In August 2017, Google started rolling out a new feature that allowed users to ask and answer questions about local businesses – right in the Knowledge Panel! Called Questions & Answers (Google Q&A), this feature was first introduced to Android phone users. Later, this feature was rolled out to Apple users and, finally, desktop users.
Now that this is available to everyone, we thought it would be good to explain what Google Q&A is, why it is important, some challenges that it presents and opportunities for your business to capitalize on its use.
Just What is Google Q&A?
Here’s how Google describes the feature:
Questions and Answers allow business owners to answer questions directly from potential customers. Merchants can also anticipate FAQ’s by adding commonly asked questions and their answers.
Merchants and other users can both thumb up content to boost its ranking and flag content that is incorrect or spam.
Both business owners and potential/current customers can ask and answer questions. In theory, good answers will be upvoted (thumbs up), which can increase the possibility of that question being shown to others. However, with this being crowdsourced content, the possibility of negative responses is rather high.
Questions and answers will be moderated by Google. Also, there are guidelines for what can and can’t be included in a question or answer.
Why is Google Q&A Important for My Business?
Google Q&A is a new way for business owners to engage with their customer base. It also allows you to populate this section with pertinent questions and answers about your business and what you do. It’s completely within Google’s guidelines for business owners to do so.
Much like with online reviews, ignoring questions posed by customers or potential customers is not a smart idea. It’s best to get out in front of your customer base. Engage them. Show potential customers that you care about them and their business.
What are some Challenges with Google Q&A?
Again, at first, this sounds like it can be a great tool for businesses – and we think it can be. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t present a set of challenges for business owners.
Google Moderates the Questions and Answers
Since the questions and answers submitted are about your business, it would make sense that the business owner should be the one to moderate them. However, for right now, business owners can only flag questions for Google to review. Google usually responds within 24 hours. However, as more questions and answers are being submitted every day, it may take longer.
Q&A Competes with your Website
Q&A is another product from Google that aims to provide more information about your business – without the customer ever getting to your website. With by adding the Q&A to the Knowledge Panel, people can get your address, call you and find out a great deal about your business without having to do a lot of searching.
It’s Easy to be Spammed or Trolled
Because anyone can post pretty much anything, that makes it easy for spammers, competitors, or disgruntled former employees to post to the Knowledge Panel and rant. Once posted, spam or negative comments could potentially be upvoted enough to rank high than correct, legitimate answers.
Oh, Great. So, are there Benefits to Google Q&A?
Yes! Absolutely, there are benefits to using and monitoring Google Q&A for your business. By having users ask and answer questions, the goal is that they can make decisions more quickly about a business or product. We feel that as a business owner, you should embrace Q&A. It allows you to interact with your customer base before they ever call or step through your doors.
SEO Rocket has a product that can help monitor and manage your business’ Google Q&A. RocketReviews customers on our Pro or Pro Plus plan can easily monitor, report and engage with customers on Google Q&A.
- You’ll get email alerts anytime a new question is asked or when an existing question is answered. Also, when Google removes a question that has been reported or flagged, you’ll get an email.
- You will have a dashboard that will show you all of your business’ questions and answers. From here, you can respond to questions as well as report spammy questions or answers.
- It is scalable. Whether you have one location or 50, RocketReviews can help you easily monitor and manage Q&A for you.