One of the increasingly important but neglected features of Google My Business is Q&A. In conjunction with the release of a new Q&A analytics tool, ThriveHive recently conducted an analysisof questions across more than 43,000 Google My Business profiles.
The company found, not surprisingly, that Q&A is “seriously underutilized by business owners.”
Local Guides providing the answers. The headline is that 91 percent of questions went unanswered by business owners. Most answers that were provided came from Google Local Guides in the absence of direct answers from business owners. ThriveHive’s David Mihm said that “82.6 percent of all questions answered had at least one answer provided by a Local Guide.”
Google is soliciting questions about places, business owners aren’t responding
Consumers want fast answers. Research shows that the majority of consumers expect responses to critical reviews within 24 hours or less. With Q&A, they’re looking for even more immediate answers in many cases.
“As we reviewed the questions themselves, we found a surprising number related to ‘are you open today?’ ‘can I make a reservation?’ or other time-sensitive information,” In his blog post Mihm said. “This speaks to the demand from consumers for more real-time messaging.”
Mihm adds that ThriveHive’s analysis showed common themes and questions across business categories. Many of these were related to “parking options, delivery options, gift certificate availability.” These questions are strong signals to business owners to provide this content in their profiles — and on their websites. It’s a valuable feedback channel that shouldn’t be neglected.
Why you should care. Google Local Guides may or may not provide accurate answers, which is why it’s critical for business owners or their representatives to get directly involved and provide reliable information. And while there’s no clear analysis on this yet, a meaningful percentage of questions represent opportunities to convert prospective customers.
In addition, Q&A is another area where review-like content appears. So owners need to monitor and potentially respond to critical comments and issues.