Google Business Posts, sometimes called Google updates, are a feature that allows verified businesses like veterinary practices to create a post much like a traditional Facebook post that will appear in the local panel on Google’s search results as well as on Google Maps. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know and how you can implement these into your marketing strategy.
WHO Practices wth a verified Google Business profile are eligible to use the Google posts feature. Pet owners searching for veterinarians or your specific practice may see these posts in the search engine.
WHAT Posts, much like a traditional Facebook post, can include a description, photo and clickable call-to-action button that act as mini-ads for your practice. Content can include photos, images, GIFs and videos.
Google offers several post type varieties, including:
Call-to-action buttons can be linked to your practice’s specific URLs, such as your appointment booking link, recent blog post, or website home page. Call-to-action button options are:
WHEN If you were previously using Google Business posts, you may have noticed that they would disappear or expire after 7 days. Now, these posts will remain up to six months before expiring. However, Google Business will only display the last ten that were published. I've noticed that frequently Google sends an email notification when your post is about to expire or if you haven’t posted in a while.
Posts can be scheduled with several scheduling services--I've been happy with both OneUp and Buffer--allowing you to schedule weekly posts or repurpose those that are scheduled on your other social platforms.
WHERE Google Business posts appear in a user’s search engine results (specifically the Google knowledge panel on the right hand side of a desktop view). Google states that they may also appear in the Google feed (for Android devices) if the user has shown an interest in the brand. Offers appear near the top of the Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. They also appear with all other posts in the Updates tab. WHY Google Business posts offer several advantages, including:
Increased visibility on Google search results
Direct, clickable call-to-action buttons to drive viewers to the practice’s goal (e.g., booking an appointment, calls, and visits to the website or blog)
Provide clients with timely information and promote events, news and offers
Engage and connect with clientele using photos and videos
While there isn’t much data on usage in the veterinary industry, I’ve seen posts get over 1000 views and 20 clicks on buttons, though 100-300 views is fairly normal. Some great non-veterinary specific data on their views, clicks and overall efficacy can be viewed here.
Bottom line? If I have a FREE opportunity to take up more space on a search engine result, use a photo or video to show a warm and fuzzy feeling to potential clients, and provide an easy, one-click way for clients to book an appointment, I’m going to take it.
HOW To create a Google post:
Sign into your Google Business profile.
Click the “Add Update” button on your Google Business menu.
Choose your post type, and then follow the prompts to add your photo, written description, and call-to-action button and link (if applicable to post type).
Click “Preview” before publishing and review for clarity and correctness.
When you’re ready, click “Publish” and you’re done!
Use great images of YOUR practice and people. Google will accept any image and resize a thumbnail if needed, but the minimum is 400px wide by 300px. JPG and PNG formats are accepted.
Numerous video formats are accepted, including MP4 and MOV, but the video must be under 100Mb.
Catch the reader’s eye with a descriptive title in four to five words (58 character limit).
Details: here, you can share more information about the news, offer or event. Shoot for 150-300 characters, but you can use up to 1,500 if needed.
Call-to-action: don’t miss this opportunity to redirect your viewers to your website, booking link or other objectives.
Veterinary Specific Examples and Ideas: Most Google posts can be similar to those you would run on your Facebook or Instagram accounts. Since they have the benefit of lasting a bit longer, it’s reasonable to use more evergreen content. Avoid the daily barrage of cute puppy pics and try general “Book Now” posts highlighting a specific service or feature such as laser therapy or a cat-only exam room. If you have a blog, share the link and image and a teaser for the content. Remember that your posts will be seen by clients who are searching not only for you but for the search terms that may appear in your post. Vary the content each week between cats and dogs and between services, offers and news for a balanced approach.
After Posting Your post can be edited or deleted, much like social media posts. It can also be shared directly to your Facebook or Twitter page, emailed directly, or shared via a direct link visible on each individual post. You can also view the post on Google directly in order to give it one last final review. Reviewing Your Posts You can monitor the success of your posts easily within your Google Business dashboard. Luckily, users are likely to engage with your content because they’re already searching for you on Google. Click each individual post to view its metrics, or check your email for a weekly summary from Google. Specifically, you can view how many people saw each post and how many clicked the link. For more info, check out our Google Business course, the latest from Google directly, or send us an email. Happy Posting!
-The Social DVM Team