Ranking Factors

Is the Q&A Section in Google My Business a Ranking Factor?

Myta Santiago 5 mins read
Is the Q&A Section in Google My Business a Ranking Factor?

Aside from reviews, the Q&A section on your Google My Business section can be a portion to provide fresh content for your customers.

However, many businesses do not always see this section as an integral part of their regular GMB optimisation activities, when in fact the Q&A section is a ranking factor that you can bank on to boost your online visibility.

A Real-Life Scenario

Let’s say you own a bed and breakfast with several amenities, including a small outdoor cafe and restaurant and nature-related recreational activities. If your state government lowered COVID-19 restrictions, you’re bound to see an increase in visitors – both physically and online. While adhering to your own safety procedures, you begin to take BnB reservations and dine-in guests.

You notice that a good number of these visitors mention that they found you on Google, particularly clicking your website to learn more about you as well as reading your reviews. They were pretty much convinced to take a weekend holiday in your BnB. But when you checked your Google My Business profile, you see that there are several unanswered questions in your Q&A section. Some of these were pretty basic questions like:

  • Is your establishment family-friendly?
  • What are your cafe’s operating hours?
  • What activities do you offer?

There were also more in-depth questions that revolved around advanced deposits and services not stated in your GMB profile.

But while there were a good number of questions without answers, there were a few questions that have misleading answers. You are understandably upset by this. Because you want to use this section to foster a better relationship with prospective guests, you begin to answer some questions while clarifying those with confusing answers. You add in keywords in the form of location-based amenities to let potential guests know that you offer these.

While you are getting a modest amount of guests this way, you aren’t really ranking. You know that keywords help your content in appearing on search results, so why isn’t the same result happening on your GMB profile?

So… Is Q&A a Ranking Factor?

There are three main ranking factors for local SEO: Relevance, Proximinity and Prominence. These tell Google that a listing is an appropriate result for someone doing a local search, especially when the user is typing specific keywords such as the type of business and the city or neighbourhood (e.g. bed and breakfast near Byron Bay).

Underneath these three factors are several ‘invisible’ ones like a high-performing listing with proper keywords and correct categories, review quality and quantity and even domain authority.

In this sense, the Q&A section of Google My Business is not a direct ranking factor, but rather a portion of your profile that signals to Google that the listing is fresh and regularly updated.

But before you think it’s a waste of time to answer questions, think of this section as one that converts readers into customers, clients, guests or even just website visitors for now. It also shows prospects how engaged you are compared to your competitors.

What matters to both Google and your customers is the consistent information you are publishing on GMB. The Q&A portion, in short, is as important as any other section in your GMB profile.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Q&A Section

Without a doubt, the Q&A section in any Google My Business profile offers a free marketing opportunity for business owners. This is your space to tell someone what more you have to offer and what else is in store when they purchase from you. With that, you can do the following to turn your Q&A section into a high conversion point in your profile.

Turn the Q&As into FAQs

While it’s great to see engagement from prospects, you can go ahead and create frequently asked questions on your own Q&A section. This can match or at least be similar with your FAQs on your website. If you have a long list of FAQs, you can start with the first five most commonly asked questions (which usually need ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers) and move forward from there. This is a great way to use your Q&As especially when the section is empty.

If you want to keep updating your Q&A section, you can post questions every few weeks to keep it fresh.

Be Efficient in Replying

You need to constantly check it so as not to miss out on anything, especially if you tend to gloss over your profile and pay more attention to other areas. Here are tips on how to reply efficiently.

  1. Answer in a timely manner. It’s important to regularly check your Q&A section for any unanswered questions and typically you need to answer them within 24 hours.
  2. Upvote the right answers. If you see someone saying accurate details about your establishment, go ahead and upvote it. It means you have their approval and that you agree with whoever responded first.
  3. Clarify incorrect answers. There will be instances when a Local Guide has the good intention of answering on your behalf but it can come up wrong. Instead of immediately flagging it as inappropriate, you can clarify the answer.
  4. Flag inappropriate answers. When you see fake and even harmful content on your Q&A section, especially when it will harm your reputation, report it ASAP.
  5. Stay consistent. Your tone should be similar to the way you engage with your patrons offline. So if you have a friendly way of talking to people, that needs to be reflected on your Q&A too.

In Summary…

Google My Business’ Q&A section still matters and is as important as other sections in your profile. While it is not really a ranking factor, it’s still essential to keep this area updated as much as possible. The Q&A section helps you engage with your audience and maintain authority about your business, stay relevant on search results with fresh content, and convert readers into visitors or buyers.

If you want to take advantage of your Q&As and other sections of your Google My Business profile, sign up for a DigitalMaas Platform account. You’ll have a dedicated dashboard where you can see questions streaming in without having to wonder if someone is really engaging with you. We’ll help you set it up – contact us for more info.

Myta Santiago

Content writer, book blogger, sensitivity reader and proofreader with years of experience. Aside from providing evergreen web content, they are also an aspiring historical fantasy author. Reads 50-80 books a year, so you know they mean business when it comes to writing.

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