The Importance of Using Google Questions and Answers on Google Maps and Your GMB Listings
Have you heard of or viewed the Google Questions and Answers area in your Google My Business listing? This is an area you should be paying attention to! Anyone with an active Google account can post a question about your business. Additionally, anyone can also answer that question! This is pretty cool, but also pretty scary from the standpoint of the business. Learn how to monitor Google Q&A, how to answer questions in Google Maps via the Q&A area, and how to leverage this to enhance your online exposure. Learn how to take control of the questions, how to have the best answers, and how to make sure your business content is in your own control.
- What is the Google Question & Answer feature in the Google My Business listing area
- Anybody with a Google account can ask a question about your business
- Anybody with a Google account can answer a question about your business
- It’s possible for people outside of your business to provide price quotes and answer information about pricing
- There can be multiple answers to any question on Google Questions and Answers about your business
- If you are registered as the owner of the business, when you answer a question it is tagged with “Business Owner” so the public can distinguish your reply
- All answers can be upvoted and the answer with the most upvotes will be the answer that is shown for the question
- Make sure you monitor the questions that are being asked on your GMB so you can provide answers to them
- You can check to see if you have new questions by going through your GMB listing by clicking the “view in search” or “view in maps” links
- Leave answers as fast as possible to answer the customers questions and to be the first answer provided
- Upvote your own answers right away and ask others you know to upvote your answers too
- Ask your own questions so you can get the information you want up in the Q&A section
- You can answer your own questions too, to make it a very good FAQ type of area in your GMB
Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 33 How To Answer Questions In Google Maps and Paying Attention To Google Questions and Answers;
Jesse: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jessie Dolan here with Bob Brennan and this week we’re gonna be talking about one of our favorite topics, kind of pseudo, I should say, talk about, which is Google My Business, extremely important to everybody out there in small business, especially if you’re a local business.
Jesse: If you don’t have a GMB, Which is what we refer to it, Google My Business. If you don’t have a GMB set up already, go check out some of our first couple episodes, number one and two on how to set up a GMB and then some basic optimization. It’s something every, I don’t know, three or six episodes we kinda touch on some facet of the GMB. Number one, because it’s so important. Number two, because it’s always evolving.
Jesse: Google keeps releasing new features and, again, it’s so important that you’re gonna wanna be aware of these features and you’re gonna wanna take advantage of them. So in that topic, something today we’re gonna talk about is the questions and answers feature within the GMB. There’s a couple interesting nuggets to this and how it works. Some things may be a little bit scary and we’re gonna shed some light on that and show you how to kinda take control of that and use this thing to your advantage to find new customers and convert customers … I’m sorry, convert visitors into customers on your website here.
So, first off, what is the Google questions and answers? We got an example here. I’ll pull it up. We’re up in the twin cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul area, so I just searched for oil change Minneapolis. That’s a pretty generic example here. And I’ve got Valvoline Instant Oil Change, no…
Bob: Endorsement, recommendation or advertising here, just a straight up example, being generic.
Jesse: And on this one here, if I click on the listing I see here a spot for questions and answers, and depending on how you’re searching and where you are searching this will show up in some different ways but this one kind of gives us a good one to look at here. If you’re listening on the podcast, you can go to Intrycks.com/show and watch the YouTube version of this to get a glimpse here. So for this one, somebody puts the question, approximately how much transmission fluid, I’m sorry, approximately how much for a transmission fluid change for 2010 MKX, thanks? And then we’ve got an answer her by this local guide. He said, I think $120-140 for automatics, 80 for manual. You can usually talk them into 15% off.
Bob: So a couple interesting things here, right?
Jesse: Right. This was answer by a local guide. This wasn’t answered by, the question was not answered by Valvoline Instant Oil Change, any representative or employee there. And that’s a little bit scary, right? I think we can admit that as business owners or managers.
Bob: I don’t want just anybody answering my idea.
Jesse: Right. So this kind of speaks to the importance of being aware of this as a feature, because right now, if you have a GMB, people can go ask questions and people can answer questions. And when I say people, we mean anybody with a Google account. People can ask any question that they want. It doesn’t have to be related to your business. It could be something completely outlandish. It can even be something profane to an extent. You kind of don’t want that stuff on your page, so you’re going to want to monitor to see what people are doing. And then in this case, the examples that they’re giving for the answers, I’m sorry, the example that we’re giving for the answer.
They talk about number one, they’re throwing out price quotes. You know, so if anybody’s on here as a potential customer, is that price too high, too low? What are they expecting? They could be scared away thinking, oh gosh, I thought it was like $65, you know? I’m going to go down to my other competitor down the road here that had it for cheaper. And as the business owner, you never even had the chance because somebody else put the pricing out there for you.
Secondly, it says you can usually talk them into 15% off. Okay. Awesome. That’s good to know as a business owner that most people can talk me into that. So something that could happen here, if this was your listing, and if something like this happens, is you as the business owner can of course leave a reply and answer the question. There can be multiple answers to every question that’s on there. When you do leave an answer, and when I say business owner I mean the business owner of the GMB account, so Bob would say, if he’s the owner of the account, but if I log in in my google account to answer this question, it’s just going to show my name, and it is going to say local guide, too, because I’m a local guide, because I do all kinds of reviewing. But if Bop logs in and posts the reply, it’s going to say next it, business owner.
Jesse: Carries a lot of weight for consumers out there. Right? So in this case here as the business owner, I would want to get in there and give my actual reply, not replying to the guide’s reply. I’m going to reply to the question. I’m going to give an answer, I should say, I’m not going to reply, I’m going to give an answer to that question. Then it’s going to say business owner.
Now another cool feature in here that a lot of people don’t know about is you can actual upvote answers. Right? So now if you have two answers on that page, I’m going to also give my answer a thumbs up. The local guide here in this one, he doesn’t have a vote, because you’ll notice here it says more answers, I’m sorry it says four more answers.
Whatever one has the most upvotes and this one has one upvote, is going to be the answer that’s shown. So if I click here for the four more answers, you can see just kind of a conversation, some other stuff going on here, but all of that is after you click on four more answers. So the answer that has the most upvotes, google’s just going to bump that up to the top, and that’s all you’re going to see. You’re not going to see all that other context and replies on that thread by default.
Bob: Oh, okay.
Jesse: So as a business owner, you definitely want to make sure you’re aware of the questions that are being asked on your GMB listing.
Bob: Beat I mind, too, I mean, not that this doesn’t happen but, this is a franchise situation. The people that run it, the managers probably aren’t going to either care of have time to deal with it or whatever, but as business owners, we gotta care. That’s what makes us different, so you know, it’s nothing you check every day, but you should at least check it every twice a month or so. Well and every time, there’s many reasons to be jumping into your GMB let’s say one a week, whether you’re doing a GMB post, maybe updating some pictures or modifying your description, literally there’s something that’s every week you can be in there. It’s a great reason to check, right there.
Jesse: So when you’re in your GMB profile, when you’re logged in, if you’re on your home dashboard or if you’re on the info tab, there’s going to be a link to view in maps or view in search. Again, if you’re in there once a week or every two weeks, whatever it is, but there’s more than enough reason to be in there, check those out and that’s going to jump you to what your page looks like when it’s listed in the search results. And it’s going to show you if you have question in there and just kind of all your other information, so if there’s a question that pops up that you haven’t answered yet, jump in there. Post a reply, or I’m sorry post the answer to that because number one, that person had a legitimate question.
That’s kind of a form of them, like we were saying, we were talking about the live chat, that’s a form of them contacting your business. They didn’t call you. They didn’t email you. They didn’t text message you, but they did ask a question. So answer it, just like in a speed of service type fashion, but also you want to be the one that has the first answer out there, so nobody else is compelled to leave an answer or things like that. And then when you leave an answer, give yourself an upvote. If you’ve got other people in the office that have google accounts, hey, tell them, shoot an email around, say everybody jump on here, upvote my answer, because you don’t want somebody like this local guide or somebody else giving an answer and maybe getting one or two upvotes. Do as much as you can to kind of circle the wagon and have your information be kind of the voice, if you will.
The number one answer, because this is a very public forum for Google. Anybody can ask a question. Anybody can leave an answer. Make sure you’re in there leaving an answer. You’re going to get that business owner tag. Get as many upvotes as you can. Manually if you will. It’s not a very organic process, but it’s completely allowed by Google. You’re not going to be violating anything. This is not like leaving reviews, right? You can’t have everybody in your office review your own business as an example, right?
Jesse: You’re going to get penalized by Google, that’s a tactic that they don’t want. They make that very clear. This is different. You can upvote the heck out of anything that you want and you can ask everybody to do it. So definitely do those things right there, because you don’t want people asking crazy ass questions and you don’t want people leaving horrible answers.
Bob: Right. Are these guys still open? Nope, they closed, you know? Or whatever.
Jesse: It’s completely wide open. Not only is this a cool place online for people to ask you questions, this is more information in your GMB listing. As of right now, google hasn’t said that this has SEO value, but I think down the road, I mean, anything you are putting in your GMB has context to Google. So even if they haven’t explicitly said that it has some kind of relevance to your SEO, I’m betting that it does or will have more in the future even if it doesn’t now.
So you’re going to want to ask your own questions. So think about like if you had a FAQ’s page on your website, use that for this. So if you’ve got three, four, five or fifteen questions that customers usually ask…
Bob: Yeah, put them up there.
Jesse: You can ask them yourself and you can answer them yourself. Completely fine, it’s not going to look too weird. Again, upvote the heck out of them so that they kind of stay as the anchor answers and nobody can supplant them. But take that to your advantage. And so when I talk about SEO value and that, you know, if you’re doing oil changes, don’t just say, do you offer oil changes? You know. Do you offer oil changes in synthetic and high mileage and get a little descriptive in your questions, because I think that is going to add some SEO value, kind of in a broad, long tail type spectrum. And ion that same way, when you give your answers, don’t just say, yes. Or no. Or yes we do. Be descriptive. Think about it as a conversation, not as a text reply. If somebody asks you over the phone would you just say no or yes? Or would you kind of sell them a little bit? Use that same kind of verbiage in text and in your replies.
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