For businesses affected by COVID-19, Google is rolling out updates to Google My Business quickly as current events rapidly evolve. Clear communication with your customers has never been more important than in a time like right now. Google My Business is invaluable when it comes to business-to-customer relations. Here are a few Google My Business announcements that have recently been made known by Google as of April 10, 2020.
If you are new to Google My Business, you can check out our guide to Google My Business here.
New Google My Business Updates [April 2020]
One of the latest updates for Google My Business is good news. For a period of time, the reviews and questions & answers features of GMB were disabled. Google has now confirmed that existing Reviews can now be responded to. However, new reviews, Questions, and photos cannot be submitted until further notice.
Google My Business Recommendations for COVID-19
If your business has been affected by COVID-19, and the guidelines put in place by the CDC or local government, here is what Google is suggesting:
- Update your hours of operation in the Info section. If your normal open hours have temporarily changed, such as if you close earlier, it will be displayed on your GMB listing.
- If your regular services are experiencing delays, update your description in the Info section or use the new COVID-19 Google Post in the Posts section.
- Notify customers of extra services you are providing at this time. For example, your restaurant may now offer curbside delivery. Update your description or add a new Post.
- In some cases it may be necessary to mark your business as temporarily closed. In the info section there is a new option to select Temporarily Closed”. It will appear on your business listing. Once your business has reopened, you can remove this setting. Read more about this option from Google.
Google assures that your organic search rankings will not be affected by marking your business as temporarily closed. If your restaurant cannot offer dine-in, but provides delivery and take-out, make sure that your GMB listing is not marked temporarily closed!
Use the New COVID-19 Google Post Feature
Google Posts are a great way to quickly share news updates through Google My Business. Go to the Posts section of your account and select the new COVID-19 post in the post options. This new type of Post will be tagged ahead of other Posts so that it can be easily seen. Use the COVID-19 Post to share changes in your hours of operation, services, and other important news updates, such as gift card availability to support your business. You also have a call-to-action button option at the bottom of the post, such as Call Now that will link to your business phone number or an Order Now button that can be linked to your website. Learn more about Google Posts here.
Use the Google My Business App for Messaging Customers
Another way to better communicate with your customers is to download the Google My Business app and set up Messaging. Messaging allows mobile customers to chat with you through your GMB listing. The messages are stored in the Messaging section of the app menu where you can respond in real time. Learn more about the Messaging feature here.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected local businesses of all kinds. The new Google My Business features for COVID-19 are intended to help lessen the challenge that small businesses are facing globally. We recommend that you frequently check your Google My Business account and watch for new updates in the near future.
We wish you good health and peace of mind.
Looking for other tips for using Google tools for your business? See this article for how to use Google Trends for your business.