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.
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 Moz.com. 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:
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.