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Who runs the world? Google. Ever evolving. Always innovating. Google is changing the way we browse the internet. A few years ago, you had to visit a website to find out information on a business. Photos, contact info, frequently asked questions, etc. were all accessible only through a website. Recently Google has decided to say “Let’s change that practice” and is providing all the info you could need right on the Google business listing. Your Google business listing used to be the middle-man. It is now becoming the main man. So since your listing is turning into the star attraction, what can you do to help your listing stand out? These stats on different Google features might give you a few ideas…

Google listings with photos get 30% more calls than those without.

61% of searchers are more likely to contact a business if they have a mobile-friendly listing.

92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results.

“Near me” type searches grew by 500% over the past two years.

This data shows it’s so important to have a fully optimized business listing! And yes, it can start to all feel overwhelming. But here are 3 simple ways to help your listing stand out from the competition. We promise they’re easy, and we’re here to help  with any questions you might have.  All of these tools are available through your Google business account and can be easily accessed from your profile.

Google Features:  Messaging

Google My Business provides a messaging feature that allows your customers to get in touch with you via a button on your listing. Check out these instructions to learn how to set up the process. setting up the process. This can be an amazing tool for customer engagement while also attracting more customers to your business. Remember to reply to any messages received within 24 hours to promote trust between you and the sender.

Google Features:  Q&A

This feature allows 3-4 of your most frequently asked questions to appear right on your listing. So here’s a real-life example: I went to a new sushi place today for lunch. Before going, I of course looked up the reviews and noticed the Q&A section on the listing. One of the questions asked was, “Is the daily sushi special pricey?” The restaurant replied with prices that seemed reasonable to me… so I decided to go. And FYI, it was some dang good sushi. 

The point is though, the Q&A section is designed with the goal to provide consumers with extra details on your business. This additional info could serve as the tipping point for someone considering your service or product. And all this info is located right on your listing. 

Google Features:  Posts

One of the most valuable features you can utilize on your listing is Google Posts… so we are going to give you all the info you could possibly need for the remainder of this article. 

When Google Posts was launched in 2016, a lot of people thought the idea would be a total flop. Many guessed that Google would get rid of the option within a year. Well, it’s 2020 and it looks like posts are here to stay. In fact, Google’s new algorithm places a strong emphasis on posts. So what exactly are these posts, how do they work, and what can they do for your business? 

Content is King

The goal of Google Posts is to help your business get increased visibility on Google. Businesses can use posts to highlight sales events, promotions, or related articles to their industry. Use posts to attract new clients, or upsell existing services while at the same time, increasing your online presence with the biggest search engine in the world. One major thing businesses need to keep in mind though is that all posts expire within seven days.

In essence, Google Posts encourages businesses to produce new content on a steady basis. Posting new content regularly is one of the most effective strategies for increasing your online visibility. Google Posts also allows you to include CTAs on your posts. You can also view Google Posts “insights” to see how the posts are performing on search engines and Google Maps.

When someone looks at your Google My Business Listing, they can find your posts within the overview of your account, or knowledge panel. Viewers can scroll both left and right, and look at up to ten posts your agency has recently made. You can also view them in the “posts” tab.

 

The Ever Mystic Google Algorithm

Google has recently changed the location of posts on a business listing. The posts can now appear either at the bottom of the knowledge panel for desktop searches or become detached from the knowledge panel for mobile viewing. While there are rumors that Google will eventually move the posts back to their original spot at the top of the knowledge panel, that remains to be seen. For now, posts appear at the bottom. Why?

Google can be mysterious, and the way its algorithm operates is subject to many different theories. Many speculate that Google has moved the posts to the bottom of the knowledge panel in a bid to push businesses into paying for advertising to build their online visibility. After all, Google is in direct competition with the Amazon juggernaut when it comes to advertising power. Suffice it to say, no one truly knows the answer or can pinpoint whether or not Google will change the positioning of the posts.

It’s also important to understand that Google Posts is still young in the grand scheme of things and was only rolled out in 2016. With a feature that new, it’s natural that Google would test, tweak, and change things around at least a few times. So use the feature to the fullest, while being open to the possibility of change. 

 

Visibility

Year-over-year, GMB listings have grown in prominence by 32%. When it comes to ranking locally, GMB is one of your most significant ranking factors. When you post new content to your Google business listing, you’ll generate increased visibility on Google search. Consistent posting will generate trust between you and Google which results in better visibility for your business. Google’s goal is to give their searchers relevant information and if you’re posting consistently, you become more relevant in the all powerful eyes of Google. 

 

Ideas

Consider using these types of posts for your business’s listing:

  • Use Google Posts to let your clients know about any holiday or emergency closures, or new office hours
  • Let your customers know if you’re opening a new office or moving to a different location
  • Give clients important information for emergencies
  • Let your viewers know about the latest blogs and articles you’ve published on your website
  • If you use an online booking program, let your customers know where and how they can make an appointment with you
  • Let your clients know about upcoming seminars and events you’re hosting
  • Use Google Posts to announce new products or service options
  • Announce new cross-selling opportunities
  • Provide discounts for special occasions
  • Ask viewers to join your webinar or sign up for your company newsletter

Using Google Posts is like having your very own online soapbox and bullhorn. Not only will using Google Posts drive increased visibility for you on Google search, but it also offers you some unique selling opportunities you might not get with a regular blog article or email. With that said, what are some best practices to keep in mind when making posts for your business?

 

Recycle Content

Chances are, you’ve already got different types of content you’re posting across social media, on your website, or via your email newsletter. Instead of overthinking things and becoming overwhelmed with creating new content, go easy on yourself. Leverage what you already have. You’ll save time, energy, and avoid frustration when you repurpose your existing content for posts. Another benefit of using this cheap and easy technique is your brand will stay consistent across multiple content publishing channels. Clients appreciate brand consistency.

 

Call to Action

Your posts should be highly leveraged and optimized. Don’t let your listing potential go to waste by forgetting to add a call-to-action on the post. A strong CTA, complete with relevant URLs, will help drive increased business for your agency while also improving your visibility online.

 

Obsessively Track Data

Testing and optimizing is a major part of any successful digital marketing strategy. You can’t know if your Google Posts are performing the way you want them to if you don’t take advantage of tracking features. By monitoring the performance of your Google Posts, you’ll know exactly which types of content your audience (and the search engine) most appreciate. You can add UTM codes to Google Post URLs, allowing you to see if the post is increasing website traffic or not. Google Posts lets you see how many times the content was viewed, and if a viewer clicked on your link.

 

Accurate and Complete

Google Posts are supposed to complement your holistic digital marketing strategy and be an auxiliary for your Google My Business listing. But your GMB should be fully optimized in order to get the most out of your Google Posts strategy. Make sure that your agency GMB listing has accurate, complete information. Be sure to include an address and phone number, along with customer reviews. The entire knowledge panel should be complete, accurate, and designed for brand consistency.

 

All Good Things Must End

Google wants to encourage business owners to post fresh, new content continuously. Each post will expire within seven days unless you replace it. When it expires, it is removed from the search results page. So set a reminder, a calendar event… whatever you need to do to remind yourself to post weekly. 

 

One of our main focuses at Lift Local is Google Maps optimization, aka getting your business found online. We take care of all the time consuming work and monitor your information across hundreds of directories while also utilizing the Google features mentioned in this post. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out and we’d love to help! Fill out the form to the right to get in contact.