Google Questions & Answers (Google Q&A) is a feature quietly launched three years ago that suddenly becomes very important for business owners and marketers. In the effort of getting ranked in local search results, businesses are working on improving the discoverability of their location and the reputation of their brand name.
As you may know already, Google uses three key criteria in selecting results for local searches:
Together, these three factors ensure that users find exactly what they were looking for in their local area – from a kindergarten to a home improvement store.
How Does Google Q&A Work?
When users search for a place on Google, they will see an informative box containing various information, such as the Google Maps location, description and NAP information. One section of this box allows them to ask a question about the respective place.
At the same time, when they reach the Q&A section for the respective business, they can browse questions asked by other people and give answers. The business owner can also provide answers to these questions (more about this later).
Finally, users can upvote or downvote answers to various questions. Also, the business owner can flag answers that violate Google’s guidelines and they will be removed. You may flag answers that are:
- Spam or false information
- Off topic
- Dangerous and derogatory
What Are the Best Ways to Use Google Q&A to Boost Your Business Reputation?
These best practices will help you rank higher for local searchers as well as provide potential clients with useful information:
1. Constantly Review Answers Provided by Users
As we explained above, as business owner you have the right to request the removal of false and spam content that may damage your business reputation. This is why you should constantly monitor the Google Q&A section in your Google My Business profile.
In this way, you can prevent negative brand sentiment before it reaches too many users. As you know, it doesn’t take a lot for consumers to lose faith in a business. If they see bad reviews among the answers a few times, they will believe them.
2. Offer Prompt Answers to Questions
The best way of avoiding spam or off topic results is to be the first to answer questions in Google Q&A. Now it is very easy to do it. Go to the Google My Business dashboard – Settings and activate email alerts. You will get a notification as soon as a user asks a question about your business.
Prompt answers are highly appreciated by consumers. Plus, you get the chance to offer accurate information and phrase it in a way that includes your keywords and location name. Every little thing counts for local SEO.
3. Create Your Own Google Q&A
Most websites usually have a FAQ section – so translate this good practice to Google My Business. In other words, don’t wait for potential clients to ask questions. Instead, create a list of the most frequent questions consumers may ask and answer them. Some of these questions are related to:
- Your location
- Business hours
- If your business is pet friendly
- Information about prices
- Information about special facilities and amenities.
Put yourself in the clients’ shoes when building this list of questions and answers. Consider what you, as an individual, would like to know about your business.
4. Make Use of Answers that Read as Positive Reviews
Last but not least, keep your eyes not only on negative and spammy answers, but also on positive ones. They are not just answers – they are reviews that you can use on your website and on social media pages to boost the trustworthiness of your brand.
As a final piece of advice, never post links to your website as replies to questions in Google Q&A. People don’t want to go to a website and read a whole page of text – they want a quick and concise answer.