Google prominently displays questions and answers on each of your locations’ listings. Prospective customers refer to Google Q&A to guide their purchasing decisions. What does your response—or—lack thereof—tell customers about your brand?
GMB’s Q&A offers businesses an opportunity to connect with consumers. Although the feature was released in 2017, many brands still aren’t aware it exists. By not tapping into Google’s Q&A and interacting with potential future customers, brands may be missing opportunities to engage consumers or generate additional revenue.
In a recent webinar led by Rio SEO Product Manager John Toth and GMB Gold Product Expert Krystal Taing, we shared useful insights into Google Q&A, opportunities for local businesses, and creative ways multi-location brands can use Google’s Q&A to improve their presence in local search. To give you a high-level, sneak peek into some insights shared in the presentation and help you formulate a scalable Google Q&A strategy, we’ve rounded our key takeaways below.
Introducing Google Q&A
Google Q&A is a communication forum that displays near the top of all GMB listings, right beneath your core location data. Both questions and answers can be submitted by businesses, local guides, and Google users. Answers to questions are then ranked based on how many times they’ve been upvoted or downvoted by users.
The questions customers ask local businesses in search do far more than simply satisfy their curiosities. Every Q&A helps future prospective customers see the interaction and better evaluate your products and services. It can be the difference between consumers visiting your location or your competitor’s.
Why Every Question Counts
In the webinar, we described several scenarios where overlooking questions can be detrimental to your business. Imagine you’re interested in finding out if a pizza restaurant carries a gluten-free crust option. You decide to look at Google Q&A before visiting the location nearest to you to see if someone has already asked this question. Someone has and a user answered “no”. You don’t see a response from the location owner, so you assume the local guide, a power user for Google Reviews, is correct and in turn, visit a competitor instead.
This whole scenario could have easily been avoided had the brand been proactive in monitoring incoming questions and responding appropriately. By responding to the question, the business could have gained a loyal customer, built trust, and improved its reputation. They would have also facilitated the customer journey, from initial search to sale.
Each question your business neglects to answer leads to a lost opportunity. Yet, in a data sample of nearly 10,000 locations, we found that 42% of businesses have unanswered questions in GMB and 88% of businesses have questions unanswered by the location manager. The 3 Google Q&A opportunities we discussed in our webinar were the following:
Notifications and Centralized Management
Rio SEO’s enterprise-level dashboard and notification system allow a corporate-level view of questions across all locations from one convenient, central dashboard. In the dashboard, your brand can easily monitor all incoming content in one place. You can also receive up-to-date notifications, ensuring you never miss a single opportunity to respond to a question at any of your locations.
Today, there isn’t a tool in Google that allows enterprise brands to respond to all their reviews. For brands with multiple locations, it can be an arduous task to monitor and respond to every review without a solid tool at your fingertips. Having a reputation management platform helps you improve visibility by allowing you to respond to all incoming questions across your locations in a single dashboard. It also eliminates the need to reference multiple resources to see the same questions/answers.
Google Q&A is more than just a customer engagement feature, it also provides business intelligence. By using an enterprise-level dashboard, you can mine this data to find core elements people are searching for related to your business, see what consumers want to know about your brand, and identify opportunities on where you can improve your messaging to eliminate common questions.
Now that you’re aware of how your business can benefit from proactively monitoring and engaging with Google Q&A, in the webinar we also covered a few best practices:
Respond in the Moments that Matter
In an era where local guides are seen as an authoritative figure even if they have no affiliation with your business, it’s crucial for you to regain control of your business’ narrative. To do this, you need to show you’re invested in your current and potential customers. This begins with responding to your business’ questions. By responding, you become the most credible source of information, rather than local guides or other consumers.
Standardize Your Responses
When responding to questions, it’s important to develop a standard tone and voice. Your answers should be informative for the general public, professional, and they do not need to be completely personalized either. Ensure, no matter who is responding at your organization, that appropriate responses are being given to all your questions.
Mine Common Themes
You may find that many potential customers are asking similar questions. If you are seeing common themes in questions asked, this presents the opportunity to determine what kind of additional content could help users in their consumer journey prior to making a purchase with your company. Can you add this information to your existing GMB listing or your landing pages? Can you develop an on-page content strategy to answer users’ questions?
By mining for common themes, businesses have the opportunity to create an FAQ based on your consumers’ questions to build search engine trust. For example, diner-style breakfast restaurant chain, Denny’s, took notice to potential customers asking the same question: Do you get a free meal on your birthday? Denny’s created an FAQ based on this question, and now when users ask if they get a free meal on their birthday, their answer shows up in the zero position in Google search.
Develop a Strategy for Incorrect Responses
Users may relay inaccurate information when answering a question. If their response is the only answer to the question, readers may believe the information is correct. This is why it’s essential for your business to respond to every question and flag any incorrect answers. In addition to responding to all your questions, you should also be upvoting your responses. If a question has more than one answer, the answer with the most thumbs up will be ranked first.
We’ve only scratched the surface on what our local search experts discussed in our Google Q&A webinar.
To dive in deeper and learn how you can leverage Google Q&A for your business, watch the on-demand webinar here: