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What Google Maps’ New Q&A Feature Means For Local Businesses

SMBs should get ready to list an optimized 'FAQ' section in maps.

In a bid to facilitate simpler communication between businesses and prospective patrons, Google is adding a question and answer (Q&A) feature to Google Maps for Android — a move that also appears set to take advantage of Local Guides.

Here’s how it works: Business owners will receive a push notification when a new customer question is submitted — and then when it’s been answered by either the “owner [or] the broader community,” it will appear between the business’ address and photos alongside the other Q&As. Businesses can also add frequently asked questions to their Maps listing, Search Engine Journal reported.

Attracting Interest With FAQs

This matters for local businesses for two major reasons: First, adding frequently asked questions to their Maps listing — taking care to offer complete information and use relevant keywords in the answers — has the potential to help aid discovery and attract new customers who might not know inherently know if a business offers a particular product or service without this additional info. And second, the feature appears poised to take advantage of Local Guides — which Google recently updated in a likely bid to secure Google Maps’ position as a premier discovery and location-based online-to-offline knowledge service.

As we wrote last year, in a sense, Google Local Guides are the field reporters of Google Maps, offering information about what places are hot — or not — as well as supplying important updates about changes in location information. Now, users can more easily get information from both place “experts” and businesses themselves.

Q&A is “a way for Google to take advantage of expert Local Guides,” Engadget‘s Steve Dent writes. “But rather than poring through user opinions, you can ask a specific question to find the information you need. [But] at this point, of course, there aren’t a lot of responses or participants yet.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.