Every second more than 56,000 searches take place on Google, more than half of them on smartphones. For business owners trying to reach local customers, many of these searches represent an opportunity to reach local customers, but only if they can be found in the results.
If you’ve searched by name for a local home goods store, automotive dealer, or a medical practice in recent weeks, you likely noticed special offers or other content on the right side of the first page of results. Curious about what is behind these up-to-date business posts? You’re not alone.
Dubbed Google Posts, this new feature “allows businesses to create content directly on Google, which appears highly ranked in Google search results for their names.” The benefits of Google Posts for consumers are pretty clear: they are receiving fresh and timely content from companies, without having to dig through pages of website content.
But consumers aren’t the only ones benefiting from this new tool. Local small to medium businesses (SMBs) are also getting increased visibility through this free marketing tool, which until recently was only available to an elite few organizations such as celebrities, politicians and large organizations.
And it couldn’t have come at more critical time: With 82 percent of shoppers turning to search engines to find information about local businesses according to Google, it’s critical for SMBs to take control of the content that appears on the first page of search results.
Creating Your First Google Post
Since June, local businesses that claim their location at Google My Business (GMB) can now control the messaging that appears inside their business profile on the first page of search results when people search for their business name. Google My Business users can start by going to the Posts tab in their GMB dashboard.
With the new feature, local businesses can provide details about offers or specials, show off new products, or share helpful how-to information, all in front of an audience that is already interested and searching for this product or service.
First, add a link to your business website containing information about a special offer of sale, complete with a photo of the product or service. Swap it out with a new offer each week, while layering in links to your blog or videos on your business website.
Making the Most of Your Post
Before you post, remember that not all content is created equal. Here are some best practices for creating a winning post:
- Inspire action with your headline. You have 58 characters for your title, so choose your 4-6 words wisely.
- Make your post stand out with vibrant images and videos that are well-lit and high-quality. Images should be 720 pixels tall by 720 pixels wide in JPG or PNG format.
- Make your post brief and only include the necessary details. You have up to 1,500 characters for the details of your post, but the ideal length is between 150-300 characters.
- Choose a clear call-to-action. Make your CTA a simple instruction for action. Think Buy Now, Learn More, Call, or Visit.
Take Your Google Presence to the Next Level
To increase awareness of your local business, you must also understand the words consumers are typing into Google to find your products or services. Google’s Keyword Planner works to find the keywords that are most relevant to your business by showing you how often keywords are searched and how their search volume changes over time. You can then implement these keywords into their messaging, website and paid advertising campaigns – and your Google Posts.
Once you understand your keywords, consider implementing a paid digital marketing strategy to get in front of your customers. For example, tactics such as paid social media advertising alongside search engine marketing can improve business awareness with nearby customers, giving them a digital roadmap to your store.
Using these tools and insights, small businesses must remember to keep their marketing strategy true to their brand – authenticity and connection to the community are huge advantages that local retailers have over their ecommerce competition. With that in mind, along with a few SEO tips and tricks, local retailers can rise to the top – of the market, and the search engine.