Google Fully Rolls Out Q & A Auto-Suggest Answers

In April, Google rolled out a cool Business Profile (aka Knowledge Panel) feature that auto-suggested answers to new Google Q & A questions. Over the past week they have rolled out the feature to desktop browsers as well.

The feature has changed though and now exclusively uses Google reviews to suggest answers to new questions and no longer includes existing Google Q & A answers for that task.

Machine Learning Delivers Answers Using Existing Reviews

Like previously, as a user starts entering the text of a question, Google, using natural language processing and sentiment analysis, starts surfacing reviews that match known nouns and verbs as the is question typed.

As Google proceeds suggesting reviews as answer, they also highlight sentences that relate to the words in the question. Google appears to be agnostic as to whether they will show positive or negative reviews and will pick the review with the closest content regardless of sentiment.

The example below is for Octo Fishbar, a seafood restaurant, showing that by asking “How fresh is the fish?” it returns related reviews talking about just that.

Like on mobile, the feature allows searchers to upvote whether a suggested answer was helpful. Interestingly, when first released earlier in the week this input was missing.

Your Customers Are In Full Control

With removing the use of Google Q & A for answers as well as reviews, Google has unfortunately reduced a businesses ability to interact with these queries. That’s a big change.

But as before, it speaks to why you need a steady stream of reviews that speak to a range of the experiences and products you provide. It also highlights a consistent flow of reviews as a consumer seeing an answer (review) from 3 years ago to their question will place lower trust in that being accurate.

And, like has been evident over the past several years with increasing visibility of your reputation on Google, it is incumbent upon you to continue to improve your business and earn reviews from being great.

About The Author

Mike Blumenthal is a co-founder of GatherUp and helps oversee our research, industry insight and agency offering. Mike has long been regarded as the foremost expert on local search and Google Maps, earning the nickname “Professor Maps”. Mike also co-founded Local University, which provides small business and agency training in sustainable local search marketing. His motto: All Local All the Time.  He writes at his blog and does a twice a week LocalU podcast about Local marketing. 

4 Replies to “Google Fully Rolls Out Q & A Auto-Suggest Answers”

  1. Hey, Mike…

    What do you mean by “With removing the use of Google Q & A for answers as well as reviews, Google has unfortunately reduced a businesses ability to interact with these queries. That’s a big change.”

    I can still ask and answer GMB Q&A for my client’s GMB profiles and can still pre-populate their profiles with Q&A, so can you clarify what you mean by this?

    Thanks!

    Sherry

    1. In the first rollout of this feature, they answered budding questions with answers from previous Q & A questions… in this iteration that is no longer the case.

      You can still ask and answer client Q & A but with the way it was on the first rollout on mobile, actually encouraged a business to ask and answer more questions as they would then receive broader exposure.

      Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

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