Carefully cultivating and monitoring your online presence is imperative for allowing customers to find your business, along with answers to questions they might have. Google Q&A, a tool within Google My Business, gives you a direct communication path with customers while answering their frequently asked questions.
This article covers the features of Google Q&A, best practices, and how our customers are taking advantage of the tool.
How important is the Q&A section of a Google My Business Profile?
The Q&A section is a prominent feature on Google My Business (GMB) profiles that factors into search engine visibility, so having robust and accurate company information attracts more eyeballs.
This feature cannot be turned on and off like some other GMB elements. However, you can exercise control over your Q&A info by carefully monitoring its activity and responding to every question and answer posted by customers. Inaccurate information can greatly impact your online reputation and mislead potential customers.
One of the most common pain points, especially for healthcare and property management firms, involves incorrect business hour information. Someone may ask via Google Q&A when you open, and a customer could reply “9 a.m.” when the correct response is actually “8 a.m.” This seemingly small error may cost you appointments or sales for months to come, if not addressed.
Who Can Post Questions? Who Can Answer?
For better or worse, anyone can post questions and answers for your business. Fortunately, Google makes it clear who is posting the information.
If you own the business, for example, Google will clarify your position in parentheses. Anyone who signs up with Google’s Local Guide program will have a star and the text “local guide” next to their name.
Q&A conversations are also ongoing, like a thread on a message board. Once the question is asked, answers can continue to pile underneath – so continual monitoring is key for companies, even for older questions. Google now features the most recent question at the top of your GMB profile, so staying up to date on new questions and answers is equally crucial.
Google’s restricted content guidelines apply to Q&A forms, so don’t lose too much sleep over inappropriate questions or answers. While you cannot remove the content yourself, you can request for it to be taken down by Google. This includes content that is off-topic, fake/spam, offensive, sexually explicit or otherwise not appropriate for the public eye.
If your GMB profile is active, Google will tag you as the brand “owner” and identify your answer as the source of truth. As the business owner or brand manager, you must verify your information before receiving this title. Neglecting this feature is a missed opportunity to steer potential customers in the right direction.
Best Practices for Google Q&A
The best way to capitalize on Google Q&A is to maintain awareness and stay engaged with every aspect of the feature. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your FAQs.
- Respond to every single question to provide an authoritative answer for potential customers.
- Anticipate questions users might ask and post them – along with the answers – to get a head start.
- Be on the lookout for negative questions and comments or content that violates platform rules.
- Treat your Q&A section like your Google reviews section. Provide clear and concise responses that address the concern, reaffirm your values and redirect customers to more information.
Seeding common questions is recommended for businesses to get ahead of likely customer inquiries. Examples include details about business hours, parking and location info, services and products, and reservation requirements. If you are struggling to come up with questions to answer, take note of questions you get asked over the phone and in person. If one person wants to know something, others will, too.
So, who is using Google Q&A, and how frequently?
2019 Google Q&A Results
Monitoring and answering FAQs is just one piece of a winning reputation management strategy – but the numbers are no small matter. Binary Fountain pulled statistics from some of our clients that most actively use our Google Q&A product.
For one major healthcare provider focused on eye care, 148 facilities accumulated a combined 207 questions in 2019. That’s an average of about 1.3 questions per facility, so producing responses to those Q&A submissions is manageable. More than half of those inquiries (114) have responses from the business owner.
Meanwhile, one major U.S. healthcare provider fielded 2,515 questions on the search engine last year across its 860 locations and physicians. With the help of Binary Fountain’s reputation management software, more than 1,000 of those questions have publicly displayed answers.
On the multifamily side, several property management companies using the Google Q&A tool accrued 200-plus questions in 2019. For clients we surveyed, the highest rate of owner responses was 50%, from a business with more than 90 properties. Two other companies monitor reviews and questions from search engines, but have not responded in the Q&A section from their GMB profiles. Even so, about 50% of those questions were answered accurately by community members.
Using Software to Monitor and Respond
Binary Fountain’s Google Q&A product helps consolidate every important piece of this feature into a single platform. It sources data from the search engine and sends real-time alerts whenever a question or answer gets posted on your page.
The software is integrated (at no additional charge) with our Social Compass and Binary Health Analytics platforms. It will give you a quick snapshot of Google questions per location or provider, including the number of unanswered questions. This information is refreshed constantly, giving you a live feed to track Q&A engagement and maintain your SEO rankings.
Here’s some related posts you might want to check out:
- Ask an Expert: Google Questions & Answers
- 3 Takeaways from the Google Review Rich Snippet Update
- 6 Frequent Questions about Google Reviews
Click below to learn more about Binary Fountain’s platform and how to take your online reputation management to the next level.
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist