Important Changes to Google My Business due to COVID-19

Dec 7, 2020

Important Changes to Google My Business due to COVID-19

In late March 2020, Google made important changes to Google My Business features due to precautionary health measures and limited operations. Here we give you an update on the most recent covid changes on GMB.

RELATED: Google Advertising Credits for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

In this article:

  1. A Recap on GMB Changes Due to Covid 19
  2. Where Are We At With Covid Changes on GMB
  3. Limited Features
  4. LOCL Keeps You Posted 

Then and Now: An Update on Changes to Google My Business

A Recap on GMB Changes Due to Covid 19

Girl handing the take out order - A Recap on GMB Changes Due to Covid 19 | Important Changes to Google My Business due to COVID-19

Earlier this year, 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.”

These changes in Google My Business refer to posts, reviews, replies, Q&A, and editing business information. In these unprecedented times, Google has prioritized health-related information and features, among others.

Where Are We At With Covid Changes on GMB

The said limited operations on Google has resulted in the following changes in features of Google My Business:

New Reviews

Then: During the first quarter of 2020, no new reviews were published to Google My Business profiles. Users were still able to post and see their reviews at the said time; however, these reviews were not publicly visible.

Update: On May 27, 2020, Google lifted the restriction, and full functionality returned to normal.

Review Replies

Then: At the same time, new reviews were temporarily on hold, review replies had also been disabled. Since there are no or a few new reviews appearing, there was less need for businesses to respond. However, businesses were unable to respond to existing reviews on their profile.

Update: Alongside the return of Google review, replies also went back to normal

Q&A Section

Then: 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 appeared to have vanished.

Update: The Q&A feature is back on most Google My Business Profiles but may be limited or unavailable for some medical categories.

RELATED: Google Reviews and Replies are Back After Temporary Pause

Limited Features

Some Google My Business features are still available, although you may expect delays and longer time to make changes. The limited features include:

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.

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.

‘Takeout/delivery Available’ in Business Names

a man is using phone with the logo of google my business on the phone and the laptop on the table | ‘Takeout/delivery Available’ in Business Names | Important Changes to Google My Business due to COVID-19

Google is usually pretty strict when it comes to business names in GMB. Still, it appears to have loosened its guidelines by allowing restaurants to add ‘delivery available” or ‘takeout available’ to their business names. This feature allows businesses to cope with emerging consumer behavior brought about by social distancing.

LOCL Keeps You Posted

We here at Locl are keeping a close eye on the covid changes affecting Google My Business. Considering all of this, we’d like to assure you that we’re doing everything we can on the back end here to keep your customers up to date. We will continue to help with any updates that are happening out there in the Google sphere.

With the current changes in this messy marketing world, let us help you manage your ads and listings on Google. Locl uses Google My Business and Google Maps to help drive more customers into your door. 

Businesses can sign up for Locl for free with their Google My Business account, no credit card needed, and start using it right away. Click here to start. 

 

Up Next: