How to Get More Customers with Google Q&A
This tool is wildly underutilized. Take advantage!
Google Q&A is great free marketing tool for business owners but it comes with some hiccups. This post will help you to make sense of the confusion with Google Q&A and equip you to start leveraging it to attract more customers to your business.
How Google Q&A Works
Google Q&A is a crowdsourced question and answer feature that was released in August of 2017 for Google My Business profiles.
With it, any Google user can ask, and any Google user can answer, any question about any business. The questions and answers appear on your business’s profile any time it is searched.
Users can also thumbs up or thumbs down Q&As, so the popular ones rank higher on your profile.
There is a bit of gamification involved with the Google Q&A program to help build out the data it offers. Users who answer questions become known as Google Guides, and earn points and perks based on how many questions they’ve answered.
Have you checked your Google My Business profile?
Advantages of Google Q&A
Google My Business Q&A can help you to stand apart from your competitors and stand out in search results. Here’s how:
Lead the Conversation about Your Business
As we’ve already mentioned, anyone can ask and anyone can answer a question about your business on your Google My Business profile, so that means you! Google encourages Google My Business profile owners to seed their own profile with popular questions.
Influence Search Results
There isn’t a definitive answer as to whether Q&A engagement is a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but we do think it can influence your search result performance. Your Q&A section can help you highlight specific features about your business, which in turn can help you to show up for a wider range of searches. For example:
- “Do you use nontoxic cleaning supplies?” Or “Are your cleaning products safe for infants?” could help you show up for “eco-friendly cleaner near me” searches
- “Are you guys open on weekends?” could help you show up for “open now” searches
- “Do you guys allow pets?” could help with “pet-friendly restaurant near me”
Meet Immediate Needs
Many Google users ask time-sensitive questions with the Q&A feature, such as “are you open today?” or “can I make a reservation?” . Given the current demand and expectation for immediate information, keeping up with your Google Q&A section can help you better satisfy and attract customers.
Depending on your business category, Google will ask you to indicate whether you provide certain accommodations, involving pricing, parking, delivery options, gift certificate availability, pet-friendliness, and more.
These attributes get posted to your profile, but customers still ask about them through Q&A. Take a scan at the attributes Google is asking you about and turn them into Q&As for your profile. This can help your best features to stand out and inform customers through a channel they may prefer.
When researching, consumers will seek out details about products or services to come to a decision. They may want to know whether an auto repair shop does inspections, if a salon uses organic products, or if a dog trainer trains service dogs. The Google Q&A section can help you provide key information about your best products and services to help customers feel more confident in choosing you.
By the way, this is just one of many ways to optimize your Google business profile for better results.
Challenges of Google Q&A
While this tool is helpful for consumers researching businesses, it has some limitations for business owners, as you’ll see below. Fortunately, we’ve built some tools to help you more easily navigate and maintain this section of your Google business profile, which we’ll cover later.
Even though questions and answers appear on your Google Business Profile, this feature was actually developed outside of the Google My Business app. Because the data is not native to GMB, there isn’t any reporting for it in Google My Business Insights.
Another drawback of Q&A not technically being a part of GMB is that you can’t actually post Q&As directly from within the Google My Business platform.
In a study we conducted of over 43,000 Google My Business profiles, we found that and found that 91% of questions asked have to to be answered! This is likely due to the difficulty in accessing the Q&A platform as well as the limitations on notifications. There is currently no way to get alerts on new questions being asked, aside from using the Maps app for Android. Business owners need to check their profile manually to make sure they’re up to date on answering questions.
In the same study mentioned above, we found that for the questions that were answered, 83% of those answers came from Local Guides. Even with the best of intentions, these answers may not be accurate if they’re not coming from the business owner.
While Google is really good at suggesting what you should type into your search box, there are currently no suggesting capabilites for Q&A. This makes it difficult to know what customers in your category are most frequently wanting to know.
How to Make the Best of Google Q&A
Given both the advantages and challenges above, business owners have both the opportunity and responsibility to fill that gap by maintaining the Q&A section of their Google My Business profile. Fortunately, we’ve come up with a list of tips for maintaining your Google Q&A section as well as three tools to help you navigate the platform more easily.
Google Q&A Tips
In addition to knowing which questions to populate your profile, you also have to know how to answer them. Use the tips in this post for some added advice on how to manage your Q&A.
ThriveHive’s Q&A Tool
ThriveHive’s Q&A tool helps you to identify the most popular questions for your business category, and provides a way to directly post the questions and their answers to your profile.
Our Google Grader, which assesses your Google My Business profile, incorporates Q&A engagement into the “Communications” section of your report.
The Perch App
With the Perch App, you can monitor and answer questions directly from the Guided Inbox.
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