iPhone and Android users alike can now view Google Local’s Q&A on their mobile browsers. Those aware that Q&A appeared in the Knowledge Panel in early August discovered that it was only available via Google Maps for Android.
Now, Apple aficionados can view it on their mobile devices using Chrome or Safari. Plus, Q&A can now be edited by more than just business owners. This has provoked a lot of discussion about the impact it will have on local businesses.
Canadian SEO expert Sergey Alakov has been tracking this local expansion of Google Questions & Answers since late July. He noted that Google was testing the feature approximately two weeks before it appeared in Android Maps.
The question now is when it will be coming to Google Maps or the Google app for iOS. Forecasters say it won’t be long before it’s available there, as well as for desktop.
What does this mean for local listings? Essentially, they’re aiming to go much more public. Users can post questions about businesses, and anyone – not just the business owner – can answer. People can then vote on answers given with a thumb up or down.
Q&A can basically function as a FAQ for a businesses’ local listings. It can also open a listing up to getting spammed, and businesses will now be tasked with monitoring all posts and reviews.
Either way, users are glad to have received a heads up about this development. Many are already strategizing on how to best stay ahead of the potential issues.
For example, businesses can quickly add their own questions and answers to their listing. This can minimize the chance of having other parties post irrelevant, damaging, or false information on their listings.
Some businesses are also brushing up on practices necessary to have undesirable content removed in anticipation of more public interaction.