Google My Business Changes Due to COVID-19
Joy Hawkins

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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Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.