Google Posts are a relatively new and completely free feature introduced by Google which allows businesses and organizations to post messages directly onto the search results page. These messages take the form of a small "card" containing an image with some text and a call-to-action (CTA) - "a new way to share relevant, fresh content with the people who are searching for you", according to Google. As in the example below using a search for "Liverpool Football Club", these posts appear underneath the main listing for an organization:
There's no way to access actual Google Posts in any way other than searching for a business since they only appear in search results, and they currently look and behave the same on all devices, with up to 10 posts showing in a carousel. There's also no way of accessing previous posts by an organization, once they have been replaced in search results with more recent ones, although Google may introduce a way to do this in the future.
This feature was originally called "Candidate Cards" and was originally only available to candidates in the 2016 US presidential election. These posts would be displayed when users searched for the candidates' names and allowed Google to present information in a way that was unbiased, since the information came directly from the source and was not presented according to an algorithm. In March 2016 Google starting offering a very small number of local businesses the chance to use a similar style of post, and a year later they opened the program up to include museums, sports teams and leagues in the United States and Brazil.
It wasn't until June 2017 that the feature became available to all business owners who use Google's "My Business" service. If you own a business but don't yet have a Google listing you should add your information as soon as possible to take advantage of this and many other features. If you do already have a listing but are not yet using Google Posts, this is a great opportunity to be ahead of your competition.
To start using this feature, simply login to your Google My Business account and navigate to a location management page. In the left-hand navigation menu you will see that "Posts" is now an option. You can post a simple text update, an image/video or an event, and you can accompany your post with a button such as "Get Directions", "Call Now" or "Message Us". You could post news about special promotions or events, links to top-selling or new products and your most-popular or newest blog posts. Google Posts have a lifespan of only 7 days in search results, except for events which will remain there until after the event has passed.
It's worth noting that Google have now made it possible to schedule and submit posts via the Google My Business API, which means that it is now possible to automate posts in the same way as it is for most social networks. While this makes it likely that far more businesses will become actively involved soon, it may also make it easier for you if you use any social media post scheduling services.
Simply doing a quick search for various companies and organizations demonstrates how few are actively engaged in adding messages to Google Posts, so this represents a good opportunity to stand out from your competition. In addition, there is some evidence that using this feature can increase your website's ranking in both localized (map-based) search results and main search results, and there is also some evidence they can drive traffic to your website. Regardless, Google Posts are just a great way to catch the attention of people searching for your business and provide them with more reasons to click to visit your website.