With the invasion of COVID-19, businesses across the globe are having hard times with many being forced to stop the normal workflow to prevent the rapid spreading of COVID-19 and affect more people. It is our responsibility towards our customers to keep them updated about all developments that may affect the local SEO for the recent changes Google made. On March 20th Google has announced that it is suspending and restricting some features in Google My Business.
There are many significant features which are suspended by Google due to COVID-19 for the safety of its employee and eliminating the need for coming to the office. Here are the features which will be temporarily blocked by Google:
New Reviews: During this period, new reviews will be restricted to be published to Google My Business. The owners can see their own reviews but those will not be ‘public’ in this time. Review Replies: This option is also disabled for this time being. With no new reviews appearing it will not be possible for the businesses to reply back. Question and Answers: The crucial part, the Q&A section will completely be removed in this time. Not only new ones but also the existing ones wouldn’t be visible now.Restricted Features
Apart from these above-mentioned features which will be completely closed in these days, here are some features that you can use but in a restricted way: Add, claim and verify: The functionality is not removed but the review process of Google listing will be prioritized for the healthcare sectors. If the business is not related to healthcare, the process can be deferred for them. Editing Business Info: Apart from health-related businesses, other businesses will face delay in listing edits as well including special hours, open and closed states, temporary closures, business attributes and descriptions.Some More for Your Information
The SEO will notice some changes in this time though these are not officially announced by Google: -Google posts are available but SEOs are getting rejected in a high number -There is a buzz that the user-generated contents are also suspended for the time being -Despite being strict about the business names in GMB, Google has allowed the restaurants to include ‘available delivery’ with their business name because of this current situation. -There is a button that says ‘temporarily closed’ in the Google My Business dashboard.The Reason behind Google Doing this
Being one of the most famous companies in the globe, Google is practising social distancing properly and in doing so, it was important for it to restrict their employees to come to the office and perform their respective jobs. Here are two key reasons behind Google’s decision: -To allow the healthcare businesses to keep the customer updated about every critical information -To restrict the burden on businesses which are inundated with the queries associated with COVID-19. All these are temporary decisions based on the emergency situation the world is going through. We will overcome it soon. Stay alert, stay positive.