July 7th 2017 Edit: In order to keep Posts timely and relevant for searchers, Google confirmed that most Posts are removed from the default view seven days after publishing – except for upcoming events which are removed after the event is over.
June 30th 2017 Edit: Google just clarified that while most businesses now have access to Posts, those in the ‘Hotel’ category were left out of the rollout for now. Special access can be requested in the meantime while Google finalizes the expansion.
Supporting small business has always been a priority here at Acquisio, so any news that helps encourage SMBs to succeed in the digital economy makes our heart skip a beat! In fact, everyone connected to the small business world is buzzing about Google’s latest announcement concerning the ongoing Posts saga that has stretched over a year and a half. Beginning its existence with no name and only a few political candidates to call its own, Google Posts has been through a number of changes in its short life.
At the beginning of the monumental presidential election year in the US in 2016, Google released an experiment that would give political candidates a new platform to explain their views to the search-public. The horizontal carousel of candidate content was not an ad, but would still appear at the top of the search results in a similar way to Twitter previews. However, unlike the strict character counts of Twitter, the cards could contain text up to 14,400 characters and the visual aid of up to 10 images or videos.
After a little investigative digging on their end, Search Engine Land dubbed the newly released candidate cards ‘Google Posts’ because it had ‘Posts by Google’ in the title tag, despite remaining unnamed in the body copy.
A few months after the politically themed cards went live, Google made the Posts available to a very limited number of local businesses using Google My Business (GMB) in March 2016. By the same time the next year, museums, films, and sports teams in the US and Brazil (as well as musicians in Brazil) could now use the system.
Slowly but surely, Google continued to expand the service until an official launch for SMBs was announced on their blog on June 22, 2017. As of this week, small businesses with a GMB account are now officially able to get in on the action and see their Posts in both search and map results.
These Posts give SMBs a great opportunity for visibility at the top of the search page, in a similar way to related Twitter results. Posts can be jazzed up with a business’ images, videos, text, events, and link to a landing page. GMB users can encourage customers to act right away by adding custom CTA buttons to reserve a spot, sign up for a newsletter, or buy a product now.
Google explains the benefits small businesses get from the new feature in a few simple points on their blog post announcing the expansion of Posts:
- These listings will help SMBs showcase what sets them apart from the competition
- Posts are a quick and easy way to attract new customers and keep old ones informed
- The listings make it easier to engage with customers by sharing daily specials, promotions, special events, and new products
- They can easily be created and updated on the go through mobile
Google has been making some great strides in the last few years to encourage small businesses to thrive digitally. In the past, we’ve discussed Google’s review translations and their ongoing focus on local reviews and reviewees, and this new step continues to prove their dedication to SMBs. As a company that focuses on helping small business succeed as well, we can’t wait to see what else Google has up their sleeve for the locals.
For more information on how Acquisio helps small and local business thrive in the digital economy, check out our latest webinar with our friends, Main Street ROI!
Feature Image: Unsplash/Bench Accounting
Image 1: created by Cassy Trussell
Image 2: Search Engine Land
Image 3: Google
Image 4: Google