Does the Content in Google Q&A Impact Ranking?
This is a question that we get asked from time to time. “Does having keyword-rich questions & answers on your Google My Business listing help ranking?” We often see the Q&A feature utilized on listings with high rankings. For example, this lawyer ranks well for divorce keywords. He has 5 Q&A’s on his listing and the featured one in his Knowledge Panel has the word “divorce” in it. Could this be cause and effect? Or, is it simply the fact that high ranking listings are typically the ones “doing things right” and he’s ranking well because he has engaged in other Local SEO tactics? Since the content in some areas of Google My Business is known to impact ranking (eg. reviews), we decided to test whether or not the content in the Q&A section of GMB has the same effect.
What We Did
For this test, we chose a listing for a paralegal located just outside of Toronto. The listing didn’t have a website attached to it and no other changes were made to the listing during the duration of the test.
We added two different questions and answers targeting two different keywords – “paralegal Milton” and “landlord and tenant paralegal”.
The first question was “Do you offer paralegal services in Milton” asked and answered by the business.
The second question was “what is your firm’s main area of expertise” asked by a Local Guide and answered (with keywords) by the business.
We monitored the Maps rankings using Bright Local’s tracker chart over the next few months and got the same results for both keywords. Adding keywords to the Q&A section of GMB did not have any impact on ranking. You can see on the tracker charts below that there was no increase in ranking after we added the keywords.
Google Q&A Still Matters
We tested this on several other businesses and found the same result. Even though the Q&A section of the Knowledge Panel doesn’t impact ranking, it’s still a valuable section that should be optimized. As with most areas inside GMB, it’s a great conversion point. It’s a place for the business and users to engage with each other and for the business to showcase why they’re better than the competition.
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So what would you say does actually work? You all put out a lot of great research on what DOESN’T work… do you have any definitive research / tests that you’ve ran on what DOES work?
A lot of the recent articles we’ve been publishing are taken from my 2 presentations at LocalU called “What Really Affects Local Pack Rankings” (rounds 1 and 2). They comprised of 21 different tests we did on various things, mostly related to GMB. Over half the tests ended up having no impact on ranking. We still have another 15 or so articles scheduled to publish. The one scheduled for next week is one that had a positive impact on ranking. Here is another that was one of the 21 tests that ended up positive: https://www.sterlingsky.ca/99-problems-but-gmb-category-dilution-aint-one/
I tend to write about topics that I find are either misunderstood in the community or haven’t been written about a lot. As far as our top 3 strategies that we find moves the needles for clients I would say they’re finding & removing spam (https://www.sterlingsky.ca/ultimate-guide-fighting-spam-google-maps/), onsite optimization & link building. I haven’t written a ton on the last 2 because there is so much amazing content already in the SEO community about them and I’m not sure I’d have anything unique to add. That being said, I’m planning on doing a ton of case studies to present in 2021 on what backlink strategies we’re seeing the best results from. It’s just going to take a ton of time to gather all the data. Here is a really solid resource I came across yesterday that does an amazing job of explaining how internal links help ranking which is another thing we have a lot of success with but haven’t written about simply because there is already so much out there on the topic: https://www.polemicdigital.com/introduction-to-pagerank-for-seo/
Ok thank you guys for everything
Google is really a black box..