To Post or Not to Post: 7 Quick Tips for Google Posts

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Local SEO expert Joy Hawkins joins us for a special edition of Whiteboard Friday, giving  you a sneak peek at her MozCon Virtual 2021 presentation: To Post or Not to Post: What We Learned From Analyzing Over 1,000 Google Posts.

Don’t forget to grab your ticket to see Joy and our other incredible speakers, July 12-14!

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Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. It’s Joy Hawkins, and today I’m going to be giving you a preview of the presentation I’m going to be doing later this year at MozCon. It’s all about Google My Business posts. 

So if you are unfamiliar with posts, there are currently four different types of Google My Business posts. There are what we call the update posts, which is kind of your typical post that has an image and some text. There are what we call offer posts, event posts, and then last year Google actually released a new one called COVID posts. Now typically all these posts share some similarities, but they’re all a little different. 

1. COVID Posts perform well

One of the things that we looked at in the study, that I’m going to be going over at MozCon, is which type performs better.

So specifically we wanted to know: Do they get more clicks? Do they get more conversions? We identified that two of the types definitely outperform the other two. So I’m not going to reveal both. But I’ll tell you that one of the two was the COVID post type. The reason for this I believe is that, unlike the other three types of posts, COVID posts get their own special spot in the knowledge panel.

So I’ve done my best to highlight this here. On the left here, you’ll see that at the bottom there’s usually the post carousel, and it’s underneath reviews, questions and answers, and products. So it’s kind of like shoved down in the search results. Now COVID posts on the other hand, which are featured over here on the right, they show up right at the top, right underneath the business information.

Hand drawing of a GMB listing for Sterling Sky with a red circle around a COVID-19 Google Post.

So they’re very visible, and it’s a really good place to get a quick message across. The only downside, of course, is that they don’t have photos. So keep that in mind when you’re figuring out which type to use. 

2. Average CTR = 0.5%

Now the second thing that we discovered was that the average click-through rate on all the posts in our study was half a percent, so 0.5%, which means that you need about 200 views on a post before you’re going to get a click.

Now don’t let that discourage you. Keep in mind that that is only tracking clicks that happen on the actual post. So, in reality, people could be calling you more, they could be clicking on your website more, lots of other things. So there are still a lot of reasons why you would want to consider doing Google Posts. 

3. GMB does not equal GA

The third thing on my list here is keep in mind, when you are tracking the results from posts, that what you see inside Google My Business Insights is not going to match what you see inside Google Analytics.

Now in this industry, often we use what are called UTM codes, which help you track things better in Google Analytics. If you’re unfamiliar with how those work or how to use them with Google Posts, I’m going to link to an article down below that will explain all of that. But the main thing that you’ve got to remember is that these numbers won’t match. So don’t expect them to match. If you do, you’re going to be very frustrated. Don’t go down that rabbit trail. Just remember that they are tracked differently and you’re going to get different numbers. So pick one and stick with it. 

4. Justifications = 60 days

The fourth thing is in regards to justifications. Now if you’re unfamiliar with that term, you’re like, “What are justifications,” Miriam Ellis recently did a blog post here on Moz about this topic, and she explained it really well. So I’m not going to do what she did and explain it. Check out her article, and that will give you all the information you need. 

Hand drawing of local justification examples in the SERP.

But just in case you’re not familiar and you really don’t know what I’m talking about, I did my best — I’m not an artist — to draw it over here. So let’s say, for example, you’re on Google and you do a search for local SEO, and my agency, Sterling Sky, shows up in the search results.

If we had a post recently that mentioned local SEO, Google might grab that little snippet, the words essentially and stick it right there in the local pack results. This is what we call a justification. So they’re really cool, and it’s a great way to get more words and more messaging in front of your possible consumers. Now the thing to keep in mind here is that post justifications only look at posts that were done from the last 60 days.

So your older posts won’t be looked at. So you’ve got to have a post strategy that is pretty frequent. 

5. Seasonal Posts = one of the worst

The fifth thing was that we wanted to look at content types. So people often ask me, “Joy, what should I post about? Like what am I supposed to put in the content in Google Posts?” It comes up a lot as a question.

So we, with our study, basically organized all the different posts we looked at into different categories. Then what I’m going to show at MozCon is the winners and the losers. So one from the losers, that did not perform well, were posts about seasonal topics. Now that shocked me to be completely honest. But what I’m talking about here is let’s say you have a dermatologist and it’s coming close to Christmas.

So you use like Christmassy wording and Christmas emojis and like Christmas stuff to try and make the post kind of be more relevant. These did not perform well. So it kind of surprised me, but that was one from our losers list. 

6. Use emojis! 

One from our winners list was emojis, point number six. So emojis are great. Some of you may be excited by this. Some of you might roll your eyes.

If you love emojis, this is one of the strategies that we saw that actually helped performance on Google Posts. So make sure you use emojis if you are trying to get people’s attention. Posts with them outperformed posts without them. 

7. Update Posts = 6 months

Finally, the last tip I’m going to share with you today is in regards to the update posts. Now if you’re not familiar with the term “update posts,” I kind of made it up because there was no name for the traditional post inside Google My Business.

So it sent updates, so we just called it that. But this was the type of post that, if you remember when Google first launched this feature, you would do a post and it would last for seven days, and after seven days, it would get deleted from your knowledge panel. So it was essentially invisible, which was a little annoying because you don’t want to have to go and post every seven days. Because you can’t schedule a post natively inside Google My Business, it was a bit of a headache to try and keep up with this as a business owner.

So the good news is that several months ago Google changed this, and now these posts actually stay on your knowledge panel for a long time. But I wanted to know exactly how long they stayed on there, so I tracked some and came to the conclusion that they stay on your knowledge panel for six months. So essentially what that means is if you made one update post, never posted again, it would stay there for six months and then it would disappear, which is a lot better than seven days.

So keep these tips in mind when you are coming up with your post strategy. Obviously to get a lot more, feel free to check out my talk at MozCon upcoming later this year. Some of the things that I’ll be talking about there — there’s a lot that I didn’t cover — I’ll be addressing if posts impact ranking, which is probably the number one question that I get asked, and I’ll also be going through a lot more of the winning and losing strategies that we found from the study.

Thanks for listening, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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