Google Q&A Neglect: A cautionary tale

Google Q&A Neglect: A cautionary tale

As I’ve mentioned over in my ‘What is local SEO and why should I care?‘ post, your Google My Business profile effectively functions as your homepage on Google. One key element of GMB is the Q&A section, which features prominently on Knowledge Panel results.

Google Knowledge Panel featuring Q&A

Through your GMB login, you can easily answer questions asked on Google, and you can even ask your own questions to create a custom, highly-visible FAQ.

What’s surprising is that a large percentage of business owners pay no attention to their Google Q&A, leaving it up to ‘Local Guides’ or even totally random users to answer key questions about their business!

I looked at a fairly random sample of 40 businesses in the Portland area including bars, restaurants, shops, escape rooms, et al. Here’s what I learned:

  • 36/40 businesses had at least one question asked
  • Only four (!!!) of those businesses had answered at least one question
  • Just one business had a 100% response rate, but they also only had one question asked

Unsurprisingly, my quick-and-dirty research findings echoed those from a more comprehensive case study done by Miriam Ellis of Despite that consistency, it’s unclear to me why so many business owners are ignoring this prominent part of their web presence. After all, for most businesses, answering every question would only take a few minutes.

And when businesses don’t pay attention to their Google Q&A, they run the risk of having questions and answers like these on their profile:

Q: When the next Bellydanc show on 
A: Lol that's not the usual for that spot homie
A: That depends on when you show up in your tutu
Q: What whisky will be sampled at the Balvenie tasting Feb. 27, 2108
A: Who know's that's 80 years from now..
There’s a lot wrong with this answer even on top of it just not being helpful.

Q: So how do you guys like this restrunt
A: I haven't been here
Why would you be answering questions about somewhere you haven’t been?
Q: It's always filthy in your place, the bathrooms always are disgusting.. Have you fixed these problems ?
This seems like something you might want to address.

No business would ever post things like this to their website. Why allow it somewhere that people will possibly see even more? While Google Q&A responses might not affect search rankings directly, they are undoubtedly a key customer service element of any business’s online presence. SEO is about more than just rankings and CTR, it’s about conversions. And to turn searches into customers, you have to offer the best possible user experience at every step of the process.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *