texts as it tends to get cut off on mobile devices.
- We also wrote a small introduction in GMB for all our blog posts. GMB Posts allow you to write up to 300 characters. However, the first 100 characters count the most as they are directly visible in the Knowledge Panel.
- Always add a button to your post with a call to action such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up.”
- For Accurate TrackingLike us, always add UTM parameter tracking to the posts for accurate tracking. Use the following steps:
- Use this tool for URLs: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
- Input the URL of the page where you will send users.
- Set the source as “local.”
- Set the medium as “organic.”
- Set the name as a unique name identifying the post (example: gmb_post_(location)_(mmddyy)).
- Use the automatically-generated URL as the destination URL in your post.
E. Types of Google My Business Posts
You can use a variety of GMB Posts depending on your marketing goal. It is one of the hallmarks of GMB that we like the most.
Booking AppointmentYou can create a post that talks about a new service you are offering. You can provide a “Book Appointment” button that will redirect users to your Contact Us page or an online booking system.
BuyYou can add a link to a webpage that showcases your product. Provide the exact location of your shop and your contact number to make it easier for users to find your store or office.
EventThis type of post is similar to a ‘Booking Appointment’ post, except it notifies users about an upcoming event. You can provide a direct registration link through this button. You can also add indoor/outdoor activities that you have planned such as an office celebration, employee birthdays, charity work, employee achievements and other stuff worth sharing.
Get OfferThis type of post is usually suitable for announcing seasonal sales, discounts, and stock clearance sales with a direct link to the relevant webpage.
Learn MoreWe used this type of GMB Post for our client. These GMB Posts can be linked to more detailed blog posts, videos or any other media on your site.
Order OnlineThis is similar to “Buy” posts. But, instead of providing your store location, you connect users to your e-commerce page or online store.
Sign UpThis option is ideal for offering a coupon or promoting a sale or even offering freebies. You can entice the users into signing up for your email list or newsletter using those as incentives.
Job OpeningLet your target audience know you are hiring and place the link of your career page with “learn more” tab.
As you can see, integrating Google My Business Posts in your digital marketing mix is well worth the effort. To get the most from it, make sure to write at least one GMB Post every week. Try to come up with creative content ideas while keeping your focus on a set of targeted keywords. It may help you improve the keyword ranking for the desired keywords as well as increase the Web traffic over time. So, when do you plan to start? Let us know in your comments.