It’s not to mention but Coronavirus has impacted the small and medium businesses badly.
The local and niche businesses are dependent on services, such as Google My Business, Google Ads, etc.
Google announced that they are disabling and limiting some of the functionalities due to COVID-19.
What functionalities have been removed from GMB during COVID-19?
1) Google Reviews:
If you are posting any new review on Google, it won’t go public.
Though you are free to leave the review but still not sure if the review will be visible once the restriction removed.
2) Google Reviews Response:
Since there are no new reviews, it’s less likely that people will be responding to the reviews. So during this restriction, Google Review Responses have also been disabled.
3) Question and Answer:
More surprisingly Google has completely removed ‘Q&A’ section from the profile.
You won’t be able to see even the existing Q&A.
They have still kept the option for ‘Know this place? Answer quick questions’.
This means you can still respond to the automated questions.
What functionalities have been limited from GMB during COVID-19?
There are few services which are not closed but limited.
1) New Google Listing (Adding/Claiming):
Google is also facing a shortage of staff and that why they prioritizing the listing verification for essential services such as health related businesses.
Other services may realize a delay in the verification process.
2) Updating business information:
The business that aren’t health related is facing delay in updating business information in Google my business account.
- Business name
- Service area
- Opening hours
- Telephone Number
Google is also showing an option for marking a business temporarily/permanently closed.
Though I would not recommend doing it. You may see the fall of the ranking and traffic.
At the same time, Yelp has also announced the same for their business listing.
On a question on Temporary Closure, Google answered:
“We rely on authorities to tell us when there are closures in their region. We use data from many types of authoritative data sources, which include national, state/provincial and local governments, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and businesses.”
So Google may mark your business as temporarily closed based on the directions they get from the Government.
Here are the steps to follow, so that your customers can have the updated information on your Google business listing:
1) Update your business hours:
Since most of the businesses are operating from home or having a random schedule, we should update the same on Google My Business listing.
For example, if I have a local business (Hair salon in London) which is not operating due to coronavirus and I haven’t marked it as ‘Temporarily Closed’, this may mislead people and they may try to visit.
So it’s important that you should use the given feature the way TONI&GUY Shoreditch did.
2) Create a post:
Create a relevant post about the impact of the coronavirus on your business. Also, share the regular updates for any progress.
3) Connect with your customers:
By switching on the messaging feature on Google My Business app you can connect to your customers and answer their queries.
Hope this article was helpful. Please leave a comment if you have questions or suggestions.
Stay Home Stay Safe