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.