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MozCon 2019: Greg Gifford – Dark Helmet’s Guide To Local Domination With Google Posts and Q&A


Continuing on with our Ignite Search MozCon blog series, where we discuss some of the most influential and informative presentations at the 2019 MozCon Digital Marketing conference in Seattle, Washington. In this week’s blog post we will be discussing Greg Gifford’s presentation ‘Dark Helmet’s Guide to Local Domination with Google Post and Q&A.’

Who is Greg Gifford?

Before jumping into the presentation, we would first like to introduce Greg Gifford. Greg is the Vice President of Search at Wikimotive, a boutique agency that provides SEO and reputation management to located in New England. With over 17 years of online marketing and web design experiences, Greg also specialises in local search optimisation and had been speaking at digital marketing conferences around the world. He teaches thousands of small business owners and marketers to increase their rankings in local search rankings had done so in this year’s MozCon 2019 Digital Marketing conference.

Now For the Presentation Details

Greg begun with enthusiasm and announced his love for sci-fi movies, which was evident throughout his presentation to accentuate his passion for local search optimisation. He had directed the audience’s attention to the concept of ‘0 click search.’

He explained that Google My Business (GMB) has transformed in the last year with an abundant of new features. In the Local Search Ranking Factors study conducted by MozCon and Whitespark’s Darren Shaw, GMB signals has increased by 32.14% from 2017 to 2018

GMB stats 2017 to 2018

Users are now able to retrieve information from your website without having to visit your website. This is what Greg refers to as ‘0 click search’, making your GMB listing your new homepage. Your GMB listing now provides users with essential information including phone numbers, directions, pictures, reviews and many more!

Therefore, it is imperative to ensure you optimise your GMB listing to make the best first impressions to users and furthermore, increase your chance of conversions as this is the ultimate objective for all businesses.

Two Recommended Features to Optimise

GMB is equipped with a number of features that will allow users to retrieve the information they are seeking for when performing a search. Greg has suggested that businesses should have a GMB listing and furthermore should focus on 2 features that will allow business to improve visibility in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

Google Posts

The first feature Greg recommended optimising is Google Posts. Google Posts allow businesses to create content directly on your GMB listing. This is highly beneficial because it allows businesses to engage with their audiences, keep presence fresh on Google, manage representatives and publish on the go content.

These post show up at the bottom as seen in the image below:

google my business google posts example

Greg explained that these posts encourage users to convert before visiting your website. These posts will stay live for 7 days. However there are a few things to consider including image and video sizes, text and Call-To-Action (CTA) add-ons, type of post, and tracking.

Google recommends a minimum image size of 750 by 750 pixels. According to Greg, these parameters are inaccurate. He suggested that Google Post images should have dimensions of 12000 by 900 pixels. Furthermore, he urged the audience to consider the cropping of images when uploading a post as well as the visibility of these images on different devices.

Greg has provided a Google Post Image Guide for a more exact control over image crops:

wikimotive image crop guide google my business

In addition to adding images to your Google Posts, business owners may also add videos. Videos, like images showing up in local listings and search results can improve a business’s visibility in the SERPs.

Google support videos up to 100MB with a resolutions of 720 pixels and higher which equates to about 30 seconds of viewing time.

Google Posts will allow business owners to display 100 characters which equates to approximately 16 words. Once again, Greg explained that these parameters are inaccurate. It depends largely on what post template you are using and the CTA – which Greg stressed that every Google Post should have.

google posts example

However, CTAs will remove the bottom line of text in your Google Posts. In addition to the CTA, Greg suggested considering the type of post you would like to publish as they will furthermore affect the visibility of the text in your Google’s Posts.

For example, Event Posts will include a title and date range. Considering Greg’s recommendation to include CTA, this will permit one line of text in your Google Posts as seen in the image below:

google event posts example

Another example would be an Offer Post. This type of Google Post will automatically insert a price tag emoji in the title of your post in addition to the date range. In addition to Greg’s CTA recommendation, this will also permit one line of text in your Google Post as seen in the image below:

google offer post example

Greg suggested that Google Posts should be promotional with a strong focus on conversions. Furthermore, Greg explained that Google Analytics (GA) consider conversions in Google Posts as Direct Traffic, even though they are coming from organic search results. To avoid this issue he suggested setting up Urchin Traffic Monitor (UTM) tracking to the CTAs in your Google Posts. This is particularly important for webmasters and SEOs alike to analyse the performance of a specific campaign.


Just like Google Reviews, GMB’s Q&As are essentially crowd-sourced by real people and potential customers. This section of the GMB listing is located under the Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) of the GMB listing, as seen in the image below:

google my business q and a section example

This discussion feature provides users with enhanced details about a business, where anyone in the community can ask and answer these questions. Greg explained that these questions integrate an ‘upvote’ system, where by users may submit a positive engagement point that will result in a higher position for more visibility. If a question gets 3 upvotes, it will appear natively in the GMB panel.

There are a few factors to consider when answering these questions as a business owner. Greg highly recommended avoid answering questions with an address or phone number as Google will filter these responses and not display them in the Q&A section.

Another factor to consider is taking control over the Q&A section as a business owner. As previously mentioned the Q&A section is accessible to anyone in the community including business owners. This means business owners can ask and answer their own questions. Greg explained that this represent a great opportunity for businesses to transfer their FAQs into their GMB listing. Furthermore, Greg suggested internally upvoting your answers so they remain visible.

What Can We Take From This Presentation?

As many businesses continue to compete for a higher visibility in the SERPs, the need to stand out amongst competitors becomes a priority. GMB has transformed and added new features in the last year to provide many businesses the opportunity to provide users (potential customers) with essential information about their services and products. Greg’s fun and engaging presentation has provided us with 2 GMB features to optimise to increase visibility and relevance in the SERPs.

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