It’s another update to the Google Business Page and frankly, we’re not really big fans about this update! Before we get into what it is and why, it’s important to recognize that this is the third major update to the GMB page within the last month.
Firstly, we saw the addition of adding social-type posts to highlight events or promotions. Then there was the addition of giving customers the opportunity to text directly with a business and now it’s a Q & A feature.
What is Google’s New Q & A Feature?
The Q&A feature allows customers the opportunity to pose a question on a business’ GMB page and allows other users the opportunity to answer the question. This feature is presently available on mobile devices exclusively. Google rolled this feature out for Android devices eleven days ago and iOS devices on Thursday (August 24th).
What We Don’t Like About This Feature
Today, we tested this feature on Skydive Carolina’s GMB page pretending to be a user. What we were amazed by was how quickly an answer came from a user unaffiliated with the DZ. Here are our observations from our test:
- We posed a simple question: Do you have a place on-site to purchase food? Within minutes, we had our first of three replies.
- As the manager of Skydive Carolina’s Business page, we weren’t ever alerted that a question was posed or that people were commenting on it. Google may release this later (and we hope they do). So, we’re not fans about this as Q & A’s could be occurring on the page without you knowing and unless someone is truly in the know, the opportunity for misinformation to be put out into cyberspace is very real. In our test, one of the replies was: “They have a stand and also some beverage machines.” While this is, in fact, correct, it’s a little more than a “stand” and offers a full menu of food options.
- As this feature is now live, it would be a good practice for business owners to monitor their GMB pages even more closely in order to provide answers as quickly as possible to negate bad info.
A Suggested Strategy
It would be a good idea to create your own Questions and Answers – certainly, the most frequently asked. This gives an opportunity to get the information out there that you want (and answer the questions you receive most often on the phone and via e-mail).
Google’s Long Game
Based on the trends we’re seeing with the continuous development of the GMB page, Google is pushing for users to not have to leave Google at all. With so much information now available on the GMB page that includes communicating with the business (texting), reviews, photos, operational hours, event highlights, directions and now Q & A (faqs) the importance of the GMB page is substantial. This small space on the internet is now (if not more) important than your company’s website. If you’re not actively updating your GMB page, you really should be.