Google My Business has changed a lot in recent days, as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak and how the lockdown has affected businesses across the country. Last week, we published an article looking at how you can update your business information, but there have been a number of further changes to Google My Business since then.
In this article, we’re covering all of the key changes, plus the best ways to optimise your account and some common issues people are experiencing.
With the country in lockdown, the majority of businesses are closed for the time being. Google has responded by allowing you to mark your business as “temporarily closed” in GMB.
Here’s what you need to do:
If you’re doing this on desktop, the Close this business on Google section will appear in the right-hand column as you scroll down.
Alternatively, you can show users that your store is
temporarily closed by scrolling to the Add
special hours section and click on the edit (pencil) button.
On the next screen, you can click on Add new date and set your business hours as “closed” for specific days. This is designed for setting open hours for public holidays and instances where your normal operating hours don’t apply. However, you can use this during the Coronavirus outbreak to communicate that your regular opening hours have been affected.
The downside to this is you have to manually create a new
date for each day affected.
While Google is adding certain functionality to help businesses provide accurate information during the Coronavirus outbreak, it is also limiting some trusted features.
First of all, Google My Business will not be publishing any new reviews until further notice and review replies have also been suspended. This is partly due to the fact Google is working with a limited team, although the lockdown also means reviews have little value at this time.
Google has also suspended Q&As.
At the same time, Google’s support team will not be
reviewing new listings, claims or verifications for the time being – with the
exception of businesses related to healthcare and critical services.
With Google running on limited resources, it is also warning that changes to your business information will take additional time to review. Once again, businesses related to healthcare and critical services will be prioritised and, for businesses outside of these exceptions, Google will only review edits to the following pieces of information:
Google says it may take up to three days for these changes
to be reviewed.
Posts in Google My Business allow you to update potential
customers with relevant information, such as events, new products, offers and
announcements. In response to the current health crisis, Google has added a new
post type, COVID-19 update, for you
to get the message out to people in your area.
To create a new post, follow these steps:
You can specify any changes to your business and whether you’re still providing any services – e.g. orders for delivery. You can also add an optional CTA to your COVID-19 update, encouraging people to click through to your website for more information or to order online, for example.
Every business is being affected by the current outbreak and
this includes major companies like Google, which is unable to provide its usual
services in full. Despite its best efforts to equip businesses with the tools
they need during this difficult time, we are hearing reports of a number of
issues related to Google My Business functionality.
Unfortunately, Google My Business is no longer providing phone or chat support as a result of the outbreak, so you’ll have to rely on email support if you experience any of these (or other issues).
A lot has changed over the past week and there could be
further developments in the weeks and months ahead – we’ll be sure to keep you
For more information on optimising your Google My Business
account, you can take a look at our other posts:
If you need more advice on how to deal with any changes to Google My Business, you can speak to our local SEO experts by calling 02392 830 281 and you can always reach out to us on social media with any questions.
Dave is Head of Enterprise SEO at Vertical Leap.
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