Everything You Need to Know About Google My Business Posts

Google Posts for local businesses arrived on the scene in early 2016. They were initially dubbed as “Business Cards” and in their testing phase they did not pull content from a Google My Business listing or other feeds. Mike Blumenthal was the first to spot the Posts feature being testing in search results:

“Google appears to have a new post/stream oriented publishing platform waiting in the wings to replace Plus. Unlike Plus it is currently being given broad front page exposure on keyword searches.”

Fast forward three years later and Google Posts are fully integrated into the Google My Business (GMB) platform offering businesses multiple post types, and more exposure with placement in search results. And Google+ officially shutdown in April of this year.

Adoption of Posts has been slow, and there are still many businesses that are missing out and not taking advantage of all this GMB feature has to offer. We’re breaking down each post type currently available, the perks of them, and things to know when using posts.

Available Post Types

There are 4 distinct post types presently available in all GMB Accounts:

All of these posts allow you to add a CTA button and give you the option to choose between an image or video to accompany your content.

What’s New

The What’s New post is great for sharing general business updates, what’s happening at the company, new team additions, blog posts, or to showcase customer reviews and testimonials. Really, you’re only limited by what you can think up to share. You will even receive suggestions directly from Google when you sign in to your GMB dashboard or via email notifications.

Text: You can have up to 1,500 characters in a What’s New post. This kind of post can act like a micro-blog post, allows users to go into more details, and really engage searchers with content.

Image/Video: You can choose to represent your post with an image, GIF (real world example here), or a 30 second video (max upload size is 100 mb).

Note: There’s a lot of back and forth about the correct image size. As you get more familiar with different post types and the feature, you will notice that depending on your use of Post options (ie. title, CTA button, dates, etc.), these elements can impact how much of the image is visible. Since the launch of this feature, Google integrated a photo editing option, but when you edit a photo the background goes solid black and doesn’t look as good as having the “correct” size. Just be aware of this quirk, and for those out there that prefer to have the “right size” image, check out Greg Gifford’s super awesome template. In our experience we have found it’s safe to use dimensions of 1200 x 900 px, and if you take advantage of the free posters and GMB review highlights from Small Thanks with Google, you will notice that their posts fit 1080 x 1080 px. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

CTA Button:

  • Add a button optional (if you don’t want to add a link you’d choose this option)
  • Book
  • Order online
  • Buy
  • Learn more
  • Sign up
  • Call now (uses primary number from listing)

Time Frame: New posts will be active for 7 days, and they always show before existing published posts that have yet to expire. Older posts don’t disappear after expiry, they are accessible to searchers under the Posts navigation in the business profile on mobile, and on desktop by scrolling to the Posts section and clicking any active post or, View all, or View previous posts on Google.

Thumbnail Preview: This is the text that’s visible in the Knowledge Panel before a user clicks on the post. The number of characters that is displayed is dependent on if you choose to add a CTA button or not, so some words are likely to be cut off. Always review how a post looks once published, and go back and edit if necessary.

With A CTA Button:

No CTA Button:

Visibility: Searchers will come across your What’s New posts on desktop, mobile, and the Google Maps app.

  • Desktop – Seeing post results in the Knowledge Panel, Maps, and Local Finder.
  • Mobile – In the Knowledge Panel with a navigation heading of Posts, and nestled in search results in [Business Name] on Google section.
  • Google Maps App – In the overview section before the business hours, and information.

Events

Events posts can be used to promote any event you are involved in, attending, hosting, or supporting. It can be something in-store, part of your neighbourhood, or even say a local charity event that your business may be passionate about.

Image/Video: You can choose to represent your event with an image, GIF, or a 30 second video (max upload size is 100 mb).

The image above is a perfect example of when a post photo doesn’t fit the ideal dimensions, and a black background appears from using the built in photo editor.

Event Title (Optional): You can use up to a maximum of 58 characters (with spaces) for your title. If you are using all of the allowable characters, some of the text will get cut off in the thumbnail preview (more on that below).

It’s not mandatory to add a title, but if you do add one your post will stand out in search results and the title will be bold. Currently you can’t manually bold any  text in posts, and so having a title does make it pop more.

Event Details: You get 1,500 characters to describe your event, it’s really up to you to use that as you wish. Some prefer to keep it short and sweet, while others like to take advantage of the opportunity to use the full room provided.

Start/End Date (Time Frame): Select the dates for your event. Interesting here is that there doesn’t appear to be a limit to your end date. So hypothetically you could add an event post that will be active for months. As soon as you publish any post after your Event post, the new post will take precedence as the first featured post.

Add Event Time (Optional): Add the start and end times of the event, you can even edit it to the minute if you love precision, however, the event time will not be shown publicly. If it’s important to share the exact times with your customers, be sure to add it in the details or to the website if you add a link.

CTA Button

  • Add a button (optional)
  • Book
  • Order Online
  • Buy
  • Learn more
  • Sign Up
  • Call Now

Thumbnail Preview: This is the visible information that is displayed in the Knowledge Panel and results. The Events post is impacted by both the title, dates, and CTA button; words will get cut off and you’ll see a when that happens, the image also seems to shift in comparison with the What’s New post type.

Here’s an example of how a thumbnail preview on desktop for live Event & Offer Posts in Whitespark’s Knowledge Panel. One with a CTA button and one without, you can see how they vary.

Visibility: Searchers will come across your Events posts on desktop, mobile, and the Google Maps app.

  • Desktop – Events post will show up in the Knowledge Panel, Maps, and Local Finder.
  • Mobile– For searches on mobile devices you will see these posts in Knowledge Panel under a Posts navigation heading, and nestled in search results under a section that says [Business Name] on Google.
  • Google Maps App – In the overview section before the business hours, and information.

Events in The Business Profile (Knowledge Panel) Are These The Same As Event Posts?

Events in the Business Profile (KP) are not connected to Google Events Posts. These events are pulled from third-party sources (like Eventful, Eventbrite) or your own website and marked up in Event Schema or structured data markup.

You can take advantage of this twofold by first creating an event page for any events on your site, adding the markup, and hoping Google scrapes your site and uses this in place of third-party sites. Second, you can create an Event Post with the same details of the event, and link it to the schema marked up event on your website.

Offers

Offer posts allow you to promote sales, coupons, discounts, or specials that your business is currently providing. You can even create an exclusive promotion just for your GMB listing if you wish. These posts include a bright yellow tag (on desktop and mobile search) that definitely draws a searchers eye.

Image/Video: Make your Offer more compelling by adding either an image, GIF, or 30 second video (max upload size is 100 mb).

Offer Title (Required): You have up to 58 characters with spaces for your offer title. Just like with the Events posts, this gives you a bold title that makes your offer pop. If you use the entire space provided, some of the title will get cut off in the post preview of your branded Knowledge Panel.

Offer Details: The standard 1,500 characters for your full post description and important details. Again, it’s up to the business how much information they would like to provide searchers with, we believe the best approach is to be clear, transparent, and straightforward with your offer.

Start/End Date (Time Frame): Enter the dates that the offer is valid for.

Coupon Code (Optional): Add a special coupon code to your Offer. This is completely optional, but is a fantastic way to track the exact conversions you are getting from your GMB listing. Having a coupon code also enhances the look of the Offer post, while making it more enticing and exclusive.

Link to Redeem Offer (Optional): Add a URL to the landing page that provides searchers with your offer details and a way to get in touch for further information or to redeem the offer. The is essentially the CTA button – so if you want a button on your listing for your offer use this. The text is automatically added as “Redeem online“. Even if you don’t choose to add a link at all to the post, this post type will still automatically trigger text in the KP that says “View Offer”.

CTA Button (Available But Doesn’t Work): You can add a URL to this section and choose from the same standard CTA’s that are available, but it won’t trigger that button on the post. Perhaps this will be an option in the future and it’s been baked into this post type, but really if you’re going to use a link add to the Redeem Offer section.

Terms and Conditions (Optional): While this is another optional section, we strongly recommend adding terms and conditions if you are posting on behalf of clients. You can simply add “See website or contact us for full rules and regulations.” When in doubt, show the searcher how they can be more informed. The terms and conditions text is very small text and won’t clutter your post.

Thumbnail Preview: This is the visible information that is displayed in the Knowledge Panel and in branded search results. The Offer post is impacted by both the title, dates, and CTA button, both your title and message can get cut off and show a in the preview.

Visibility: Searchers will come across your Offer posts on desktop, mobile, and the Google Maps app.

  • Desktop – Offer posts show up in the branded Knowledge Panel, can display in the Local Pack, Maps, and Local Finder. On desktop in Maps, when you have an active Offer post it moves the post up higher and features just that post. When users click on it, then the other active and past posts will also show up underneath.
  • Mobile – For searches on mobile devices you will see these posts in the Knowledge Panel section under the Posts navigation heading, and nestled in search results under [Business Name] on Google section.
  • Google Maps App – In the overview section before the business hours, and information.

Products

Product posts encourage you to highlight specific products and merchandise that your business sells. These Post types even earn their own navigation heading in mobile search results.

Image/Video: Showcase the Product by sharing an image of the exact product you’re promoting (if possible), you could also add a GIF, or 30 second video (max upload size is 100 mb).

Product Name (Required): You have up to 58 characters with spaces for your merchandise name which gives the post a bold title/heading and makes it more eye catching.

Price (Optional): You can add the exact dollar amount or click the range slider to put a minimum to maximum amount. You also have the option to leave this area blank and not share a price.

Description: As is standard with the other post types, Product posts can have up to 1,500 characters detailing the specifics of your product or service.

CTA (Optional):

  • Add a button (optional)
  • Book
  • Order online
  • Buy
  • Learn more
  • Sign up
  • Call now

Thumbnail Preview: This is the snippet of the post content that is displayed in the Business Profile (Knowledge Panel). As with all the other post types, the text that shows up here is impacted by the required Product name, price, and CTA button which means some of your messaging will be cut off when including all these elements.

Visibility: Searchers will come across your Product posts on desktop, mobile, and in the Google Maps app.

  • Desktop – Product posts show up in the branded Knowledge Panel, Maps, and Local Finder. On desktop in Maps, when you click on the listing the Product post appears higher up in a “From the Owner” section and features that post exclusively (just like how it does with Offers post). When a searcher clicks on the post it opens the full post, and below that will be any other active and expired past posts in order of the date they were published.
  • Mobile – For searches on mobile devices in the Knowledge Panel these posts have their own special section under the Products navigation heading,  they also show up under the Posts heading, as well as nestled in search results under [Business Name] on Google section.
  • Google Maps App – In the overview section before the business hours, and information.

Product Post versus the Product Feature (Beta)

The Product feature is similar to the Services feature and is currently in Beta (at time of publication). This feature gives businesses who are not able to take advantage of product feeds via Google Merchant or Pointy the ability to add current inventory and/or products manually in the GMB dashboard.

How does this feature differ from the Product Post type?

Collection View

Specific Product View

  • You create a collection of products, and group them by types (for instance, Most Popular Running Shoes, Must Have Casual Shoes, Summer Sandals, etc.), you can add multiple products within a collection, which gives you the opportunity to make a very robust product section.
  • The Product feature automatically adds a call button to every collection using your listings Primary Phone Number. When a user views a product the call button is displayed in the post with an optional additional CTA button which can link to that product’s landing page on your site.
  • The CTA options are:
    • Order online
    • Buy
    • Learn more
    • Get offer
  • The Products feature shows up higher in the Business Profile on desktop, which means you don’t have to scroll to the bottom of the profile to see them (which you have to do to see Product Posts). There is also an “Explore collections” section that will be added to your Business Profile.
  • In Mobile search results, the Products Feature shows under the Products section below Products Posts.
  • Product collections don’t expire, they stay live in the Products section until the item is manually removed by the GMB account holder.
  • This feature is still in Beta, it’s not available to all business types, and it’s possible that there are more changes coming. There are many similarities between Product collections and Product Posts.

Is one better than the other? If we had to choose between the Product Post and the Product Feature, the Product Post would be our top choice. Overall, posts get more visibility across all search results – Local Finder, Google Maps, Mobile Search, and the Google Maps app.

We prefer Product Posts because on desktop they show up in the Business Profile, on mobile they display under the Products section before the Product Feature collections, the Posts are nestled in search results on mobile under [Business Name] on Google, and in the Maps app, putting Product Posts in front of searchers more frequently.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the Product feature available, take advantage of it along with the Product Post.

What’s the Best Google Post Type?

Would you believe it if we said we like them ALL? Each available post type provides value for a business and can be used strategically to help listings stand out and get noticed! That being said, there are elements of the Offer, Event, and Product posts that aren’t matched by the What’s New post – mainly the bold titles, higher visibility in Maps and Local Finder search results on desktop. The Offer post is the only post type that has the bright yellow tag. For many of our clients, Offer and Product posts get more views and have increased engagement.

But all post types have the potential to show up as Post Mentions in the Local Pack and Local Finder results, which likely improves your listing’s click-through-rate. What’s awesome about these results (aside from the visibility and the potential increased listing engagement) is that Google seems to cherry pick the snippet from your post that best correlates with a user’s search query, and showcases it to searchers. Below is an example for a  What’s New Post Snippet and you can see another example with an Offer post here.

Clicked Post Snippet Leads to Post in Local Finder:

The potential of this feature is pretty big and it’s available to all post types. Just another reason why businesses need to take advantage of the features available in their GMB dashboard and optimize their listing. It also is an indication that yes your copy matters, and if there was ever a time to start testing and targeting keywords, here is a great place to do it without being spammy!

Other Things To Note About Posts

  • You can create new Posts by logging into the GMB Dashboard on Desktop or by downloading and logging into the GMB App on your mobile device.
  • 10 is the maximum number of Posts you can have live at any one time. When a Post expires all of the information is still in your Business Profile and they go back to inception. You won’t see “expired” posts directly in search results like you would a live one. You have to click either the Posts navigation or click on “View previous posts on Google.” Is there a benefit to having 10 active posts? No. Unless you just love posting updates, there’s not added value to having 10 live posts at a time. In fact it’s just creating more work, and in some ways making your own posts compete with one another. The thumbnail preview in the Business Profile is smaller when there’s more than 1 post and it fits a maximum of 2 posts.
  • Incorporate UTM tracking for any URL you add to your Post to help increase the accuracy of your reporting. You can use Google’s free URL builder tool or third party tools like Bitly
    • For example: https://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gpost
  • Hashtags are unnecessary and don’t work the same way they do on social platforms like Twitter or Instagram, so just save yourself the time and characters and don’t use hashtags.
  • If you feel so inclined to spice up your Post game, you can add emojis to the content to give it a little visual boost.
  • There are content policies for Posts, if you violate them your post will be rejected. For example, in a post we created for Whitespark there was an example in the content of a URL but it didn’t match our own site; we believe it was not approved because the link to the site was irrelevant to our business. Once we removed the URL the post was approved.
  • You can choose not to use a CTA button and add the URL to your website directly in the post, and the link will be enabled.
  • There are various tools, plugins, and apps available to help you pre-schedule and design your posts (like Publer,  Posts to Google My Business, or Canva for example), making it easier and streamlining the process of adding Posts to your current GMB strategy.
  • If a customer chooses to “Follow” your business in the Google Maps App, any new Post your business publishes will show up in their “For you” feed section. This section includes any businesses a user follows as well as what Google “thinks” you may be interested in based on past Maps searches, the area you live in, and locations you’ve visited. The recommendations are ordered by date.

Pumped to Start Posting?

If you’re not already taking advantage of this feature in Google My Business, it’s time to start incorporating posts into your GMB strategy, make your branded search results stand out and increase listing engagement.

AUTHOR

Jessie Low

Jessie wears many hats here at Whitespark. From curating the monthly newsletter to managing marketing initiatives, and everything in between. She is the go-to helper for all things Whitespark.

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