What are Google Questions and Answers?
Now it’s possible for a potential customer to ask a question about your business without picking up the phone, dropping you an email or completing a complicated form on your website. Google have identified another way to stop people clicking through to your website by providing searchers with the facility to ask a question right there on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The bad news, apart from getting less hits to your website, is that unless you’ve proactively adjusted your notifications, you won’t know when people have asked a question about your business.
The majority of the information shown in the Knowledge Panel is pulled directly from a businesses Google My Business listing – which you have the ability to control, assuming you’ve claimed and verified your listing.
Until December of last year this feature was featured on mobile SERPs only, but since then Google have rolled these out to desktop too.
Why should I care?
This post highlights what you need to know, as a business owner, to ensure you capitalise on this new feature, and most importantly, that you’re aware of any questions that potential customers might be asking about your business, so you can respond first.
The first thing you need to be aware of is that anyone – well anyone with a Google account – can answer questions on the Knowledge Panel. This means that if people are asking questions about your business via this channel, someone else may already have provided an answer, which I’d wager is not going to be as accurate as yours would be.
How will you know if anyone has asked a question?
Unless you’re planning to check your brands Knowledge Panel intermittently every day, you won’t know if anyone has asked a question about your business unless you have downloaded the Google Maps app and set up push notifications, using your Android device.
It’s quite straightforward, but here are a few step-by-steps all the same:
- Open your Google Maps app using your Android device
- Click on the Menu icon (that’s the hamburger on the left hand side)
- Select Settings
- Select Notifications
- Select Your Contributions
- Ensure Community questions and answered is on (see below)
I suspect this will inevitably be rolled out to Apple/IOS devices in time, but until then if you want to see the questions coming in, you’re going to need an Android phone or tablet. I know, crazy isn’t it.
What else could I do?
Aside from responding to questions as and when they come, I would endorse as others including local SEO expert Joy Hawkins have, that you add a number of questions and answers to your own profile. Questions and answers on the Knowledge Panel is very prominent, and therefore valuable real-estate, so it pays to make the most of this.
We’ve written previously about the value of an FAQ page and creating Q&A content and it’s most likely there are a few common questions you’re asked about your business, and as such it would seem sensible to focus on these first.
In addition you may decide to add questions and answers about any products or services you’re particularly keen to promote. The only thing I’d say is keep it useful. I don’t think anyone would thank you for using this space to oversell yourself.
Finally, Google suggest that as a business owner you can highlight the most helpful questions by voting for them with a thumbs up. This should ensure they are promoted to the top.
More questions and answers?
In summary, if you’ve not yet claimed your business listing that should be your first priority. Once you’ve optimised your listing you should look set up notifications so you are aware when questions are asked about your business, so you can respond before anyone else does. In addition you should consider adding Posts to promote any events or promotions, as highlighted in an earlier post on this blog.
Any questions? You could ask below or via our Google My Business listing!
Main image by terimakasih0