Google Q&A: How to Use the Q&A Feature on Google Business Profile

Google Q&A: How to Use the Q&A Feature on Google Business Profile

Published: May 25th, 2021

Last Updated: January 25th, 2024

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) has many features. To put their best foot forward, businesses need to stay on top of the various sections. An important—and sometimes overlooked—section is the questions and answers (Q&A) feature. Here’s what you need to know about it. 

What is Google Business Profile Q&A?

Q&A is a feature within Google Maps that allows user-generated questions about the business to be asked and answered publicly. 

This is what Google tells us about the Q&A function:

“In Google Maps, you can ask and answer questions about the places and businesses you find. Business owners and others can respond to these Q&As directly. You can ask or answer questions from search on any device, and from Google Maps.”

Google Maps Help

What does it look like?

Q&As can be shown in a business’s Google Business Profile on both Google Maps and in the local Knowledge Panel:

GBP Q&A in the local Knowledge Panel
An example from the local Knowledge Panel on a mobile device.

For the question to show natively in the local Knowledge Panel, you must have more than two questions. One of the questions (ideally, the one you’d like to show natively) needs more than three upvotes.

When does the Q&A panel appear?

Even if there aren’t any questions that have been asked, you’ll see the Q&A panel on local Knowledge Panels:

GBP be the first to ask a question
Google prompts the user to ‘be the first user to ask a question’.

Who can ask questions?

As a business, you can wait until someone asks you a questionor you can go ahead and ask and answer your own questions.

This is a great way to offer more information about your business to searchers via your local Knowledge Panel.

If you’re going to ask your own questions, take the time to think about your business’s frequently asked questions (FAQs). By asking (and answering) them here, you’ll save time for both your potential customers and your own customer service team. Ideally, you’ll also be illustrating the factors that would encourage a potential customer to choose your product or service over a competitor.

What happens when a user asks a question?

Once they (or you!) have clicked ‘ask a question’ Google prompts them to jot their question down in a box. As they type, Google will parse the existing reviews and questions to see if an answer can be found.

GBP Q&A Suggested Answers

If their question isn’t answered in the ‘suggested answers’ section, they can go ahead and click ‘post’.

GBP Your question was posted to the community

Once your question is posted, Google shows a message to say that they’ll let you know when your question is answered by the business or by another user.

How does a business know when a question has been asked?

If a business is managing its Q&A natively inside the in-search editing experience, it’ll need to make sure that they have turned email notifications for questions and answers on:

GBP Q&A Notifications

Once this has been toggled to ‘on’, businesses should get an email to let them know that a question has been asked.

GBP A customer asked a question about your business notification

The exception to this is if you manage more than 100 locations in your account, at which point Google will no longer send notifications to your account.

If you manage more than 100 locations, you’ll likely be using a third-party tool that taps into the Google Business Profile API—be sure to ask your provider for the best way to manage Google Q&A at scale.

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Who can answer questions?

What businesses need to keep in mind is that anyone—any Maps user—can reply to a question that has been asked about your business. 

Take, for example, this answer to a question asked about the London Eye:

GBP Q&A user-generated answer

Businesses need to keep in mind that they need to be proactive in managing their Q&A; the above example might have made you chuckle, but unanswered and unmanaged Q&A can be a reputation management nightmare or, at the very least, reflect badly upon the business.

GBP Q&A Bad Example

If you are signed into an account that is the manager of the Google Business Profile when you post your answer, it won’t show as coming from your personal account. Instead, it will show as being answered by the business name, with ‘owner’ in brackets:

GBP Q&A Owner Answer

If you need to edit an answer that the business posted retrospectively, then only the person who originally posted that answer can edit it. So, if you have multiple managers of the listing managing Q&A, sign off the answer with a name so that you know who answered it.

GBP Q&A Manager Signature

How can I reply?

Once you know a question has been asked, you can reply. There are a few ways you can do this. 

You can reply directly from the email Google sent to you by clicking on the ‘answer now’ button. This is probably the easiest way, as you’ll be taken directly to that question.

GBP Q&A Answer Now

Alternatively, you can find Q&A in the in-search editing experience:

Q&A in the in-search editing experience

The newest question will not show at the top; you’ll likely need to scroll to the bottom to find new questions, especially if you are answering them immediately and they haven’t garnered any ‘likes’.

Can I get a question (or answer) removed?

Like most Google Business profile features, there are guidelines as to what content Google considers acceptable. Google details these policies for Q&A content in full—but these are the content policy headlines:

  • Advertising
  • Spam
  • Phone numbers or email addresses
  • Off topic Q&A
  • Keep it clean
  • Conflict of interest
  • Illegal content
  • Copyrighted content
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Impersonation
  • Personal and confidential information
  • Hate speech
  • Regulated goods and services

If you feel that any questions or answers violate one of these policies, you can report the question or the answer.

GBP Q&A Report Question

What else should a business keep in mind when answering questions?

A business should remember that asking and answering questions is not a one-and-done process. Businesses need to make sure that they are regularly replying to any new questions.

Businesses also need to keep in mind that their answers to previous questions can easily become ‘dated.’ For example, if prices or services have changed since you answered the question, then those answers are now dated. Try and keep your answers evergreen, so that the answer can apply year round.

You’ll need to revisit your old answers on a semi-regular basis—for example, when prices change.

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Why should businesses care about this feature?

Google’s Q&A section can take up a considerable amount of space in the local Knowledge Panel and in Google Maps. Because of this, they can earn a good number of eyeballs from people who are looking to learn more about your business and the products and/or services that you offer.

This can either work for or against the business; if the business embraces this opportunity, it can use this space to illustrate popular questions and answers that will allow it to showcase its unique selling points.  

However, if the business fails to embrace this opportunity, the Q&A section could end up full of unanswered questions (a high percentage of which will be customer leads) or, worse still, questions answered inappropriately by random maps users. So, businesses should take care to see that their Q&A section is carefully looked after to keep putting their best foot forward in front of searchers. 

Claire Carlile
About the contributors
Claire Carlile is BrightLocal's Local Search Expert and a Google Business Profile Silver Product Expert. Her work at Claire Carlile Marketing, where she helps businesses of all sizes make the most of the local search opportunity, allows her to provide real-world skills and expertise to what BrightLocal does.
Levi Williams-Clucas
Levi Williams-Clucas is an SEO Specialist at marketing agency StrategiQ. Her main passion is Local, but she also regularly dabbles in technical SEO and content writing. You can find her on Twitter at @Femkepants or on Linkedin.