We’ve had a crazy few months and we know that it’s not going to end just yet. COVID-19 has really changed the way we live and work now — and honestly, many of the things we are getting used to now may be a lasting presence in our lives.
Google is one of those companies that have gone above and beyond with their tools and features to make sure that businesses that have adapted to the ‘new normal’ have the means to maintain the accuracy of their information on their Google My Business listing.
SEO services and digital agencies are rushing to make their local SEO strategies fit these new changes to help their clients rank higher on search results. Social Fox is no different – we live for this stuff and we want to see you succeed online.
You may have heard of these updates already but we’re here to remind you that these are highly important features that your business can and should take advantage of, even beyond COVID-19 (we are certain that there is a COVID-less world soon).
Check out these latest updates for your Google My Business listing you need to use now.
1. ‘Temporarily Closed’ Status
Your store might be feeling the effects of COVID that you need to take a break and close the store for a few weeks. You know you’re going to reopen soon and this could be the time for you to reassess how you do business and interact with your customers. It’s definitely a big blow to your finances but you know it’s for the best.
Google has made it easier for you – and your customers – to tell the difference between a permanently closed business and a temporarily closed one. If you’re taking a break but will reopen soon, follow these steps to switch to ‘Temporarily Closed’:
- Log in to your Google My Business dashboard.
- On the left panel, click Info.
- On the right-most column of your dashboard, click ‘Mark as temporarily closed’. You can check your listing when you search for it to see if it’s been implemented.
It looks like this feature won’t be going away soon. And we’re happy about it. There are several more applications where the ‘Temporarily closed’ update can be used.
Let’s say you’re a florist and you’re closed during the cold season. Even if it’s not due to the pandemic, you can mark your business as temporarily closed for the winter season and mark it as open once spring has arrived. This signals to your customers that you will not be taking any orders for a few months and will reopen as soon as the weather warms up a bit – instead of giving the wrong message to your customers that you have closed up shop for good.
2. COVID-19 Post Update
Google Posts are an underrated but necessary feature in Google My Business. By using GMB posts, you let your customers know of any updates, offers, new products and events that entice them to visit your store.
It’s going to be a mainstay feature as long as COVID-19 is here, so best to use it while it’s there. You can also announce to your customers updates like requests for support, special services like take away or contactless delivery and new hours of operation.
It’s much more important now during the time of COVID as it was before. If you have a COVID-19 update that you’d like to share with your customers, you can use that option on your dashboard. You can use this post type to announce how COVID-19 is affecting your business and what steps you’re taking to avoid contraction of the virus in your store – whether you’re temporarily closing, setting stricter sanitisation measures or limiting customers from entering the store.
Once you hit ‘Publish,’ you can check your GMB listing on the knowledge panel and see if a note ‘COVID-updates from [your business]’ has appeared underneath your business information.
3. New Attributes
Restaurants, in particular, have been dealt with a bad hand in this pandemic and while many had to close indefinitely, others needed to adapt and use other forms of bringing food to their customers. If you’re reaching your customers using Google My Business, they can now check if you’re open for delivery or take away.
It’s very important that you use them because it makes your business information even more accurate so that when someone phones in to order a meal, they know they can just pick it up from your restaurant or have it delivered.
It also looks like these additional attributes won’t be going away anytime soon and could even be available to other industries.
4. Additional Hours
Grocery stores across cities and countries now have special times for seniors who need to do their own shopping. In order to avoid the peak rush hours with the rest of the local communities, these stores have secondary hours for their elders who could be more susceptible to COVID-19.
And as always, Google has a solution to help.
On Google My Business, you can put in additional hours should you have a group with special requirements – like elders. And while this is not applicable for some industries, many retailers have been screaming for an update like this even before COVID-19 hit. This is definitely a permanent feature and worth using if you have additional/special hours for your business.
5. Profile Edits on Search & Maps
Signing in to your Google My Business dashboard may take time from you. Luckily, Google has made it easier for you to edit your listing right on Search and Maps.
This very recent update is a boon for GMB owners and managers. According to the search engine, owners can now easily “create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information” directly from their GMB knowledge panel – as long as you are signed in on your GMB account.
6. ‘Last Updated’
Google wants consumers to know that your business information on your listing is updated and correct. Their latest feature is the ‘Last Updated’ note. It appears underneath any element on your GMB listing that you’ve recently changed.
While this may be temporary, it’s a good way to let your customers know that you’re keeping tabs on your business info and making sure they’re accurate across the internet.
Social Fox welcomes these latest updates for Google My Business and we have implemented them in our own GMB listing as well as our clients’. We’re the search engine optimisation experts in Melbourne that serve the rest of Australia and always take note of any changes Google has made so that your business remains high on local search results. Let us know how we can help your business with our SEO services or by contacting us on our website.