Google My Business is an important part of any medical practice, enabling the practice to manage its online presence across Google, including in search and Google Maps. Google, as it does with search, is always tinkering and testing new features for Google My Business, adding things like videos, photos, descriptions, reviews, and 360-degree office tours.
If you have the team at Advice Media manage your Google My Business page you don’t need to worry about every new feature, as we’ll keep you up to date on changes that merit your attention. But if you handle your own Google My Business page, there’s probably one new feature you may not know about. It’s the questions and answers (Q&A) feature. This is a function where people can ask questions about your practice. It’s an opportunity to show you’re paying attention and to use the questions as a way to actually sell your practice a little bit.
The problem is — most practice owners aren’t aware of this feature on Google My Business, so the questions just sit there unanswered; or even worse, they’re answered by other people who may not even have the answer right!
So that you know what you’re doing, here’s some information on Google My Business Q&A.
What is Google My Business Q&A?
This relatively new feature of Google My Business is simply meant to be an area where potential customers can ask questions. It’s done in the same way Amazon allows people to ask questions that may be answered by the seller business or by other customers. On Amazon, the Q&A feature was an outgrowth of its famed reviews, which were basically the start of ordinary people becoming online reviewers.
When a searcher looks at the top search result on the Google My Business listing, immediately after the practice name, address, and hours there is a box under the title “Questions & Answers.” In the box, it says, “Ask the community.” That’s where people can place a question. Some sites have another box titled “Know this place?” where you then access a series of questions about the business that you can answer if you’d like to.
Google’s goal with both the “Know this place?” box and the “Ask a question” box is to build a better overview of exactly what the business is all about, providing more detailed information about the products and services they offer. About one-quarter of all locations on Google Maps have the “Know this place?” box.
So what’s the problem?
This Q&A feature on Google My Business is an area where your practice can help people understand what you specialize in, new procedure offerings, and the like. And that would be great…if you answer the questions. But unless you’re having the Advice Media team handle updates to your Google My Business page (We update your page, but don’t respond to Q&As.), you may not even know about Google My Business Q&As, much less that you have unanswered questions waiting there.
Some of that blame should fall on Google, as Google doesn’t send you any notifications that your practice received a question. To find out if you have questions you either need to search on your desktop or phone (if you’ve installed Google Maps). So, unless you’re logging in all the time, it’s not easy to stay up to date on new questions coming in, but that gives you a reason to now do so.
There is a rumor that Google is going to start sending out emails to the manager/owner letting the person know that a new question has been asked, but that isn’t set in stone yet. You still should manually check, just to be safe.
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Ask your own questions
Now you know about this Q&A feature, and you know you need to check routinely to see if someone has asked a question of your practice. But why not take it one step further and populate your Q&A with frequently asked questions and answers asked and answered by you?
Yes, you can do that, and it’s a great way to basically create an FAQ section on your Google My Business listing. This will make your practice stand out from the crowd of competitors across town.
To decide what questions and answers you should provide, you should get your staff together and simply put together a list. And then you can write out the answers.
Thumbs up or down
These Q&As can show up in search results, making it even more important to stay up to date with them. When you’re providing answers including keywords you want to be known for is a good idea, as long as they don’t make the answer seem clunky and forced.
Also, if someone likes a question and its corresponding answer, they can give it a thumbs up. That impacts the order the questions then appear.
If a competitor or someone else seeks to use the Q&A section on your Google My Business listing to denigrate your practice, you can flag the answer. Once you hit the flag icon, you will then see various box options to explain why you think the answer should be flagged and removed.
Now you know about Google My Business and its Q&A feature. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your practice page to see if you have questions that need answers. If you have other questions about how this works, give us a call at Advice Media.