Qatar has 35,000 plus registered businesses (source Qatar chamber – 2017). However, many of the companies especially small and medium businesses are not visible on search engines. Many still. Also, many businesses need to have their own websites. Also many existing websites are not responsive or adaptable to different digital devices. In some cases most of the websites are not even updated regularly which is an important factor to rank high on Google for which, Google has a fantastic option in “Google My Business”.
Google search results are presented in 3 components
- Google AdWords – Paid advertising
- Google 3pack
- Organic listings
Google 3pack was introduced by Google in 2015 displaying 3 companies as results for local Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Google uses the end user’s location to make search result relevant to the location where the user submits the search query.
Google has changed how local search results are generated today. Your business information updated on Google My Business not called Google Business Profile is very important to ensure you appear as a search result on the Google 3Pack when your prospective customers are looking for you.
What you need to do:
1. Claim your Google My Business now called Google Business Profile Listing – GMB
Create a Gmail account for your business. Go to Google and search Google my business. The below result will take you through a DIY process which is quite easy. This is the first step to claim your Google Business Profile or Google My Business
2. Verify your business
Google verifies your claim to ensure you have a physical location in the form of an office/ shop or warehouse. This will take a minimum of two weeks till you receive a pin from Google through Post Card. This is a challenge in Qatar as postcards are delivered to post boxes and not directly to the addressee. Nuance Digital a Qatar based digital company can help you in this regard. You can also be given an option to receive a call or send pin by text message. However, this is rare and left to the discretion of Google.
Optimize your Google My Business listing
Google My Business has enabled “Do It Yourself” step by step process to update the panel. Your listing contains lots of information that customers are looking for These are:
- Business type
- Business name
- Physical address
- Phone number
- Overall rating
- Operating hours
- Questions related to the business
Unfortunately, many business claim their listing and then ignore. There are several ways you can optimize your Google My Business listing to work for you.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can immediately take to boost your Google My Business or Google Business Profile listing.
1. Add high-quality images and videos
Photos and videos increase the appeal of your Google My
Business Listing. They give people an indication of what to expect. You can add these by going to Home and clicking on the “+” sign. Be sure to follow Google’s recommended dimensions while uploading, which are as follows:
- Type: JPG/PNG
- File size: 10 KB and 5 MB
- Quality: Realistic, well lit, and without filters
- Resolution: Minimum 720 px wide, 720 px tall
- File size: Less than 100 MB
- Length: Up to 30 seconds
- Resolution: 720p or above
Please refer to Three Peppers restaurant to get an idea:
Google has said that businesses with images on Google my business listings get 42 percent more requests for driving directions than businesses without images. The more relevant images you post the more optimised is your GMB listing
2. Google my Business now called Google Business Profile encourages Posts.
Have your content displayed in your Google My Business or Google Business Profile listing panel.
First, create display ads for your products and services next, post on your GMB Panel. The same can be shared to your social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Your posts can contain events, special offers, company news and much more
Your followers and customers can read the post and share it
The link will direct potential customers searching for your business to your booking widget or website. Adding Reservation button on your listing will help direct engagement with your customers
3. Get your operating hours right
Having your working hours’ rightly published on Google My Business helps your customers reach you when you are open. It also helps customer satisfaction so customers are not disappointed reaching your place and you are closed.
Change in work hours during events, holidays or uncertain eventualities, you are allowed to update the changes.
4. Manage your reviews
Reviews are critical to influencing the buying decisions of your prospective customers. 90% of consumers locally read reviews before making a decision. You do get to see reviews from local guides. However, make a concerted effort to get your customers to review you on your google my business listing panel
Google also showcases review rankings from your social media platforms like your FB page, Zomato if you are a restaurant.
More the reviews the better to be found or being ranked higher on Google 3 pack. Ensure you respond to the reviews may it be positive or negative. Google likes to see active engagement between you and your customers. However, do not ignore negative reviews. Answering them can convert a negative customer to a positive one.
For e.g.: Three Peppers Qatar – Reviews on Google My Business Listings
5. Use Google Q&A to answer customers’ questions
Google my business listing has a Question and Answer section. Your customers are given the opportunity to ask you questions. This is another opportunity for you to connect with your customers. The answers need not be only from the owner of the business listing. Anyone can answer other customers too generating community conversations. The Question Answer section becomes like a community section.
Treat the Question Answer section as a FAQ helps you share all the information you want your customer to know
6. Download the Google My Business or Google Business Profile mobile app
Downloading the google my business app will help you connect with your customers in real time, on the go. In addition, messaging option can be activated by the google my business app, wherein you will be able to see all your customer’s messages in one place.
You have a feature to even create custom notification to stay connected and notified through Google Business Profile. The app can also send notifications for posts, your product updates and much more.
The app is configured for both IOS and android devices.
7. Update your social media profiles and local search directories.
Google while showing results on the search results page picks your information from your social media pages, local search directories. This is to give the best, most relevant and authentic localised info s possible. For this you must ensure the the Name Address Phone (NAP) has to be identical on all platforms.
Google Maps: Google my business asks you to pinpoint the location as part of the registration process. This is integrated to Google Maps helping your customers find the fastest route to reach you. It also helps in showing on top of the 3Pack considering to the nearness to the location from where the search query is raised on Google. Registering your business with Google My Business will get you on the map. When applicable, people using Google maps will see your business including directions.
An optimized GMB
In conclusion, It does not end with claiming your business. Your Google my Business knowledge panel needs love and attention. Meaning, you need to regularly update content, post offers, announcements, answer reviews and questions. You can find some relevant information at Digital Location management
Nuance Digital a local digital media marketing company in Qatar can help in optimizing your google my business listing thus increasing visibility and attracting more business leads.