Posts, a Google feature that allows people and businesses to create content and upload it directly to appear in search results, began rolling out to small businesses that use the Google My Business (GMB) platform.
The platform began as an experiment in 2016, allowing candidates during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to post status updates directly to Google's search result pages. Google slowly began rolling it out to more users — museums, sports teams and other similar organizations — that are willing to test the tool.
Now the feature provides small businesses with a new way to share daily specials or short-lived promotions that may encourage consumers to make a purchase online or to visit a physical store. It provides a way to hand a sign online to promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at a specific location or highlight top products and new arrivals.
Any business with a verified GMB listing can use the platform for mobile or desktop.
About 82% of people turn to search engines to find local information, and 70% of people look at multiple businesses before making a decision, according to Google data.
Mike Blumenthal, founder of the site Understanding Google My Business & Local Search, explains the feature in detail.
Blumenthal defines Post as a "call to action." Each has a limited lifespan of one week during which they will display within the Knowledge Panel, he explains. "Up to ten posts will show simultaneously via a carousel type display which the user can scroll through to see those not showing in the panel," he wrote, sharing more details here.
The platform also provides some analytics for users, although this is "lightweight" -- with "Google only showing total times it was seen and the number of actions taken," Blumenthal wrote. "Actions are only visible if you click into a specific post. This data doesn’t appear to be included in Insights and there is no current way to see the data from posts over time or in an aggregate view to be able to easily assess what is working and what is not."