Google Q&A: Google’s New Feature Gives Businesses A New Way To Interact With Customers
We could probably write an entire blog just outlining the near-constant features Google is rolling out to improve their local listings. On the heels of Google Posts, the search giant has unveiled that they’re adding—in the near future—a “Questions & Answers” (we’re calling it “Google Q&A”) section to Google Maps and Google Search.
In this blog, we’ll break down what this new feature is and what it means for businesses (and marketers).
Why is Google doing this?
Google is in the business of getting users the information they need as soon as possible. Being an effective search engine helps them keep and grow their dominance in the world of organic search and paid search.
It’s not a coincidence that, as they’ve grown, Google has done two things:
- Built a “mobile-first” search platform
- Worked to cut out the “middlemen” to share information more efficiently, or to fill in gaps in search
Google Q&A has potential to be a useful tool for users on both mobile and desktop, and—like Google Posts—gives users information directly through Search and Google Maps.
Aren’t there other sites that handle question-and-answers?
Of course, Google isn’t the first platform to attempt to handle the Q&A questions of users. Quora has attempted to fill this space, and even has rolled out advertising for businesses to connect with users asking questions about services they offer.
There are some key differences with Google Q&A. First, this Q&A section—by virtue of being a part of the extremely popular Search and Maps platforms—has excellent visibility.
Second, Google Q&A is very targeted: it contains questions and answers for specific businesses or places. It’s not a “Q&A platform” in the same sense that, for example, Yahoo! Answers is, where random questions rule the day.
So, what can businesses do with Google Q&A?
Google Q&A has the potential to be an extremely useful tool for businesses. Here are just some of the interesting implications of this impending rollout:
— Google Q&A can make on-site FAQ sections better
Many businesses build “Frequently Asked Question” sections on their website to both hold information that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the page and to take some (educated) guesses at what potential questions users might have.
Google Q&A is far more interactive, and can help businesses understand what questions their customers really have.
But, that’s not all.
— Google Q&A can help businesses craft better websites
Through Google Q&A, if you know what kind of questions your customers have, you can identify potential gaps on your website and then fill those gaps.
For example, you run a craft brewery, and you think you have a pretty brilliant website. Then, over the course of three months, your most upvoted question on Google Q&A becomes one about whether or not you have a gluten-free beer on tap.
Based on that, you might decide this something your website clarifies or emphasizes.
— Google Q&A provides a new front for positive interactions
Users asking questions and then the business answering them in a prompt, effective, and friendly manner makes the business look better, makes customers happier, and a whole lot more. It’s worth paying attention, too.
There’s probably a whole lot more that Google Q&A can do for businesses that we have yet to discover.
There may be some limits, however
While Google notes on their blog that “business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers”, in reality, there are just a few types of questions you’ll need to lead to other users.
Let’s return to our craft brewery example from earlier. “Does this place have high chair seating for infants?” is a question you can answer, since it’s a fact-based question.
However, it might look weird for the business to weigh in on a request for an opinion, such as the query: “Is this place a good place to take my kids?” This is the kind of question that the user is probably not expecting or preferring the business to answer. It might be more authentic and trustworthy to let another user provide an answer to that question.
When will I see this debut for my business?
We’re not quite sure yet. Google is rolling this out soon, but they haven’t announced an official date for launch. We’ll be keeping an eye on this for our clients and figuring out how to best use this tool to build and boost campaigns.