If a consumer Googled your business name, what would they find?

In the recent past, most searchers would find a link to your website where they could learn more about your business, find a phone number or address then decide to call or visit based on the information they read.

That activity is…well…the past.

Today, your customers find most of the information they need to make a decision about engaging your business on the Google search page itself.

Go ahead, Google your business name.

What you probably found was the Knowledge Panel with important information on your business:

  • Starred Reviews
  • Map and directions to your location if you do business from a physical location
  • Address and phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Questions and Answers

All that information is important to your online presence. Let’s focus on the newest addition to the panel—Questions and Answers

What is Google Question and Answers?

Google Q&A launched late last year. It’s another Google feature where content can be added that helps to create a story online about your business.

It’s also a feature that could influence consumers to do business with you—or not.

Consumers can ask questions about your business here. Anyone can provide an answer, including you. Monitoring and responding to questions is an important activity to enhance your online reputation.

Businesses can also post questions—and answer them. That’s a great opportunity to provide meaningful details about your business. Details that could help influence decisions to buy from your business.

What’s Allowed and Not Allowed?

Blatant advertising, links to websites and email address plus phone numbers are not allowed. Primarily, Google wants this feature to provide details that people would want to know, like “Does this Mexican Restaurant have Margaritas?”

While this is not a place to post reviews, there have been reports of consumers adding them in this space. Also, some customers have posted “bad experience” type questions “why wasn’t my car ready in time?”

Google does allow users to report questionable Q&As by selecting from a choice of 6 reasons:

  • Off-Topic
  • No Longer Applies
  • Advertising or Spam
  • Hate, Violent or Inappropriate
  • Incorrect Information
  • Something Else

Violations reported have been taken down within 12-36 hours.

Businesses will have to decide on a case-by-case basis on whether to report Q&As. Like reviews, a helpful response by the business can go far in creating a positive online reputation.

So, How Do You Use this Feature to Your Advantage?

If users post questions, answer them in a timely manner. Get in the habit of checking out your Knowledge Panel daily. It only takes a moment to do so.

Also, be proactive by posting questions yourself and answering them. Figure out three or four common questions and answers about your business.

  • what services or products do you provide

Keep what you write short and brief. Questions with 110 characters and answers with 75 characters will appear in their entirety.

What if You Don’t Have Time to Do This?

If you’re like most business owners or managers, scheduling another online activity you have to monitor and maintain will be challenging. After all, you have social media, reviews, citations, blogging, videos and more to pay attention to….plus you have to run your business.

Unfortunately, it’s important not to avoid Google’s influence on local online searches for businesses. It’s where buying decisions are made.

That’s where enlisting the services of a Marketing Virtual Assistant comes in. Business Solutions Unlimited will be happy to help you tackle this new Google feature to help build your business. Give us a call at (904) 429-4588 and let us help you.