What is it?
A new feature on mobile browsers that provides additional question & answers through the Knowledge Panel (business information shown beside search results for a business). This Q&A feature rolled out on Android Google Maps only at first, but we’re now seeing it pop-up across various mobile devices. The feature gives an opportunity to consumers and potential clients to ask questions of the business and for the business to respond. As the business owner, you can also provide frequently asked questions and the appropriate answers.
Users can answer each others’ questions and up-vote questions they think are helpful so they move up the list.
What does it look like?
Who Can Provide Answers?
Anyone! This is crowdsourced data.
As Google is increasingly becoming the homepage for your business, it’s become even more imperative to control the information as much as you can. Although this Q&A content will be populated through crowdsourcing, it’s an incredible opportunity to connect with potential clients. If you find certain questions popping up again and again in conversation with new leads or clients, take the initiative to ask that question in Google Maps and provide a useful answer for everyone to see.
Have some self control, though. Don’t overdo it.
These questions will be moderated with the same sort of system as reviews. This is a scary thought because we’ve seen from experience that removing reviews from Google is a dance you do not want to get into. Worst case scenario is if a competitor, spammer, or displeased client asks a question like “Does this law firm screw people over?” and then it’s answered “Yes” with a bunch of people up-voting it as helpful. We already have to monitor reviews with great care, now we will have to monitor questions with the same attention and scrutiny.
In short: prepare the battle-stations, here come the spammers.
Bonus Information: A great article from one of the smartest minds in local SEO: Mike Blumenthal’s 11 Tips for Optimizing Google’s Q&A’s