As you probably know, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, and gyms have been temporarily closed. Below we will talk about the Major Google My Business Updates during the Coronavirus!
Essential businesses that provide services and resources like grocery stores, convenient stores, banks, and supply shops remain open.
Fortunately, we’re still open here at Momentum, operating daily under normal hours.
As a result of the change in business closures, Google My Business has mandated accounts to update their current business information. I would personally consider these changes to be Major Google My Business Updates during the Coronavirus.
When you log into your Google My Business account, you will find that it is currently facing limited functionality due to a lack of resources as a result of COVID. The limited functionality is causing delays and affecting specific account features & listings such as:
- Your Business Hours of Operation
- Your Business Reviews
- GMB Question & Messaging
Continue reading below, or view the video above, to further find out about the Google My Business changes. You can also refer to this article by Business 2 Community talking about these GMB updates in detail.
Here are some of the updates to GMB due to the Coronavirus and How to Implement them!
Once you log into GMB, under the “Info” tab, you can update the current availability of your business. This includes your new business hours, as well as whether your business is temporarily closed or not.
To edit your business hours, scroll down to your listed hours and select the pencil icon located to the right of it.
Likewise, you can add new hours by scrolling down to “Add special hours” and selecting the pencil icon to the right of it.
To mark your business as temporarily closed, you must select the “Info” tab from the top-left menu. Then, scroll down to “Close this business on Google”. There will be three listed options. Finally, select the option “mark as temporarily closed.”
Other account updates such as your business address, type, phone number, etc., can still be revised and updated, but the changes will take a longer time to publish. Since Google My Business is facing limited functionality and resources, changes to your account information may take a few days or weeks to publish.
Next, the Question & Messaging feature, which has allowed customers to directly message you with questions about your business, has apparently been shut down. I also run a few retail electronics shops, and my messaging from customers has been drastically reduced, but still available. The Q&A feature hasn’t been enabled for months though. I think GMB stopped allowing this feature from it’s BETA program for certain businesses.
So, yes, we’re still receiving messages from customers on our end, but we are not getting questions anymore (it’s been this way for a few months). This could possibly be because we’re an essential business, but the reason isn’t entirely clear to us.
Like the Question & Messaging feature, business reviews have been suspended. While you can still ask for reviews from your customers, Google will not be publishing any new reviews at this time. Please be patient on this, as the reviews you received might still post, and might even give you options to review them before they are confirmed. Time will tell.
Following these changes and delays, Google has added a new feature which allows you to post a business update specifically regarding COVID-19.
To do this, navigate to “Create post”. You will find the option to write a “COVID-19 Update”.
You can let your customers know what services you’re specifically providing during this time, or what services you’re limiting or restricting.
This post will show up under your Google My Business listing!
This is just a quick list recap of the Major Google My Business Updates during the Coronavirus.
- Hours of Operation
- Business Information Updates
- Questions & Messaging
- COVID Update Post
- Other Issues & Delays
Finally, with many things at a stand-still, we truly recommend that you prioritize your business local SEO. Enhance your internet marketing strategies, build your business SEO, really work your business on the backend, so when everything gets back to normal you’re still prospering.
Google has also offered over $340 million in Google Ads to all small businesses in response to the pandemic. Take advantage of it and start promoting your business with Google Ads.
Thanks, and Happy Monday!
- Mac Frederick (Founder & CEO of Momentum Digital)