Google announced limited functionality of Google My Business profiles because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much uncertainty surrounding business and the economy, it’s an unprecedented situation that is hard to prepare for.
Google has placed an increased focus on the quality and reliability of information on Search and Maps, while acknowledging some limited response time because of a smaller operations team during this pandemic response. They say, “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.”
What works on GMB?
For now, Google has disabled local reviews functionality for both business owners and customers. In other words, “new reviews, review replies, and new Q&A” capabilities are currently shut down.
But Google hasn’t shut down all capabilities of its platform. A business can edit information about the company. Google will also prioritize health-related businesses and ensuring current data gets displayed for those in need at this time.
For all other businesses, Google says it will prioritize their internal review process for “open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions, and business attributes edtis for other verified businesses.” In other words, if your business location adjusts hours of operation or changes up service items, those changes will be quickly reviewed and published by Google staff.
Essentially all this means Google is doing its best to help businesses that may be struggling right now because of the uncertain economy. Negative reviews that come in during this time from customers who didn’t know about restricted business hours or other changes could seriously damage a business. Yelp is also taking similar steps.
Even though Google will not accept any new reviews at this time, you can still view all reviews currently posted to a Google My Business Profile. As a business, you can still post articles, content, and update your profile if needed. However, you will likely see a delay before changes a approved and posted. Read here to learn more about optimizing your profile.
All the features should return once the market stabilizes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
We live in a weird and uncertain time. We literally watched the world around us change in a matter of weeks. Many of us struggle to cope with the uncertainty of when life will go back to a version of normal that we’re comfortable with. But know that the market has weathered similar threats in the past, and we’ll all get through this together.