What Are Google Posts for Healthcare?
Regularly adding Google posts to your Google Business Profile listing will make it easier for your community to see important information, make your Business Profile listing more visible to Google, and keep you relevant as Business Profile listings increase in importance. This blog answers the question: What are Google posts? And explores the importance and benefits of them.
Would you know a Google post if you saw one?
It’s a funny question, but with how Google has transformed over the last few years, it’s a valid one. What is a Google post, you’re wondering? A Google post is an optional element on your Google Business Profile listing. It shows up as a thumbnail preview box on your listing when someone conducts a local search.
If you’ve created a post.
In the example on the left, the Google post (boxed in red) appears after the web results section on a Google Business Profile listing. To see the post, the searcher needs to scroll past the reviews. The desktop version of the same Google Business Profile listing shows Google posts at the bottom of the listing. In either setting, the user may need to scroll to see your post.
The searcher can click “More” to see the full post—shown on the right. The “Learn more” button links to a website with more information.
Not everyone is clued into this feature, but this little sleeper is worth your time. Read on to learn more about the importance of Google posts for your healthcare practice or hospital.
What Are the Benefits of Google Posts?
Your Google Business Profile listing is basically free advertising for you on a pseudo website that you don’t have to pay to maintain. Google does it for you.
And as long as you own your Google Business Profile listing, you can control the content displayed.
Many consumers don’t know the difference between a website and a Google Business Profile listing. They simply conduct their search and use the information at hand.
What that means for you is that your Business Profile listing has become a de facto website. In fact, Google’s goal is to control the information flow so that consumers stay on their pages.
That model is a win-win for them and your healthcare organization, as long as you play the game right. If you can get Google to bring up your Business Profile listing as one of their top 3 listings, you’re golden. And creating Google posts will help you do that.
Let’s explore the importance and benefits of Google posts.
Share Information with the Community
Medical practices and physicians can use Google posts to share information with their communities. Here’s a short list of ideas for posts you can create:
- Announce the opening of a new practice location
- Share any COVID updates you have about office hours or telemedicine
- Let the community know of COVID-19 procedures in place at your office
- Show videos on proper handwashing techniques
- Introduce a new doctor or staff member
- Publicize a “Talk with a Doc” or similar educational event
- Notify the community of upcoming school outreach programs
- Highlight students of the week or other special awards
- Share information on what type of patients you see
- Make a special offer to your patients
Any marketing information you would put on your own website would be appropriate to put in a Google post. It will need to be trimmed down to 1,500 characters or less to fit the specs, but other than that, the same content should be put on both your website and your Google Business Profile listing to increase your reach.
Read our blog post on smart Google post ideas for more insight on the importance of Google posts and how to create them.
Another Benefit of Google Posts: Improve Your Online Visibility
Around 92% of online searches are performed using Google’s search engine. Google has done a really good job of dominating the market, and you can use that to your advantage to dominate your space using Google’s model.
When a medical consumer types in a query, Google Local Search pulls up a Local 3-Pack that displays the top three Google Business Profile listings that match the search criteria. The trick is to be one of those top listings.
You can do that by owning and optimizing your Business Profile listing and by making sure you have a decent number of reviews. The CliffNotes version of Google Business Profile optimization means making sure your listing has the proper location, phone number, hours, website link, and information. It also involves filling in your Q&A section and—you had to see this coming—adding Google posts. Read Best Practices for Medical GMB Listings to learn more, because there is a LOT more to it.
When it comes to Google post benefits, this isn’t the only way to improve your visibility. Google crawls the internet looking for words and phrases that best match what a user has typed into the search box. The more keywords and phrases on your Google Business Profile listing, the better chance it has of being seen and chosen by Google for inclusion in the Local 3-Pack. Google posts give you the opportunity to fill your listing with search terms your patients would use to find the care they need.
If you are a physician who wants to see more knee replacement surgeries, load the relevant search terms in a Google post. For example, you can talk about arthroplasty, knee pain, knee replacement surgery, orthopedic specialist, knee doctor, osteoarthritis, etc.
Getting those words in the content on your Google Business Profile listing (i.e. free advertising space) will help Google match you more closely with people who need your help—your ideal patients.
Remain Relevant as Google and Google Business Profile Listings Increase in Importance
With Google claiming the lion’s share of search traffic, as well as creating an environment where consumers have no need to click through, it’s essential to learn to use their system to your advantage. The way medical consumers search for healthcare has changed fundamentally from what it looked like 20 or even 10 years ago.
It seems that Google is adapting well enough to stay on top of the game. For now at least.
They’ve built a world that anticipates consumer needs and delivers results on a silver platter. It works for consumers—including healthcare consumers— because they can easily find answers they are looking for. It works for businesses because it helps them get seen by people who are not even in their periphery.
Google has found a way to successfully bridge the gap between need and fulfillment. Until that changes, Google’s influence and power will continue to grow. And for those who know how to use their Google Business Profile listings to their advantage, they will ride that wave as well.
Consumers of all kinds who are used to the ease of info gathering expect to find what they are looking for all in one place. One of the best ways for medical practices to meet that expectation and get their information in front of consumers is through Google posts.
If you haven’t already, it would serve you well to schedule regular posts. Google posts are on the rise, and they will add some kick to your marketing plan. After all, why pass up free advertising?
How Difficult Is It to Publish a Google Post?
You can create a Google post in a couple of ways. First, you can go to your Google Business Profile and add a new post. Google’s instructions can be found here.
Or, if you’re a SocialClimb customer, you can use our dashboard. Our platform has full API integration with Google Insights, so everything can be easily managed from a single location. The image below is the interface. Let’s walk through how to create and publish a Google post.
- Create a name for your post.
- Add a picture.
- Enter what you want the full post to say.
- Add a button if you want one.
- Submit the post.
This is where our platform provides two big benefits over publishing Google posts directly with Google.
BENEFIT ONE: Schedule your post on multiple Google Business Profile listings at the same time. When you schedule your post you can select which Business Profile listings it will show up on. You can select a single listing, all your listings, or anything in between.
BENEFIT TWO: Set an end time for your post to quit running. Google posts last for seven days. So, if you want to have something show up for a month, and you’re working directly in your listing, you’ll need to repost every seven days.
Our platform lets you set an end date for whenever you want. The post still expires in seven days, but it will automatically repost until the end date you’ve selected.
This is the final version of the full post that will appear in your Google Business Profile listings.
These specs are valid whether you’re posting through Google or through the SocialClimb platform.*
- You can include a title of up to 58 characters.
- The thumbnail snippet that shows up on your Google Business Profile listing will be anywhere from 75 to 250 characters. If you have included a button, the character count for the copy will be toward the lower end.
- Posts can be 1,500 characters long at most, that’s about the same length as the section above titled Remain Relevant as Google and Google Business Profile Listings Increase in Importance. Ideal length is from 150 to 300 characters.
- Pictures can be a minimum of 400×300 pixels and 10 KB and a maximum of 10000×10000 pixels and 25 MB.
- A button can be added which makes for a simple CTA. If you use a call button, the number tied to your Google Business Profile listing will be used.
*Those who have Google Business Profile listings marked as chains cannot do posts unless they are COVID related. If you try to create a post and it doesn’t work, you may be marked as a chain. Google has not, as yet, created a way to work around this issue. Luckily, it does not happen very often.
If you have any questions about setting up a Google post on your Google Business Profile listings, please reach out to your customer service manager. If you’d like to get started with SocialClimb, give us a call at 866-338-8270.
This article on Google posts is the third in a series of five articles on how SocialClimb and Google Business Profile marketing will impact your bottom line.
To read the other articles in this series, please click on the links below:
Series article #1: Google Game Changers Healthcare Marketers Need to Know
Series article #2: How Important Are Online Reviews for Doctors?
Series article #3: Google Posts for Healthcare
Series article #4: Start Up Your Boost Ads
Series article #5: Are You Measuring Your Marketing ROI?