The unprecedented COVID-19 situation across the globe has taken a toll on businesses of all kinds. As countries get into lockdown and maintain social distancing to control the spread of the virus, the effects have started to show even on Google! Therefore, a new set of guidelines has been introduced for how the Google My Business’ Support Team would work during these hard times.

Following are the changes announced:

Google has taken steps to ensure the health and safety of its team during COVID-19 by reducing the need of people in their office:

  • Temporary limitations on Google My Business.
  • Critical services will be prioritized and could lead to a delay in customer support.

Google is currently focused on providing quality, reliable and relevant information on Google Search and Maps. The company is dedicated to providing users the ease of access to communicate with businesses to know about vital features such as operating hours, special hours, and more. During such testing times, learn the best practices for affected business and what you can do to keep your customers updated at all times.

The temporary product changes made by Google are:

1. Business Information edits

High priority will be on reviews for edits critical to health-related businesses. Also, reviews will be prioritized for open & closed states, special hours, temporary closure, business description, and business attributes edits for other verified businesses.

2. New Listings, Claims and Verifications

All new listings, claims, and verifications will be manually reviewed by our support team for critical healthrelated businesses. Due to the priority given to such critical services, there will be a delay in publishing new
listings, claims and verifications on Google Search and Maps for other businesses.

3. Reviews and Q&A

New reviews, replies and Q&A will not be available during this time.

Note: You can now mark your business as “temporarily closed” – a new addition to their system that is being used widely all over the world. Google has also stated that moving your status to temporarily closed will not have any negative impact on your listing.

Our take:

The world is going through testing times right now, and Google has done a great job with their temporary changes as they restrict users from leaving negative reviews due to closure, cancellations, etc.

In fact, businesses can ask customers to leave reviews directly, making it easy to grow their in-house reviews that can later be marked up with Structured Data.

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