Important Changes to Google My Business due to COVID-19
We here at Locl are keeping a close eye on the effects Covid-19 is having on Google. After all, Google My Business is our business and for you to continue to effectively operate your business, we want to make sure you’re aware and up to date on everything that’s happening out there in the Google sphere.
Last week, Google made the following announcement:
“During the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, we are taking steps to protect the health of our team members and reduce the need for people to come into our offices. As a result, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support as we prioritize critical services.”
The following features have been removed temporarily (per BrightLocal.com):
During this period no new reviews will be published to Google My Business profiles. Users will still be able to post and see their own reviews at this time, but they will not be publicly visible.
It is not yet known whether these reviews will be made visible once Google lifts the restrictions.
Review replies have also been disabled. With no new reviews appearing, there’s obviously less need for businesses to be able to respond right now. However, businesses will be unable to respond to existing reviews on their profile. This also applies to editing the content of existing review replies – if that’s even a thing!
In perhaps the most significant change, Q&As have been completely removed from profiles. This means all existing Q&As will not be visible and users will be unable to post new questions
In Google’s post about the change, they only made reference to ‘new Q&As’ but having checked a number of businesses, Q&As appear to have vanished.
What features are limited?
Adding, claiming and verifying listings
While no functionality is being removed, Google’s listing review process is being prioritized for health-related businesses. Businesses that aren’t health-related can expect delays when adding and claiming listings and receiving listing verifications.
Google has not yet stated the length of the delay.
Editing business information
Businesses that aren’t considered health-related can also expect delays to the listing edits, including:
- Open and closed states
- Special hours
- Temporary closures
- Business descriptions
- Business attributes
This covers edits made by both businesses and users.
It’s also been reported that some businesses are seeing a higher number of rejected Google Posts.
‘Takeout/delivery available’ in business names
Google is usually pretty strict when it comes to business names in GMB, but it appears to have loosened its guidelines by allowing restaurants to add ‘delivery available” or ‘takeout available’ to their business names.
LOCL IS HERE FOR YOU
Taking all of this into consideration, we’d like to assure you that we’re doing everything we can on the back end here at Locl to keep your customers up to date and will continue to help with any updates you need to the best of our abilities.
Be sure to check back later this week for our next post with more updates!