What You Need to Know about Google Posts

What You Need to Know about Google Posts

How Can Google Posts Help Your Business In Local Search and Beyond?

You already know that Google is the search king – but now there’s a new way for local businesses to use it.
We’re talking about Google Posts. You might not be using this feature of Google My Business yet…
But you should.
In fact, done properly, Google Posts can help you share vital information about your business – and attract new customers.
What’s a Google Post?
In case you don’t already know, a Google Post is a short post (300 characters or less) that you can create using GMB.
What Are Google Posts Useful For?
Google posts are commonly used for functions such as:

  • Promoting upcoming events
  • Sharing daily special offers and current promotions
  • Showcasing their top-selling products
  • Highlighting new products
  • Connecting with customers by including a clickable link into the post

Google posts only have a lifespan of a week, so this is a marketing tactic that you need to use on an ongoing basis for it to be effective.
Where Do Customers See Google Posts?
When customers search for your business, they see a box displaying information about your business at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
That box is Google’s Knowledge Panel, and it’s where your Google Posts will appear after you create them.
In other words…
Creating a Google Post ensures that anyone who searches for your business will see, highlighted at the top of the screen, a post of your choosing.
Make the Most of Google Posts
Are you ready to start creating your first Google Post? Here are some tips to help you out.
Don’t Worry about Keywords
While keywords play a big role in your placement on Google’s SERP, they have nothing to do with your Google Posts.
The best use of a Google Post is to highlight a unique selling proposition, announce an event, or get customers to make a reservation or sign up for your list.
You only have 300 words to use – so make every word count and focus on getting customers to take the action you want them to take.
Use a Properly-Sized Image
As you might expect, Google Posts have guidelines for images. If your image is too small or too large, Google will reject it.
The ideal image is 750 X 750 pixels. Anything smaller than 250 X 250 will be rejected. Making sure to resize your image if needed will ensure that it displays the way you want it to.
Center Weight Your Images
The next tip is to make sure you center weight your images. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of having the top of your image chopped off.
The last thing you want is to post a picture of yourself with the top of your head missing – so be careful and use this tip to ensure your image looks great.
Create a Unique URL
One of the few downsides of using Google Posts is that Google Analytics doesn’t break out their performance so you can track your results. However, there is a way around that.
Instead of sending traffic from your Google Posts to your home page or your usual landing page, create a unique URL.
That way, you can track everything click that comes to you via the Google Post link and get a good idea of which posts are working – and which ones aren’t.
Perfect Your First 100 Characters
As we mentioned above, your Google Post may contain up to 300 characters… but they won’t all show up in the Knowledge Panel.
Only the first 100 words will appear there, and that means they must be perfect.
To get the results you want, craft the first 100 words so that they’re clear and appealing. You should also take care to make sure that you don’t get cut off in the middle of a sentence.
That might sound persnickety, but you want to highlight your value proposition clearly so that people know they want to take action as soon as they see it.
Google Posts are Made to be Shared
One of our favorite things about Google Posts is that they’re meant to be shared. In fact, each post has a share button on it, and clicking it will give customers the chance to share it on:
 Facebook
 Twitter
 Google+
 Email
In addition, each post has a unique URL that people can use to share it in other places.
Keep sharing in mind when you conceptualize your posts, particularly when you’re highlighting an event or a new product. They’re a great way to get the word out on social media.
Post Frequently
How often should you create a new Google Post? The short answer is: frequently.
Here’s why. Each Google Post you create will be live for a maximum of 7 days. The exceptions are:
 Posts highlighting future events stay active until the event is over
 If you create more than 10 posts per week, only the most recent 10 will display
Multiple posts display in a carousel format with the newest post first. When the knowledge panel displays, people will be able to see the first two posts in their entirety, plus half of the third.
Keeping the overall display in mind while creating Google Posts can help you attract customers.
Have Future Posts Lined Up
Unfortunately, at this point Google doesn’t allow businesses to schedule future posts. It’s an inconvenience for sure, but you can still prep your posts in advance and then post them manually.
Since frequent posting is a must, it’s a good idea to create several posts at once and have them in the queue so you can share them when the time comes.
Know the Exceptions
While most businesses can take advantage of Google Posts, there’s one exception. Businesses in the hotel industry cannot currently create Google Posts. However, that may change in the future.
The other exception you need to know about regards the images you post. As of this writing, videos and GIFs are not supported. You’ll need to focus on compelling photographs if you want to create Google Posts.
Want to Increase Your Clicks from Google?
Creating Google Posts provides potential customers with valuable information that can help them make the decision to click, reserve, buy – or to visit your business in person.

How Facebook Local Search is Becoming a Serious Threat to Google in Local Searches

How Facebook Local Search is Becoming a Serious Threat to Google in Local Searches

5 Ways Facebook Local Search is Becoming a Threat to Google in Local Search

Have you noticed how Facebook local search is changing? What if we told you that Google might not be as important a resource for local search as you think it is?
You’d probably think we are crazy. Surely, nobody can pose a serious challenge to Google when it comes to effective searches?
Well, when it comes to local search, that might not be true any longer.
We’re not talking about Bing or Yahoo or any traditional search engine. Instead, the search option that might overtake Google in local search isn’t a search engine at all.
It’s Facebook.
The social media giant is, without doubt, a major player when it comes to marketing small businesses in their local area. What’s more, considering how likely consumers are to connect with local brands on social media, it should come as no surprise that Facebook searches are making serious inroads against Google.
Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of Facebook local search for your business.

#1: Facebook Is Using Location in New Ways

As recently as 2015, Facebook’s search function was quite ineffective for local search. People who searched for businesses near them got incomplete (and often inaccurate) results.
Today, Facebook local search highlights the locations of businesses at the top of their home pages and on the “About” tab.
Facebook’s search function defaults now to local search. Before, if a user searched for a type of business, they might get results from their hometown – or from halfway around the world.
Today, the search returns only businesses located within a couple of miles of the searcher’s location. That’s a huge improvement.
Another key change is that Facebook local search now recognizes when to use location – and when to leave it alone – just like Google.
For example, a search for a type of business or an attraction – such as a restaurant or a park – returns relevant local results showing Places first, and then local businesses as appropriate.
When a user searches for something which is not location specific, such as an individual person, or book, or any subject which is national or international in scope, Facebook disregards locations and returns other results that are relevant to the search and which could come from any location.

#2: Facebook Local Search Returns Helpful Information

One of Google’s big advantages in local search is their ability to show relevant information – such as business hours, distances between the business and the person carrying out the search, and, of course, location maps – in their search results.
And now Facebook can deliver that as well.
In fact, when you search for a business on Facebook, you’ll see lots of relevant data included in the list of search results. These include:

  • Profile picture and other photos
  • The street address of the business
  • The distance from you
  • Whether the business is open or closed
  • The average star rating from Facebook reviews

That’s a huge amount of information – and it can make a tremendous difference when it comes to attracting Facebook users to your business.
Everything they need to know is at their fingertips, and that means that you’ll get more clicks, calls, and visits as a result of Facebook search.

#3: Facebook Is Crowdsourcing Its Databases

One of Facebook’s value propositions for businesses is that it’s a social media giant with a huge number of users. As of June 2017, that number has topped two billion!
Two billion people have a ton of collective knowledge, and Facebook is now putting that knowledge to work for local businesses.
When a user checks in at a local business on Facebook, they get a series of questions about the business – questions designed to help other users learn about it.
For example, they might be asked:

  • Does this business have parking?
  • Does the map show the correct location of this business?
  • What are the hours of business? Is the business currently open or closed?

The benefit of this type of crowdsourcing is clear. It ensures that anybody who searches your business on Facebook will have access to accurate and detailed data about your business to help them decide whether to buy from you.

#4: Friend Posts and Local Search Are Integrated

Would you be more likely to buy from a local business if you were aware that your friends use that business and have liked it?
Most people would probably answer yes to that. That’s because social proof is a huge driver of business in digital marketing.
Even reviews from strangers on sites like Yelp carry a lot of weight, with 88% of people saying they read reviews at least some of the time.
Facebook now uses Friend check-ins and posts in combination with local search.
What does that mean? When you search for a local business, you might see an announcement that the business was “visited by friends.”
You can click to see which friends have visited. And when you search for a business, you will also get Friend Posts in your search results so you can see what your friends have to say.

#5: Facebook Has Created City Guides

Which would you rather do when you visit a new city: go to a business that caters to tourists, or visit one that the locals love?
If you’re like a lot of people, you’d choose the latter option. Now, Facebook local search makes it easy for people to find out what the locals say about your business – and for locals to get to know about your business in a new way.
In addition to displaying business information such as location, hours, and reviews, the city guides also show which friends have visited each business listed.

How to Make the Most of Your Facebook Profile

Here’s the BIG question – Do You Want people to be able to find you on Facebook?

Of course you do – here are some quick steps you can take to make it easy for them.

  1. Fill out your profile completely. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are listed properly and consistent with other online listings.
  2. When you put in your address, check to make sure that Facebook displays a map with a pin at the top of your profile. (It should show up automatically, but doesn’t always!)
  3. Answer as many questions as you can, even if it means simply answering “no” to questions that don’t apply to you. This eliminates the need for crowdsourcing and ensures accuracy.
  4. Activate Facebook buttons like “Call” and “Make an Appointment” to streamline the interaction process.
  5. Add additional business categories if they apply to you. You only need to provide one, but adding additional options can broaden the chances that people will find you.

Providing Facebook with the information needed to help searchers find you is easy – and can have a huge impact on your traffic.
Google Still Matters – But Facebook matters too when it comes to local search.
Why not take a few minutes to optimize your Facebook business description and page – and see for yourself what a difference local Facebook traffic can make to your business.

Local Rank Tracking with Brightlocal

Local Rank Tracking with Brightlocal

Local Rank Tracking with Brightlocal

Local rank tracking and local SEO in general is a large part of what I do for a living and I was going to write this product introduction in a way that would imply that I had just discovered BrightLocal and had been blown away by it.

My “intregity” however, quite rightly, got the better of me – the truth is I’ve long been a fan of BrightLocal and their superb toolkit for local rank tracking and Local SEO projects. I’ve only decided to write about it specifically, as opposed to a general BrightLocal review, which  I’ve already done, because local rank tracking is now a major issue due to Google’s recent shake up of the local search results page.

The image above shows the range of local rank tracking and other SEO tools which are available from the BrightLocal dashboard. This short BrightLocal review is focused on the local rank tracking capabilities of the platform and I have covered the other tools in different reviews. The reason I wanted to highlight local rank tracking is because I believe that it is an essential part of almost all local SEO campaigns and, in fact, a vital part of all local digital marketing campaigns.

Google really threw everything up into the air when they rearranged the search results page (SERP), layout for local searches. In comes the local map results and the “pack” results which, up until then, had not really been an issue for local businesses.

Now, they are!

Regardless of whether you choose to use a platform such as BrightLocal or not, every business that trades in their local community should, at the very least, make sure that their Google My Business listing is complete, up to date and, most important of all, verified. Doing that will pretty much make sure that your website and business details are shown when someone is looking for the products or services that you supply, in your area.

Once all of that is done, the issue of competitors comes into focus. OK so your business is appearing in local search results, but where – at the top, halfway down, on the second or subsequent pages? Why are other businesses doing better than you?

There are many reasons why this kind of thing might be happening but before you can really start to understand those reasons, you should try to get a clear picture of how you compare to the other businesses and how you rank for the keywords or phrases that are important to you. BrightLocal’s local rank tracking tools will help you with that.

BrightLocal have a local rank tracking tool which has been specifically designed from the outset to monitor your organic, mobile, and local search rankings from  a single dashboard. This means that you can quickly react to changes that might occur.

Once set up, (it’s really easy), you can track your business’ organic, mobile, and maps rankings on every relevant platform such as Google Search, Google Maps, Yahoo, Yahoo local, Bing, and Bing Local. One clever feature is that it enables you to see the SERP results from any location as if you were actually located there and monitor your progress against your competitors. If you are not doing well for a particular keyword, you can see who is, and then begin to understand why.

Local rank tracking with BrightLocal

See how you rank for all the keywords that are important to you, on every local platform

Tools like this, and BrightLocal’s Citation and Google My Business audit tolls really do make local rank tracking and optimisation a realistic prospect, even for non-professsionals.

BrightLocal’s local rank tracking and other local SEO tools are included in a very reasonable monthly subscription which starts at $29/month for a single business subscription. There’s a free 14 day trial which I strongly suggest that you take and see for yourself just how useful these tools can be.

Where To Find It

Brightlocal Homepage

Paid/Free?

Paid, Various Options

Free Trial Available?

Yes – limited free account

Price

$29/month entry level.

Citation building rated most popular link building tactic for Local SEO

Citation building rated most popular link building tactic for Local SEO

Links are important in search engine marketing, and Organic authoritative links are in high demand for SEOs, local businesses & big businesses alike. Citation building is a reliable and affordable way to gain valuable links from established sites – all Google friendly, of course!

Click here to view original web page at www.brightlocal.com

Knowledge Base

What You Need to Know about Google Posts

How Can Google Posts Help Your Business In Local Search and Beyond? You already know that Google is the search king – but now there’s a new way for local businesses to use it. We’re talking about...

How Facebook Local Search is Becoming a Serious Threat to Google in Local Searches

5 Ways Facebook Local Search is Becoming a Threat to Google in Local Search Have you noticed how Facebook local search is changing? What if we told you that Google might not be as important a...

Local Rank Tracking with Brightlocal

Local rank tracking and local SEO in general is a large part of what I do for a living and I was going to write this product introduction in a way that would imply that I had just discovered...

Citation building rated most popular link building tactic for Local SEO

Links are important in search engine marketing, and Organic authoritative links are in high demand for SEOs, local businesses & big businesses alike. Citation building is a reliable and...

Online Success For Local Businesses

If you are an existing business, or a completely new one, and you trade mainly in your local area, there are a few things you need to do to make sure that you get your share of the business that...

XOVI – SEO Tools For The Discerning Marketer

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Brightlocal – Local Rank Tracking, Citation Building & SEO

Brightlocal is an online platform offering set of local search marketing tools that will help you to gain an advantage over your local competitors. It lists how many citations and reviews there are...

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Whitespark – Local SEO Tools

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Rankwatch – Rank Tracking

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Online Success For Local Businesses


If you are an existing business, or a completely new one, and you trade mainly in your local area, there are a few things you need to do to make sure that you get your share of the business that comes from online searches made for your product or service.

Why Are Local Businesses Different When It Comes To Being Online?

The main difference between local businesses and those which trade nationally or even internationally is the way in which they are treated by search engines, mainly Google.

Google has re-organised its main SERP, (Search Engine Results Page) to accommodate local searches as follows:

yoga teachers - Google Search

For this example I searched for “Yoga Teachers” – note that I did not specify a location this time.

In the above example, the ads show at the top, there are three of them this time but there can be up to four. You can advertise your business here using Google’s AdWords Service.

Next, you see the Google Map for the area in which the person making the search was located. In this case it was me and I live and work in east London so it has shown me the details of three locally based yoga teachers. They are marked on the map with the red “pins” and then listed individually below the map. Each of these listings has a link to the website and a link to get directions, as well as other information.

You will see that these map listings also show if there have been any Google Reviews for your service – these can really make a difference to how many clicks, and enquiries, you get. In the above example “Tammys Yoga” has two reviews whereas the others have none, this gives Tammys Yoga a distinct advantage over the other two and could well be contributing to the fact that her listing is shown higher up that theirs.

At the moment, this map listing is free of charge and is a valuable source of local enquiries. If you don’t appear in this list and on the map you could be missing out on lots of free enquiries in your area.

Below the map listings, well down the page, there are the “natural” listings – these are not paid for and you cannot influence your position in these listings by way of payment to Google. Your position in these lists are calculated by Google’s highly secret “Page Ranking Algorithm” which takes many factors into account when deciding which web page to put where. Improving your position in the natural listings is a complex area of expertise and not for the faint hearted. The process is known as SEO, (Search Engine Optimisation) and, although there is a lot you can do yourself to improve your chances of a high position, much of what needs to be done is better carried out by those who specialise in SEO and/or by the developers of your website.

For now, however, we will stick to the local element, the map listings and the map itself.

How Can You Make Your Local Business More Visible Online?

1) Get “Good With Google”
The most important thing you need to do is take make sure that you are “Good With Google.” It is very important that you have an up-to-date Google Account (free), and that you are properly set up on “Google My Business” – an online platform that covers all of your listings and other details online, including a page on Google+ – their version of a social media platform, also free.

Good Citations
Next, you should make sure that your business is referred to as often as possible by listing and directory websites. These listings, known as “Citations” are vital to establishing “authority” for your website. The more often you are listed on those other websites, the better. Citations are almost always free but applying for them can be time consuming and sometimes quite tricky and may be better left to a specialist.

Here are the top 10 citation sites that your business should be listed on – you can download our full list of 50+ citation sites here.

 Citation Site  Domain  Authority
 plus.google.com 100
 mapsconnect.apple.com 100
 bing.com 97
 foursquare.com 94
 directory.independent.co.uk 92
 houzz.com 90
 directory.thesun.co.uk 86
 yell.com 83
 tomtom.com 76
 yelp.co.uk 72

In the above table, the name of the citation site is on the left, in the form of their website address. The number to the right, “Domain Authority” is a metric widely used in the industry to determine how much authority a website has. Authority is a complex metric but, in essence, it reflects the quality and trustworthiness of the citation site and, in particular, that of the sites which link to it.

Check Your NAP
Your NAP, (Name Address, Phone number), is a vital piece of information in terms of local marketing. Take some time and go through all of your “properties”, i.e. online properties including your website, any ads you may be running and your citations as listed above and make sure that your NAP is up to date and consistent across all of those places.

Setup Your Google+ Page for your Business
Google+ is often overlooked by website owners who usually head off to Facebook, Twitter and possible LinkedIn first. That is a mistake however because Google, understandably, feature Google+ more extensively on their own roperties, especially on the search engine results pages, (SERPs).

If you register for “Google My Business” as described above you will already have a basic Google+ page setup. It still needs some work however, a main image for the header, a logo image, your opening times , phone number and the address for the website you want the page to link to.

It is important to post regularly to Google+ as Google includes those posts in its index and that could get you extra, free, local coverage. Google+ also links straight into your YouTube account, if you have one, to make it much easier for you to benefit from video marketing.

Review Your Reviews
Many people buy products and services from a supplier on the strength of what existing customers say about them. Google now shows reviews about your business on the information panel that appears on the right hand side of the screen when someone searches for you by name on google. They are also shown on your map listing, as shown in the example screenshot on the first page.

Local businesses need reviews

In the above example you can see that, in among the very positive reviews the business has picked up there is a bad review. This is often taken to be disastrous but it really isn’t. It is an opportunity to show that you are concerned about how people rate your business and the product or service you provide. So long as you respond to the review in a positive light and deal with the issue, other people reading that will be reassured that when problems arise, as they inevitably will, you deal with them and make things right. That will do you more good than any amount of advertising or posting on Facebook and elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

XOVI – SEO Tools For The Discerning Marketer

XOVI – SEO Tools For The Discerning Marketer

XOVI is a bit of a find actually. They are a German Saas, (software as a service) company, based in Cologne, who produce one of the most grown-up, joined-up and powered-up suite of SEO tools I’ve yet seen that does not have a lairy price tag attached.

XOVI provide very good software at a very fair price and that’s why they are scheduled for a full review in the Digital Marketing Directory as soon as we can get it done. Their whole approach is one that says to me that they really are tuned in to what the small business, and even small marketing agencies, need.

XOVI focuses, although not exclusively, on helping local businesses who are competing online with other local businesses where the competition for business can be very aggressive.

XOVI SEO Tools

The above screenshot shows you just how comprehensive the XOVI SEO and Social Media Monitoring suite of tools is. There’s nothing of any great importance that is not included. It is particularly good to find a good Social Media Analytics module, a backlink analyser – complete with a Google Disavow tool – and a report writer, so often missing in these all-in-one platforms.

My honeymoon period with XOVI is still going on and I’m sure that there will be issues further down the line – I’ve already found one thing that irritates me, if I click on the help button it provides help all right – in German – not much use to most of us outside of Germany.

Notwithstanding that, I really do urge you to give XOVI a try, they have a great blog and the resources provided for free, including an “expert panel” who provide wisdom around a host of relevant subjects, is top notch.

There’s a completely free 14 day trial – no credit card required – and I think that should seal it for most people seeking a good quality all-in-one marketing analysis and reporting platform together with an SEO toolkit that includes all of the tools you are likely to need day-to-day.

If you do decide to subscribe after the trial it doesn’t hurt too much, entry level plans for XOVI start at €99/month – less if you pay quarterly or annually.

 

XOVI

Where To Find It
http://www.xovi.com
Product Type
SEO Tools & Reporting
Paid/Free
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 days
Price
From $99/month.

XOVI Online Marketing Suite