Do Google Posts Impact Ranking?
One of the most frequent questions I get asked related to Google posts is if they impact where a business ranks in the local pack. To answer this question, we did a test recently on a few inactive Google My Business listings.
Adding Google posts to Google My Business (GMB) listings had no measurable impact on rankings in the local pack.
To test this, we picked 3 different Google My Business (GMB) listings that we started adding Google posts to. These 3 listings had no SEO efforts whatsoever (no content, reputation, or link building efforts) and were in small towns. 2 of them were for marketing companies that were set up as service-area business listings and the other was a storefront for a physical therapist.
We scheduled 1 post a week for a total of 9 weeks using DBA Platform. In Places Scout, we tracked a total of 441 keywords per location and looked at local rankings for the top 10 positions. We also made sure the posts were about content that was related to the keywords we were tracking.
For the physical therapist, after the 9 week period was over, there was no noticeable change in rankings.
For the second listing (marketing company), we actually saw a decline in rankings.
When I looked into what was going on here, I saw that the drop in rankings was because Google had filtered the listing and was now showing the 3rd listing in our study instead. This was happening because both listings were verified using the same address. They had different websites and different phone numbers. The drop had nothing to do with the posts on the listing as the one that was now ranking instead didn’t even have posts that related to the keywords we were tracking.
The third listing (marketing company) showed fluctuations over the course of the 9 week period.
When we looked at the screenshots of the search engine results pages (SERPs), we saw that Google kept switching out a job pack in the results. The dates that the job pack was showing resulted in our rank tracker showing a decline.
The presence or lack of the job pack was unrelated to anything we were testing with Google posts.
Although we strongly suggest utilizing the Google posts feature, it should be seen as a way to increase conversions and deliver a message to potential customers. It should not be seen as a way to increase rankings for specific keywords on Google. Based on our test, adding Google posts to Google My Business (GMB) listings had no measurable impact on rankings in the local pack.
This Post Has 7 Comments
Perhaps they help when there is a more active listing, when they are timely, eg a particular event, when they are written in a clever way, when they combine with other elements such as reviews, when they are written every 3 days, when video is added, when done over a longer period of time?
I think there is a lot of value in Google posts, they just aren’t a ranking factor. If they were to increase click activity a ton, there is a possibility that it could improve ranking. However, I think that’s really unlikely. From our study over here we found that the average click-through-rate on a post is 0.5%.
You are probably right Joy. And certainly you have studied this area more than I have. I just think that it’s likely posting helps your local authority in terms of positioning your business as genuine, authoratative, and provides relevant content e.g. linking to your website. This seems like a pretty good reason to deduce it would help ranking. But who knows? That’s the beauty of SEO as art + science.
I don’t think this test is a good representation of the correlation of post being a ranking factor or not.
Are posts a ‘direct’ ranking factor like spamming the GMB title – not at all. But do post influence the ranking of the GMB – I’ve seen there is a good chance. Additionally, chasing a single factor is fun but shouldn’t be taken as a win/lose outcome. IE chasing the newest shiny object in SEO.
I’ve personally seen websites show new keywords that were only posted on GMB. But that doesn’t mean that GMB is the only source of this new info. Google can show search results for keywords that aren’t physically on any webpage or other entity of the org – BERT.
So there are a ton of signals that Google is using. I haven’t been able to identify if GMB posts are more social in nature or more like a microblog. I sway toward microblog.
If you were to treat your test like a social media channel:
Most social channels perform best when you post frequently, once a day or 3 times a week. But also wraps in other signals like shares or likes. A better test for this would be to post everyday and check it after a decent duration.
If you were to treat it like a blog or website:
9-weeks is insufficient for any new website. Most recommendations are 6 to 9-months to start seeing anything. And if you were to publish a website or blog with 9 articles that were under 1500 characters and not do any other SEO you won’t much of any ranking either.
It’s very hard to track posts, but I feel they are very useful for a GMB account. A post can come up when someone asks a question. Keywords in posts show up in GSC. Posts show up on GMB maps and search. Showing active posts are a good trust signal. And google has changed that posts expire after 7-days. Mix this in with starting the GMB website and showing up to 9-posts on the website at a time are more good signals for any business. Plus any links form posts that link back to your site count a bit too.
I’d hate for anyone to forego posts based on it being a ranking factor or not. It might not be a golden bullet that SEOers focus on year to year, but they help. Build trust with your posts.
The purpose of the test was to try and clarify that if you want to rank for XYZ, posting weekly about XYZ isn’t likely to get you there. That’s basically all we did in the test and we purposely used listings that weren’t doing anything so that we could isolate any increases that happened. We see results from onsite optimization fairly quickly (weeks, not months) and things that are updated in GMB impact rankings in about 48 hours. I expected this post to not sit well with everyone in the SEO community but appreciate your comments regardless.
I found this article very interesting as I am a new business and am about to start posting every day on my GMB account.
Hi Joy, I found this test interesting and believe it will be helpful to those trying to figure out what exact value Google posts can add to Google My Business listings. There could perhaps be better ways to evaluate the relationship but I found it to be a helpful read regardless.