Google My Business Continues to Help Countless Businesses
2020 has been a stressful year for virtually every business around the world. COVID-19 has plagued millions of people across the planet. Stay-at-home orders have forced many businesses to temporarily close their doors or limit the services they can provide. According to the EY Future Consumer Index, consumers feel uncertain about their incomes and have been spending less. The results even suggest that these trends will continue after COVID-19. Even with many states across the country reopening, businesses continue to take hits. They could use all the help they can get. Fortunately, Google My Business continues to update their services to help these companies during this time and beyond.
Google My Business has always been a vital component to the success of many businesses across the world. While they initially had a response early into the pandemic, they have continued to update their platform to give businesses an opportunity to succeed. The pandemic continues to impact businesses across the country, especially brick-and-mortar stores. Temporary closures, re-openings, and more will give them a rollercoaster of emotions.
To counteract these effects and keep businesses healthy, Google has launched several features with the purpose of helping businesses react to the ever-changing landscape they currently face. Companies can update their Google My Business profile with relevant information to keep their consumers in the loop. Tech Critic understands how vital Google My Business (GMB) is to the success of countless businesses around the country.
1.) Temporarily Closed
As we mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has caused many businesses to close their doors to keep their staff, customers, and community safe. Many of these closures are not permanent. Stores had to close their physical locations to slow the spread of the pandemic. To keep its customers informed about their response to COVID-19, Google introduced a feature that allows you to list your business as Temporarily Closed to distinguish that your closure is not permanent and is just temporary.
A red badge will pop up underneath your GMB name, alerting customers that your business has not shut its doors for good. From an SEO standpoint, this will not affect your local search ranking. Google will still treat your business as it would an open one. NOTE: If your business is operating at a reduced capacity or still offers services such as pickup and delivery, do not list it as Temporarily Closed.
2.) COVID-19 Updates
Another useful tool Google added to this platform is the COVID-19 update. Google has always allowed for businesses to post updates to their GMB. However, they have now included an option to post content about COVID-19 and how it relates to their business. These posts appear prominently on your GMB page. When you post these updates, they are explicitly labeled as a COVID-19 update. If you were to post a COVID-19 Update on a Monday and then a regular GMB Post on a Tuesday, the COVID-19 post would above the standard post. These posts will remain as long as the pandemic continues to plague the world. You can use these posts to update customers about how the coronavirus has impacted your services and operations, what your business is doing to be safe, and much more.
3.) COVID-19 Links/Telehealth
To prevent individuals from coming into healthcare clinics and emergency rooms unless they absolutely have to, Google included an update that allowed businesses to post information and links to online care options, such as telehealth, which many healthcare clinics have utilized, and to information regarding COVID-19. These links and information keep people from going out in public unless they need to, providing relief to some struggling clinics.
Additionally, many businesses have seen their level of income take a steep decline throughout the pandemic. Many might not make it out of it due to the lack of a steady stream of revenue. Google debuted a new feature where businesses can ask for financial support from their customers, either in the form of a gift card or donation. By going into the back end, users can create a post that includes a gift card or donation link along with a short message directed to their customers. Eligible businesses include those with a verified account as of March 1, 2020, and a physical storefront.
4.) Secondary Hours
Countless businesses have been reeling since COVID-19 forced them to alter their operations. Many closed their doors for a short period of time, while others had to change what services they offered. Many businesses offer different services, such as delivery and pickup, which may differ in hours than their traditional store hours. Others might have adjusted their hours in response to the pandemic to protect at-risk customers, such as grocery stores have done for seniors. Google included an update for Secondary Hours, which allows businesses to specify special hours of operation. Fortunately, this feature does not appear to be going away.
5.) New Attributes and Displays
As the pandemic continues, more and more people continue to stress the need for social distancing and limiting contact with others. Many businesses prioritize delivery and curbside pickup to reduce contact. To keep up with how companies have altered their services, Google added new attributes businesses can add to their GMB, such as curbside pickup and contactless delivery, which restaurants have relied on heavily. They highlight specific services and are prominently displayed on your knowledge panel. Google distinguishes these attributes with a checkmark. Make sure the attributes you choose are accurate to your business, as they are likely to stay.
6.) Service Ad Attributes
Businesses in service areas, such as plumbers and home maintenance businesses, have special requirements. Often, they must go into customers’ homes, which puts them and their customers in danger. They must be able to let their customers know that they will prioritize and protect their health while visiting their homes. Google added a local service ad attribute, which allows businesses to share this information with their customers. If you can utilize these new Local Services Ads, do so to let your customers know you will do what you can to keep them healthy and safe.
As COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives of millions, businesses must take advantage of every opportunity available to them. If not, they may never recover. Google continues to do what it can to help out in these stressful times. By providing new useful updates on Google My Business, businesses can accurately share vital information with their customers, letting them know how they have been affected, and how they are responding. Tech Critic encourages all businesses to capitalize on these updates Google continues to put out.