Expand Your Restaurant’s Reach with Google My Business Posts


What Are Google My Business Posts?

Posts on Google My Business is an off-site local search engine optimization feature that is free and allows you to highlight your business and connect with existing & potential customers. Think of them like a social media post but located on your Google My Business page and visible within your business’ knowledge panel in the search results. Google My Business posts can be a very powerful tactic to improve your business’ local search optimization and reach but it is only available for specific industry types. Sorry hotels, this is one feature Google doesn’t provide to your type of business. (Probably because they are too busy monetizing this space with Google Hotel Ads). 

How Can Restaurants Utilize Google My Business Posts?

Restaurants can promote their specials and any updates to their menus, COVID- 19 policies, and more. When created, Google can display up to eight of your business’ most recent posts. Posts, for the most part, are visible for seven days and then are removed. This does vary depending on the type of Google My Business post used.

What Are The Different Types Of Google My Business Posts? 

There are Four types of Google My Business Posts that can be used:

COVID-19 Update – The newest type of Google My Business post due to the pandemic allows you to set up a post that lets customers know about any changes made due to COVID-19. Such as a change in hours, updates to safety and hygiene, whether you provide curbside pick-up or takeaway are a few examples.

Special Offers – Best used to announce limited-time promotions. With this type of Google My Business post, you can load a video or photo to support & draw attention to the time-sensitive event. You can also designate whether redemption can be done online or with a coupon code for in-store visits.  This post also requires a timeframe to be provided.

Events – An easy & free way to promote an event. Events require a time frame like offers, a title, and the event's time. Google will default to 24 hours if a specific time is not included. This post type can also include photos, videos, descriptions, and an action button.

What’s New – This type of Google My Business post allows a business to provide general information with photos, videos, descriptions, and an action button. A restaurant could use this to promote new menu items.

Products – This type of Google My Business post allows you to feature multiple products you have available at your business. However, a Product tab will need to be set up before using products.  These posts are also not shareable.

What Are Best Practices For Google My Business Posts?

When using Google My Business posts, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Use high-quality images & videos. Image Size: min: 400 wide x 300 pixels tall, 10kb | max: 10,000 x10,000 pixels, 25 MB. Videos: File Size Max 1000MB.  
  • Keep posts in the 150–300-character range. Generally, the first 7-8 words will show. Hashtags are unnecessary in Posts. 
  • Include a CTA & Landing page depending on the post type. 
  • Use UTM parameters so you can view the traffic generated from the posts. 
  • Keep it strictly business. 
  • Google can and will ding business for misspellings & poor-quality content so use preview before posting. 
  • Obey Google Posting Rules. Stay away from offensive content and anything that violates a person’s or location’s privacy.

Don’t Disregard This Free Google My Business Service

It’s simple and doesn’t take a long time to create and it’s free. So, begin posting, and continue to expand your customer base. Unsure of what your first post should be? How about your specials, grand opening, new menu item or just a friendly Welcome? Need more suggestions or do you have questions, reach out to us, GCommerces Solutions, we are always happy to assist!

Google My Business For Hotels: Functionality Updates During Coronavirus


Local SEO and accurate listings, especially Google My Business, are always critical to ensure your hotel’s business is best positioned within search engine results pages. The impacts of coronavirus on different industries are constantly changing and this extends to Google’s services including it’s Google My Business product. Over the past week, and it seems daily, the situation has been ever-evolving and strategy on this channel is having to pivot just as quickly. Some advice we gave last week is now irrelevant as Google continues to adjust functionality. Here’s what we know as of March 24, 2020 as it comes to Google My Business’ current product limitations for your hotel and how you can react.

1. Your hotel's business listing information edits/updates are delayed

Business listing information such as hours, photos, services, and attributes are not being approved as quickly as usual. All requested updates to Google My Business listings are reviewing and approved by Google before they go live. Priority is being given to businesses related to healthcare and other essential businesses. This doesn’t mean you should stop submitting updates and information to your listings. Continue to submit accurate updates as well as information around hotel attributes, services, photos and more. They will be posted, just delayed in going live.

2. Google My Business Q&A feature is no longer visible (as of March 23, 2020)

In what appears to be in response to businesses being inundated with questions around coronavirus, Google has completely removed this section from the Google My Business knowledge panel. Google officially announced the removal of this section in its support website. Just last week Local SEO industry experts, including GCommerce, were recommending to post and answer business FAQ to this section. It appears the ability to display these to searchers and customers are now gone. Hotels should continue to use their own websites, email and social channels to keep customers up to date around updates to services and hours available during this time. View old knowledge panel with Q&A vs current knowledge panel examples below:

3. Google is pausing the ability to post new customer reviews & respond to reviews during this time

Although customers are still able to submit new reviews, Google has paused posting any new reviews during this time. It is unknown if Google will eventually make reviews posted during this time live in the future so it may be a good time to direct your loyal fans and past guests to post reviews on other channels such as Facebook or TripAdvisor.

4. Google Posts functionality is still present but industries like Hotels don’t get access to this functionality

Many industries’ businesses still have the functionality available to create new Google posts to keep customers up to date during this time, although there have also been some reports of issues with creating posts by some businesses. Unfortunately, Google Posts functionality has never been present for hotels. GCommerce recommends that hotels use their websites, email and social channels to continue to keep customers informed and connected during this time.

5. Restaurants Can Temporarily Include “Delivery Available” or “Takeout Available” to Business Names

Google has confirmed they are okay with restaurants temporarily adding the words “Delivery Available” or “Takeout Available” during this time to communicate updated business status. Normally this goes against Google’s policy guidelines but they are making special exceptions during this time. If your restaurant is still offering either of these during this time, GCommerce can assist in updating your business name to communicate to guests.

We Want To Help

Given the current, unprecedented times we are in, GCommerce expects the functionality and capabilities of Google My Business to be an ever-evolving situation. We will continue to stay on the pulse of what is happening and what the best approach is for hotel businesses during this time. Please reach out if we can be of assistance to your local business during this time.

If you’d like help identifying ways to help your hotel or property, we’re offering a free phone consultation, no strings attached.  We’ll interview you about your specific situation, your historical business mix and talk about actionable things you can do to drive bookings.

Contact Us

What is Google My Business Q&As and Why It Matters


Google My Business released a “Questions and Answers” feature in August of 2017 which allows users to ask and answer questions about a business directly on their Knowledge Panel. Yes, you read that right, any user can also answer any questions that have been asked about your business.

While Google continues to expand its preset business information and attributes for a business to provide directly through their Google My Business profile, it is still limited and does not provide all the answers a consumer is looking for about a business. If your business is not answering these direct-from-consumer questions, you are missing out on a great opportunity. The problem with allowing other users to answer the questions means you are allowing people to speak for your brand. The answers may be inaccurate, unprofessional, unhelpful or the questions could simply go unanswered and you have now lost a potential customer.

It is important that your business is present and responds to your customers wherever the conversation is happening. This includes responding to reviews across platforms but also answering questions on your Google My Business listing directly; even if someone else has already answered. Then moving forward, you want to be sure that you monitor and answer any questions before another user or local guide does so first.

Users are constantly searching the internet for information and Google is constantly evolving to serve up the most relevant and user-friendly content. This is your chance as a business to protect your brand, incorporate some keywords where relevant and ensure that the information that is being shared to your audience is accurate and helpful. While there is no direct correlation between these Q&A’s and ranking, there is some speculation. Even if it doesn’t directly impact your business’ rankings, you want to ensure you are providing accurate information about your business.

Most questions and answers are hidden behind the “see all questions” link, but this is not always the case. If a user “likes” a question, it can appear directly on the knowledge panel with an associated answer as seen below.

Another reason for monitoring your Google My Business profile’s questions is that a customer may use it to file a complaint or write a review versus its intended use for asking questions. By monitoring this on a regular basis you can get ahead of the situation. If you do notice this to be the case, Google does have an avenue to allow for reporting of any misuse and/or abuse in the Q&A section. You can review Google’s guidelines here prior to reporting to ensure the offender is truly misusing the section.

You can even take this Google My Business feature one step further by creating your own FAQs to get ahead of your users and anticipated questions. Aside from providing valuable information to your users, it also makes your business listing look useful to those who are seeking answers to their questions.

Are you showing up in local search results when it matters most?



The local search marketplace is extremely competitive, making it important to ensure you’re using advanced local SEO tactics to compete for visibility to help drive qualified traffic and transactions. 46% of all searches on Google are local. With only the 3 top results are shown in a consumer’s initial search (see screenshot below), do you want to risk the chance of someone clicking “more places” in hopes they find your business? Let us help guide you through the world of local search and tell you how to best optimize your hotel.



Local SEO is an online marketing approach to target locally based searches and to get businesses in front of potential customers when it matters the most. This includes Google My Business (GMB), which is housed in search results, Google+, and Google Maps. It also includes citations, consumer reviews, on-page optimization, links, and social signals. Consumers utilize local search results as a way for research and to make purchase decisions.


Hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment type businesses are listed in a Local Snack Pack on Google. These are very basic results showing star ratings from reviews, pricing, and a picture with a couple of amenities. There is no address, phone number, website link, or directions associated with these listings.


The local ABC packs are for branded search terms (Starbucks, Target, etc). These results do not show reviews, but are more for a direction/more information based search. They include a link to the website and directions with a phone number, hours, and partial address.


The local pack is for your broad category search terms such as lawyers, dentists, etc. These give the most information in the results to include reviews, phone numbers, address, hours, links to a website, and directions.



The local search landscape is constantly changing and evolving, as are the ranking signals Google uses to deliver results. The following are the top ranking factors for local search, in order of importance, for 2017 via the Local Search Association:

  • Google My Business 19.01%
  • Links 17.31%
  • On-page optimization 13.81%
  • Citations 13.31%
  • Reviews 13.13%
  • Behavioral 10.17%
  • Personalization 9.76%
  • Social 3.53%

Let’s break down each ranking signal:

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS is a tool offered by Google for businesses to manage their presence online within Google Search, Maps, and Google+. It allows you to manage the information that is seen by users as well as the products or services that you offer. According to Google, businesses that have claimed and verified their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. Google My Business also allows for reviews and photos on your listing. When adding photos to your business listing you can increase your driving direction requests by 42% and clicks to your website by 35% compared to businesses who do not include photos.

CITATIONS are mentions of your business name and address on other websites and do not need to include a link. These are usually seen on, but not limited to, sites like yellow pages directory and chamber of commerce sites. Simply put, citations help search engines (Google and Bing) verify and validate that a business is real. By having other sites mentioning your business it tells the search engines that you are a part of the community and to help verify your business’s contact information and categorization. Citations are a key component in the ranking algorithms for both Google and Bing.

ON-PAGE OPTIMIZATION is a marketing tactic to help the search engines understand what your business is about, where it is located, and what you offer. The only way a search engine can display your website on searches you wish to be visible for is if those search engines can understand this information on your site. The goal is to ensure you are targeting the most important local keywords that are going to get the most qualified traffic, which in turn, leads to reservations and money in your pocket! Who doesn’t love free traffic?

LINK BUILDING is one of the most overlooked local SEO tactics, but it is incredibly important. Local SEO links are a tad different than standard SEO link building. When it comes to local links, you want them to come from local businesses in the community that are talking about things similar to what you do and/or offer. High authority websites are obviously helpful, but not as important in local links. So what are some examples of “community businesses”? Local events are a great way to start. Partnering with local event sites to get travelers of the event to see your hotel is an easy way to get exposure and an opportunity for a local link. Conventions, meetings, business conferences, local expo centers, and other venues can be a great avenue for new business.

REVIEW SIGNALS have increased over 20% in ranking importance over the past couple of years. Consumers are looking to the internet and past guests experiences to make decisions on where to stay. Google is realizing how important this is, in fact, according to BrightLocal’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey found that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that consumers are turning to Google and other major outlets for information on your business before ever considering booking a reservation with you over a competitor.
In fact, Google just confirmed changes to the way they cumulate reviews on Google My Business. They are aggregating multiple review sites (Expedia, hotels.com, Google, etc) all into one. It is important that you are getting reviews, but of course, more importantly, good reviews!

Google has even gone as far as grouping reviews by type of traveler!


While Google has not confirmed SOCIAL SIGNALS as an official ranking system, it is a way to build your brand and reinforce legitimacy in the marketplace. Social also allows for another way to squeeze in your address and some branded keywords that could easily help contribute in your ranking endeavors. It is important to brand your social media profiles, be active and of course link to your social accounts on your website and from your social media accounts back to your website. Simple is best when it comes to social. This comes from Search Engine Land.

BEHAVIORAL SIGNALS include any organic interactions that are taken with your listings, website, etc. It all leads back to letting Google know that your business is legitimate. If consumers are interacting with your site and business on a regular basis, it lets Google know that you have the authority to be seen in their search results. This is where on-page optimization and social interactions really take a toll in getting your name out there and to show in search results. This comes from Moz.

Google and Bing use PERSONALIZATION SIGNALS to show relevant search results to consumers. This circles back around to using local on-page optimization and social engagement, which builds brand loyalty. Search results are based on past website visits, their social interactions (have they liked a certain page on Facebook or shared something via Twitter). This history of a user will reinforce your site to the search engines as one that should be shown more frequently. This is why it is important to stay active and continue growing your brand. This comes from Search Engine Land.



Google has used the address of the business as the number one ranking signal since the beginning of local search. Meaning if your address was not physically in the city of the search then it would be near impossible to rank.

This year it has since changed to proximity factors. To be exact the proximity of your business address to the point of search. If you notice the below search query, the top 3 results do not necessarily meet the “top ranking factors” such as reviews, websites, citations, etc. However, they are showing as the top 3 results due to the fact that they are the closest in proximity to the consumer that was searching.


Why is this important to hoteliers? Although showing a decrease of importance since 2015 combined with the proximity search, the proximity of an address to the centroid is definitely a ranking factor for businesses like hotels.

If you notice the screenshots below, when searching for a hotel in Seattle, the top results shown in the local pack are all within about 10 minutes walking distance from the city center.



GCommerce uses an ongoing management approach to optimization and uses enhanced profiles to distribute information to the top online directories, giving your hotel the best visibility in the search engines as possible.

We delve into keyword rankings and spend our time researching locally focused keywords to best optimize your website with. This includes all Meta tags and descriptions, headlines as well as on page copy, alt image text, and structured data. Structured data or Schema is becoming increasingly important in the competitive landscape of organic rankings in the hotel industry. This tool makes it easier for search engines to understand your website’s content and delivers better information to the consumer. GCommerce wants to ensure we are providing the search engines with as much on page signals as possible in order to help you rank in the local world.

GCommerce Solutions also uses electronic customer relationship management programs to send out emails your guests post-stay that include directives to post on reviews to the top online review sites such as Tripadvisor, Google, Yelp and 100’s of other local directory listings.

By utilizing our local directories on-going services we will:

  • Match, sync, and lock your listings in real time across our network of over 60 sites and apps. We will also create listings for you if you’re missing from any of our publishers.
  • Update and push enhanced content you’d like to add to your listings including photos, videos, staff bios and room types.
  • Link your featured message to a reservations landing page. We can update that featured message anytime, so let your GCommerce Account Manager/Executive know about any upcoming events or specials you’d like to highlight.
  • Detect and suppress any duplicate listings across our network.

In summary, locally related searches continue to grow and for businesses to be successful in this space it is necessary to incorporate Local Search Optimization strategies into the overall SEO and marketing approach. GCommerce understands that consumers rely on search engines to evaluate businesses and to decide upon the best purchasing option based on accurate business information, user reviews and so much more. Our Local Search Optimization service ensures that your hotel is better optimized to ensure relevant consumers find you and book with your property.