Self Storage: Google Posts: Pros, Cons, and Insights
Google Posts — the unofficial title since Google hasn’t given it a formal name – are a fairly new feature to Google My Business that is still being tested. Along with this uncertain status comes the risk of implementation; either you could get a strategic leg-up on your competition, or fall behind as you waste time. The self-storage team at Linkmedia 360 put in the leg-work so your team doesn’t have to. In this week’s blog, we dive into Google Posts to share our experiences, results, and conclusion as to whether it’s a productive way to get the most out of your self-storage facility’s SEO efforts.
What are Google Posts Again?
Google Posts are a feature that allows a self-storage facility to publish events, offers, services, and products directly to Google Search via the Knowledge Panel and Maps. Google Posts are currently found in the Google My Business dashboard, available on a listing-by-listing basis. Such an update as this could signal future local search shake-ups to come. For a refresher, SSA broke down the top local ranking factors in 2017 here.
Google Posts: Experiment Results
Based on the self-storage team’s findings during our experimental Google Posts campaign, we didn’t observe a significant increase in traffic that could be tied directly back to our efforts. Does that mean your team should denounce Google Posts? Not necessarily. The self-storage team did observe several positive results from the campaign.
- Google Posts did see quite a few impressions (upwards of 150-250 / week, depending on market)
- Google Posts did generate clicks, even if only a handful
- Google Posts did help the target locations appear sharper in branded search
Again, while the results may be disappointing to the owner/operator looking for a miracle cure to their occupation goals, it still lent us valuable insights and tips we’ll share momentarily. Before we get to those, there are some theories we need to share that could explain why the Google Posts campaign didn’t yield the stellar results we had hoped for:
- Unfamiliar to Users: Users are not comfortable/familiar with using Google Posts to drive their web experience. Though Google Posts were previously available to (and implemented by) the likes of sports clubs and entertainment venues, they could still be simply too new for users to act on
- Call to Action is Limiting: Having a limited set of CTAs is one thing, but visually the blue links do not stand out across the sea of temptation that is a search page. Even if people did notice the visuals or the copy on the posts, the links themselves may not have been striking enough to drive action
- Word Count Does Not Factor In Cut-Off: While the hypotheses in the first two bullets are factors largely out of a facility’s control, this is where facilities can actively experiment and improve. Unless your copy is punchy and actionable, users will most likely see the copy and scan past it, unable to grasp what really needs to be communicated (i.e. first month free)
- Branded Search:Many of the impressions are generated through branded search – a very bottom-of-funnel behavior in the storage space. Therefore, interaction with the knowledge panel is highly unlikely in the first place, as it is much more common for a branded search user to simply click through an organic/local result to the website
Google Posts: Insights and ProTips
If your team is daring enough to try Google Posts, the self-storage team’s recommendation would be to use it strategically in lagging markets, especially where the facility is touting special offers. Verbiage on the posts should be condensed to 20 words or less, graphical elements should be clean and compelling, and call to actions should drive customers to either:
- Location Pages / Bottom of Funnel Landing Pages (emphasis here)
- Persona-based Landing Pages (secondary option)
Based on the above, the self-storage team has several ProTips that may come in handy as your team navigates through Google Posts.
Google Posts ProTips:
- Write long posts with uncompelling copy
- Use photos/ graphics that aren’t attention grabbing
- Implement across too many locations simultaneously (due to time constraints)
- Track click activity with UTM codes
- Rotate posts to prevent stagnation and user fatigue
- Use for event promotion (to get around the 7 day cutoff Google has currently implemented for Google Posts – your event post will stay active until the event itself)
Has your self-storage facility started using Google Posts? If your facility hasn’t, or has questions about your current Google Posts campaign CONTACT US.
Or better yet – look us up if you plan on attending SSA in Vegas from September 5-8. Find us on the tradeshow floor or during our Educational Roundtable Session. We would love to hear from you!