Google My Business

Google My Business Changes Due to COVID-19

By March 23, 2020 July 2nd, 2020 13 Comments
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Updated July 2, 2020

Things with Google My Business (GMB) are changing so quickly it is hard to keep up with what is going on so I wanted to create a list of things that are different than normal currently.

  1. There are reports of businesses being marked temporarily closed that did not request it.  The solution here would be to un-mark the listing as closed in the GMB dashboard but if it doesn’t publish right away, contact GMB support.
  2. Google has shut off the ability for businesses to receive new reviews.  This includes reviews left via Local Services ad listings.  If a user goes to leave a review, it appears to work as normal but the review doesn’t show up anywhere.  This started on Friday, March 20, 2020.  As of mid-April, Google started turning them back on for some industries & countries.  We’re seeing new reviews on retail, grocery & HVAC.  All reviews posted during the weeks while they were turned off have yet to appear anywhere but Google has stated that they plan on publishing them at some point.
  3. The Questions and Answers section was originally removed but has returned to some industries (restaurants, retail etc).
  4. Photos that are added by users to a business listing are not showing live.
  5. Review responses started publishing again as of April 7.
  6. Most edits made in the GMB dashboard are publishing now.  Originally, Google paused most edits: things outside of hours, attributes, and business descriptions.  We’re now starting to see most edits publish but it varies based on the Google account.
  7. GMB phone support and chat support no longer work.  The only way to contact GMB is to send an email.
  8. Google Posts have been temporarily permitted for chains.
  9. Google has added takeout & delivery attributes for several business types.  They also added takeout/delivery/temporarily closed labels to map pins.
  10. Google has added warning labels to the search results that hours & services may not be accurate due to COVID-19.  To get rid of them, add special hours.
  11. The temporarily closed label no longer impacts ranking.  Listings that have the label on them still rank in the 3-pack.
  12. Google adds link options for TeleHealth and COVID-19 information to the GMB dashboard.  We have yet to see these publish in the search results.
  13. Google adds “Get Online Care” links to show Telehealth options populated by the “Virtual Visit” link in GMB – Currently only on mobile results in US
  14. Google Q&A Starting to return in limited verticals & locations.
  15. Google moves COVID-19 Google Post position up the local knowledge panel on Desktop
  16. COVID-19 Testing Data for Google Business Profiles can now be submitted to a third party.
  17. COVID-19 Support/Gift Card buttons showing prominently on listings in Google Maps App

Anything else you’re noticing that is different than normal?  Tell us in the comments or discuss with us here at the Local Search Forum.

For those that subscribe to our training, I have also added a list there and will be keeping it updated.

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13 Comments

  • as soon as the Swiss government announced the restrictions, which impacted our business strongly, we have modified the “special hours” until the date given by the government. at the same time we published a post that we cannot have any personal contact anymore and that we will focus on our digital consulting. art valuation first via pictures is only superficial, but gives at least a benchmark for the client and is the first step.
    still evaluating if this post and immediate changes were noticed, but currently there are other factors to worry than these statistics. so we might come back to this post.

  • Ann Schmitter says:

    Just had my first post rejected by GMB. I have posted same one in the past, but thinking it’s due to the type of business? It’s a mortgage firm…and during the Covid-19 crisis, not sure we should be advertising mortgages??? I have posted on 8 other pages, no issues.

  • Niraj Pandey says:

    My listings are closed please register

  • GMB should be penalised for doing biased work.
    My business is not live and Google makes other business of my category live of packaging company.

  • Riad says:

    We manage school websites; the schools themselves are shut for physical classes but students are getting their courses online at home at regular timings everyday and admins / teachers do visit the schools for very limited timings for check-up and general support / hygiene. We received the “listing shut down” 2 times for all schools and we re-opened them and we changed the timings to suit the timings of the teachers’ availability online, especially that the schools were more than happy to support by phone and voip new parents’ enquiries, and they didn’t want to miss out on new students for next academic year, thinking that “shut down means I cannot call”. Every other day we publish updates and link back to the ministry of education official page. Hope this helps.

  • I added a new business to get extra income in this heavy time. But after a week still not approved. Hope they can start approving as soon as possible.

  • Dan says:

    I run a portrait photography studio in San Francisco. We made a COVID-19 update post on my page to reflect that we wouldn’t be offering studio sessions, but are still “open” for customer service requests, future bookings, and other digital services.

    They took my #1 ranking for my main search term, and put me at dead last on the 3rd page…overnight. So weird. Any possible fix for this?

    • Carrie Hill says:

      Hi Dan,
      I’d post your issue over at the Local Search Forum – https://localusearchforum.com – its free, and a lot more eyes that can help will see it there. If you can/are comfortable – post more details on the troublesome keyword, your business name, and a few screenshots along with the timeline of the changes you made.

      Thanks,
      Carrie

  • Great article Joy, thank you!

  • Shoaib says:

    I’m finding that some edits that I’m making are reverting to old settings and irrelevant industries for one particular client… It keeps reverting to ‘handyman’ even though he is an ‘insulation contractor’. Have sent an email to GMB now as this is getting ridiculous.

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