In the past year or so, if you searched for specific celebrities, sports teams, movies, landmarks or important organizations, your Google searches would do something interesting: They would include a social media post directly from that brand, at the top of the SERP where everyone could see it.
It turns out inserting some social media into your search engine results was exactly what Google intended with their new project called Posts on Google. At first you didn't see many Google Posts because Google restricted it to only a few groups, but the test phase has passed and Google is now rolling out the powerful new function to other Google my business organizations. Here's what that means for local SEO.
Posts on Google: Out of Everyone's Reach – Until Now!
Previously application to Posts on Google was restricted to only a few very specific industries (including Brazilian musicians, U.S. movies, and sports leagues), and only some of these organizations were allowed to make posts for SERPs. This made sense from Google's end, because the company wanted to limit the idea to only a few brands that would provide valuable information for those searching for specific terms: You type in a sports team, you get a post about that sports team's upcoming gameday with a pic of their training facilities.
In other words, more valuable content gets upfront and center, which is always Google's goal. However, expanding the reach of Posts to all businesses is a huge change, and could have an impact on all Google searching. Expect the change to be felt even more strongly in the mobile world, where SERP space is very limited and a social post will get even more visibility after a search.
Advantages of Posts: Your SEO Boost
The key ingredient that makes Google confident that Posts will work is local SEO. Google doesn't want a random social media post slammed up on every single generic search, because that just wastes space. So the search engine is trying to limit the Posts to local results: You ask Google for the best pizza or the best pizza in your city, and you can expect a Post from a pizza shop. If you ask about a specific brand in your town, you may get a post from that brand.
To this end, Google is also linking posts to Google Maps, so there may be a chance of Posts popping up there, too.
So, obviously this means greater visibility for companies willing to invest time into creating Posts on Google. But here are a few other advantages to consider as well:
- If the Posts generate more organic clicks (and, with specific searches, they are likely to), then your page ranking will benefit.
- Posts can contain links to other content on your website. This is great for traffic and, again, SEO.
- Posts can link directly to CTAs. For example, you could link to a web form for your newsletter and help get more participation if this is a major goal.
Picking Ideal Content for Posts on Google
So what exactly are you supposed to put in Posts on Google? You will probably want to make it more evergreen than your typical social media posts, and focused on an important traffic or sign-up goal. Remember, you can also include GIFs, videos and photos on these Posts, so always use visuals to increase engagement. A few ideas include:
- Important name or product changes for the brand
- Big events that you need a lot of signups for
- An especially good look at attractive products (works great for food) and a link to buy
- A discount that will go on for a reasonably long time
How to Get Started
Do Posts sound exciting to you? Great: Here's what to do:
1. Sign up for My Business by Google. This is an easy way to display business info for local SEO and highly recommended.
2. Head over to Google Small Business and learn how to start creating Posts. It's that easy!