Google My Business Features Taking a Timeout in Response to COVID-19
On March 20, Google notified the public that it would be disabling or limiting multiple Google My Business (GMB) features. Google made this decision so that it can put the health and wellbeing of its employees first.
Many team members will not be required to come into the office. As a result, Google has had to make necessary adjustments, limiting and delaying support in numerous services to accommodate the reduction in its staff.
What GMB services have been cut during COVID-19?
Users will be able to post and see reviews, but new reviews will not be visible on an organization’s GMB profile. Google stated that new reviews will be published when the normal day-to-day operations resume. Asking for reviews may still be helpful, as they’ll eventually be published at a later date.
Since companies will no longer be receiving new reviews, Google has paused business owners’ ability to reply to reviews. Further, organizations will not be allowed to respond to existing reviews as well. If you’re looking to connect with a business, it is best to reach out via their website, phone line or social media accounts.
Although current reviews will remain on a business’s GMB profile, all Q&As have been removed. Moreover, users cannot post new questions to your store’s page.
What GMB attributes have been limited?
Creating, claiming and verifying listings
Companies that are not considered health-related businesses should be aware that they may wait for longer periods when adding and claiming listings, as well as obtaining verifications for those listings. Google is giving priority to organizations that are imperative for a person’s health and wellbeing.
Modifying business information
Businesses in non-essential fields may experience delays when editing information in their profiles. Items such as special hours, closures, and other important information are still being updated to GMB profiles. New information such as photos or edits may be temporarily delayed, but updated information will still be accessible to the business owner on the business’s profile page.
Google may now mark businesses and organizations as temporarily closed on Google Maps. This may happen to certain businesses and organization such as schools, gyms, and stores. Google may do this automatically based on information from authoritative sources, such as government organizations. Business owners have the ability to manually update their temporarily closed status in real time on their GMB account.
Although the changes discussed were those announced by Google, numerous businesses have revealed that they are facing difficulty regarding GMB posts. Organizations will publish GMB posts to increase their SEO efforts, but many posts are being increasingly rejected. Posts that seem to abide by all content and photo guidelines are being removed and are not appearing when updated in the backend.
When will Google’s features be available again?
There is no estimate of how long these GMB features will be disabled or limited. With the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus, Google may make further changes. We will monitor Google’s actions regarding its services and update you with any information that is crucial for you to know as a business owner.
What can you do?
We understand that you may feel that these changes to your GMB profile could harm your business. However, instead of focusing on the negative impacts, you should use this period as a chance to enhance your presence on other digital platforms that influence a customer’s likelihood to convert.
- Focus on building out content on webpages that normally see high traffic
- Take the time to work on that guide or book you’ve been meaning to write
- Keep in touch with your audience and build your personality online. Share news and engage – do not retract.
- Ask customers or clients to leave reviews so that they will be posted once Google is back to normal hours and staffing