How Google Posts Could Affect the Future of SEO
Over the past few months, Google has undergone a few exciting changes. Penguin 4.0 had its final phase rolled out, meaning it's now in real time. The search engine is also displaying official Twitter profile feeds for entities to all English searchers worldwide.
There is a clear emphasis on providing current content to users, so searchers receive the most up-to-date and relevant results first. Google is now taking a further step towards providing real-time updates by introducing Google Posts, also referred to in the past as Your Podium on Google.
This "experimental new podium" will allow individuals and businesses to produce content directly on the search engine. When people search for a particular business or name, the content will appear highly ranked in the search results. In a way, it seems to be the new Google+ for brands and celebrities.
How Does It Work?
Google has been relatively quiet about the new feature, but it has been experimenting with it for some time. Back in January of 2016, it was released as a way to allow political candidates the chance to post lengthy debate rebuttals.
The aim is to give people the opportunity to hear from the companies and people they care about directly. At this stage, it's on an invite-only basis and only verified individuals and organizations will be able to use the feature.
Those with an invite will be able to communicate directly on Google via images, videos, and text. The process of creating content is meant to be quick and straightforward, much like on social media. Once you've published your piece of content, it will become instantly visible in search results related to your name or that of the organization you represent.
Entities also get their own profile, which looks much like it would on your average social media page. It displays a profile photo above your name, over what appears to be a cover image, along with your post feed.
Clicking on one of the posts opens up a dedicated full-screen web page displaying the full text and accompanying images. You are also able to share the posts on popular social networks quickly. All you have to do is click on the social sharing icon to share the post directly on Facebook, Twitter, Email, or Google+.
It looks much like the carousel Twitter profile feeds we can currently see on Google, with a card-like format. However, while you can share the content, you are presently unable to like or comment on it. These options may be something that will be introduced in the future, as it is currently in its very early stages.
We know Google has struggled in the past with the development of its own social network; only time will tell if this new platform will pan out any differently than Google Buzz and Google+.
Manage a One-Way Content Feed
For Google users, the new feature will allow them to receive up-to-date information straight from their favorite brands and people. But what will it mean for public figures and organizations? Well, it puts a one-way content feed that is built directly into the top of the search results pages entirely in their control.
The fact that the feature is not available to just anyone helps to instill a sense of trust. Google verifies all individuals first, so you know the information and messages are coming up are all from a trustworthy source.
There are various ways you can benefit from the new feature, now that you have a podium on which to reach your customers instantly. Users will be able to access the content you put out directly from the search pages, without having to navigate any other links. They will see all of this, even if they only type in your name.
You get a chance to introduce relevant content into Google, increase user interactions through the use of text, images, and videos, and encourage social sharing. Increased engagement will also help you to increase conversion rates. Since you know the reader has specifically searched for you; there's a higher chance that they will be interested in what you have to say.
You can instantly publish lightweight content with fast loading results, much like in social media. However, the fact that you get a dedicated web page means you have a bit more control over the amount of information you post and the correlating images.
What Does This All Mean for SEO?
With brands and individuals being offered the chance to directly control the content that comes up on Google when you search for their names, you can see some pretty significant implications for both organic and paid brand searches.
The carousel comes up below the paid ads, but above the organic listings, so it features prominently in the results. If you do it right, there is a lot to gain. While it may take clicks away from your other results, it could end up saving you money you would otherwise have spent on pay per click ads.
You just need to make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity and include links within the posts that lead your users back to your website. Since we're talking real time, it's the perfect way to draw attention to any current sales or promotions you are running and thus increase conversions.
As we said, it essentially puts you in the driver's seat. You get to steer the content in the direction you want, so you could even use it to distract users from any negative bits that appear in your branded search results.
While the feature is currently invite-only, you can join the waitlist if you are a public figure or represent a brand or business. While we are yet to see how this new feature will play out, it's worth joining the waitlist to find out.
It's a great opportunity to control the first thing people see when they Google your name, so take full advantage of it. One day it could become a very powerful and useful tool for you to deliver your desired content straight to the consumer.