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Note: Since we published the following post, Google has suspended Q&A functionality on Google My Business (GMB) listings. Our post “Google Suspends Local Review and Q&A Functionality” explains what happened and why. Meanwhile businesses should continue to share and update COVID-19 Q&A content on your websites. The content below provides insight that should help you. We will update readers once we know when/if Google reinstates support for GMB Q&A functionality amid these rapidly changing events.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores how important it is to update the Q&A section on your Google My Business (GMB) listing along with your website.

Right now, your customers are reacting to COVID-19 by doing Google searches about your location. For example:

  • Are you open for business?
  • What are your hours during the pandemic?
  • What precautions are you taking to protect your customers and employees?
  • Do you offer delivery and pick-up?
  • How may I order online from you?
  • Is it safe to order for delivery and pick-up?

Of course, people have questions for healthcare providers ranging from advice about healthy practices to “What should I do if I’m not feeling well?”

Businesses are scrambling to update their websites with FAQs in response to those questions. Doing so is not only a good business practice; it’s also the sensible thing to do to reduce the spread of misinformation.

This is one situation where word of mouth can hurt a business. That’s because amid the crisis, the risk increases that people will share inaccurate information. On the other hand, information from a business’s officially branded channels carries more weight and credibility.

Use Google Q&A to Provide Answers

As you update your website, though, don’t forget to capitalize on an essential GMB feature: Q&A.

As the name implies, Q&As are designed to give users a forum to ask questions about a business, and other users may reply to them. It’s essential that your business monitor those questions and respond to them. In addition, you can pre-populate your Q&A with frequently asked questions and answers yourself – in effect, your own FAQ section on your GMB listing. It’s a good way to get out in front of the questions your customers are likely to ask and proactively address them.

Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Monitor questions coming in through all your channels ranging from chat to your social platforms. Flag the more frequent and urgent ones to address in a public Q&A.
  • Make sure the Q&As on your website and GMB are in sync. Assign a single resource to vet content in both places to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • In addition to publishing your FAQ, monitor the user-generated Q&As popping up on your GMB. Watch for misinformation and stop it with accurate answers. And refer questions to your FAQ, as needed.
  • Be ready to revise rapidly as your business conditions change.

For more insight into this rapidly evolving situation, this SearchEngineLand article, “Brands, especially restaurants, need FAQs and ‘coronapages’ fast,” is useful. As always, don’t hesitate to contact Reputation.com for help with implementing these best practices.

“Please note that Google is managing demand and capacity during this dynamic situation by temporarily pausing some features. The current availability of the Managed GMB Communication features will be addressed during your conversation with our team.”