Consumers sometimes have questions about the businesses they plan to visit—and they often turn to Google for the answers. They may look up the business in Google Maps or in a general search for quick details in the business’ Google listings.
Now, Google is making it even easier for consumers to find the information they need. How? It’s adding a Questions & Answers section to Google listings where both businesses and consumers can ask and answer questions about the company. (A business’ Google listing pulls information from a business’ Google My Business profile.)
Through the Question & Answers feature, a business owner or manager can submit their most frequently asked questions along with the answers—or they can answer questions submitted directly from the consumers themselves. Another option is to verify the accuracy of answers provided by consumers, either by upvoting it with a thumbs up, or by flagging it if the information is inaccurate or spam. Upvoted content appears higher up in the section.
Here’s what the new Questions & Answers section looks like:
According to Google, businesses will be notified when new questions and answers are posted to their listings. The new Questions & Answers section is being rolled out globally via mobile search and Google Maps on Android. It appears to only be available for companies that serve customers at their business location instead of at the customer’s location. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Google won’t expand the feature for other business types in the future.
While Questions & Answers isn’t available for every business listing quite yet, it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Here are 5 ways you can prepare for the full global rollout!
Start Now - Take a look at your website’s current list of frequently asked questions. If you get stuck, ask your employees what common questions they hear from customers. Go to your family and friends and see what they don’t know about your company. Even if your business isn’t eligible for Google’s Questions and Answers feature just yet, you can start preparing a few questions in advance.
Use Real Questions - As simple as this may sound, it’s worth noting: Be certain the questions you are answering are actually relevant and helpful to customers. Don’t use your Q&A simply as an opportunity to keyword spam. (That practice died years ago.) Instead, use it as an opportunity to help people learn more about your business and how you can help them with their needs.
Think Outside the Box - Some frequently asked questions will be applicable to most businesses, such as “What are your business hours?” While these are helpful, challenge yourself to think of questions that relate more specifically to your industry niche and your customers’ most common needs. For example, if you own a restaurant, someone might ask if you serve gluten-free items. Or if you own a salon, they might ask if you offer children’s haircuts.
Speak Your Customer’s Language - Answer your questions in a way the average customer would understand. Don’t use too much of your industry’s jargon, or you could lose customers before they even click to your website!
Regularly Check for New FAQs - Early reports are stating that users can submit questions. If a question is asked enough times, it may eventually be included as a frequently asked question on your Google Maps listing. It’s important to regularly log into your Google My Business account and check for new FAQs. You can then verify the information that is being provided about your business.
With consumers having the freedom to submit their own questions and answers in Google, your business can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. The best strategy is to be proactive by properly contributing to the conversation and monitoring the information that is posted about your business.
Fortunately, our digital marketing professionals at Scorpion can help. We are always up-to-date with Google’s latest features and can help you manage your online presence. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you!
For other big news, check out our recent post on Google’s latest live chat feature for Google My Business.