In December 2021, Google rolled out the ability for healthcare businesses to set and manage COVID-19 testing attributes directly. Prior to this update, there were 2 primary methods to add COVID-19 testing information to your Google Business Profile. Initially, Google began sourcing this data from a number of healthcare organizations and government agencies so businesses would have to ensure their testing attributes were updated with those companies in order to be eligible to display on search and maps. Additionally, Google provided businesses with access to a 3rd party tool, Castlight Health, where they could manually add individual locations that were offering COVID-19 testing, or provide a spreadsheet to be loaded for multiple locations.
Typically Google only rolls out new functionality to users that they plan to keep within the platform for an extended period of time. This is likely why there was a delay in granting users the ability to manage these features directly as there was no understanding about how long these attributes would be required.
What are the COVID-19 testing attributes?
Businesses within the healthcare segment, everything from Hospitals and doctors to pharmacies and chiropractors, can set the following attributes to identify COVID-19 testing options:
- Is your location a COVID-19 Testing Location?
- Are there patient restrictions for COVID-19 testing?
- Is an appointment required for COVID-19 testing?
- Do you offer drive-through COVID-19 testing?
- Is a referral required for COVID-19 testing?
In order to display any of these attributes, you would have to first identify if the location is or is not a COVID-19 testing location. If that response is no, the other attributes will not be applied. This is a global rollout so all healthcare businesses should qualify for the attributes, regardless of location.
How do the COVID-19 Testing attributes appear to users?
The COVID-19 testing attributes display in the section above your address on both maps and search. Initially, you will see a collapsed section that shows if your location is a COVID-19 testing location. Upon expansion, you will see the additional information.
Display on Google Search:
Display on Google Maps:
How can you add the COVID-19 testing attributes to your Google Business profile?
These can now be set directly inside of the Google My Business dashboard. Currently these appear under the Highlights, Offerings, and Planning sections. It is not immediately clear that the new attributes are related to COVID-19 testing such as Appointment Required and Drive Through which may prove confusing to users.
Is there anything missing from the new COVID-19 Testing attributes?
In the original process of submitting COVID-19 testing information via Castlight, businesses had the ability to include a URL as well as free text for more information. You can see in this example, there is additional detail as well as a link to the location’s specific COVID-19 Testing information. This is not currently available to manage directly and there is no indication whether or not this will be added.
Additionally, Google is sourcing and displaying COVID-19 vaccination data on profiles but this is not one of the newly released attributes.
Similarly to testing locations, Google is sourcing this information and displaying it on profiles. This could also change in the future but there is no official update from Google on this.