Google My Business Tips To Implement During COVID 19

Posted in Workforce Development | Last Updated May 7, 2020

Google My Business TIps for COVID 19 You Need To Implement Now

By now, we’ve all heard about Coronavirus. But have your customers, and potential customers heard from you? We want to bring you up to speed with some Google My Business tips you need to implement now.

Businesses of all types have done an excellent job adapting to social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

Not all of them are as savvy about Google My Business.

But it’s a fact that the universe searches on Google and while the middle of a pandemic isn’t the moment to begin an online digital business marketing campaign, you certainly never want to miss an opportunity to turn searchers into customers.

As for your existing customers, and your community, don’t overlook how important you are to them.

Your business is probably a valuable resource for both your customers and community, whether you are a big manufacturer or a local pizza parlor.

If you are a big manufacturer, you are employing your community and providing vital economic support.

If you are a pizza parlor, you are feeding those same employees.

According to Google, every year there are:

  • 5 billion searches on Google for restaurants
  • 3 billion searches for hotels
  • 1 billion searches for clothing stores

These are the people that want to hear from you.

What to do now

Throughout the Hudson Valley people are struggling with hardships presented by COVID 19; small and medium business owners are no different.

If your business is like most, and you’ve experienced a change, now is the time to notify the world about how you and your business are adjusting to COVID 19 changes.

By using Google My Business (GMB), a free product, you can notify your customers with a very easy-to-use online tool.

It is designed for businesses and organizations so they can manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

And now, Google My Business also offers an improved APP, which enables customers and searchers to message you.

Google my business is a free online channel you can use to talk to your customers and keep them updated

Talk to your customers and to your community.

Right now properly communicating with customers and the public regarding the most pressing business and community issues is paramount.

For instance, a big challenge for healthcare companies is communicating to patients.

Providers want patients to know they should call in to healthcare locations before coming in person, if, indeed, they should come in at all.

For grocery stores, many are offering guidelines and parameters about how to manage a grocery store visit during normal business hours especially for visitors who are immunocompromised or are elderly.

Restaurants are offering curbside pickup at a time when their front rooms are closed.

Better search results in the “new normal” for businesses

Managing effectively now means securing better search results when a “new normal” for business returns later.

We say “new normal” because, as of this moment, it is unlikely that any business hasn’t undergone changes in the way it conducts business.

These changes will guide a business going forward.

Anecdotally we know all kinds of businesses have turned to resources like ZOOM, delivery systems like Insta Cart and online services like Google My Business.

The key takeaway is, whether you are a restaurant, a grocer, or a healthcare provider, that you proactively communicate changes that affect your busines across customer-facing channels, especially one that is Google’s own product.

Communicate takeout or delivery changes effectively

In the last five years, “restaurants near me” consistently ranks as the most popular “near me” search.

Now consumer behavior has changed. The consumer is searching“delivery,” and search interest for “food delivery” related queries has spiked 100%.

Informing people of your alternate dine-out options helps customers and your employees remain safe during recommended social distancing periods. Solutions like Local campaigns can help you customize your communication to include only locations where you offer dine-out options.

Reassure strict restaurant safety and sanitation measures

Today, more than ever, when choosing where and what to eat, safety is paramount. In fact, search interest for “is food delivery safe” has increased 650% across the U.S. since the beginning of March. Reassuring customers that you understand the concerns for safety and are taking important steps to address the current situation is vital.

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Make these changes: 

For now, during COVID 19 shutdowns and social distancing, Google My Business will offer limited features within the platform and that includes limited functionality and limited responses to questions from GMB that you may have.

But that doesn’t prevent you as a business from reassuring your customers, supporting your local community, and keeping everyone updated.

Perhaps your hours of operation have changed OR you are temporarily closed. Update that info!

1. Update your Hours of Operation

If you are an essential business change your hours of operation if you’re closing early, or if you have in any way changed the days and times you are open.

If you are a non essential business and you are not staying open, mark your business as “Temporarily closed.”

Marking your business temporarily closed will not affect search ranking and it will be treated similar to open businesses.

According to Search Engine Journal, Google’s Danny Sullivan confirms that marking a Google My Business listing as temporarily closed will not harm rankings or visibility.

2. Update your Business Information

  1. On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
    • If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.
  2. In the menu on the left, click Info.
  3. Make your edits. After each attribute you edit, click Apply.

One of the edits is “From  the business.”

Enter an updated description of your business: share information about any extra precautions your business is taking, such as starting to offer takeout or delivery only. You can also share if you’re providing any extra services to the community. These updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.

You can create a standard post, but a “COVID 19” post will be pinned to the top of your listing and that will help your business to stand out.

3. Create a post

One of the great but often unknown features of Google My Business is that you can create a post, just like you would on any social platform, say Facebook.

You can provide detailed and timely updates about what’s going on with your business through Posts.

Pro tip: To make sure COVID-19 content is more noticeable to your customers, use the new COVID-19 post type on Google My Business.

COVID-19 update posts will appear at the top of a business’s profile in its Google My Business account within the search engine result pages.

  1. On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
    • If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.
  2. From the menu, click Posts.
  3. At the top of the page, choose the “COVID-19 update” tab. You may include the following information: updates about services, extra precautions being taken regarding hygiene and

Google now has a phone app. Download it and your customers can dm you right from the Google online business listing!

4. Connect with your customers via mobile

Download the Google My Business app for either Android or iOS and turn on messaging.

If you aren’t reachable by phone or it’s after your business hours, messaging can help customers get the support they need.

Pro tip: To let your customers know your business status, you can write an automatic welcome message.

Claim your listing!

If you haven’t claimed your business listings with Google My Business yet, try to do so now however it may be that Google is not currently updating.

When they do, be ready!

(Learn how to sign up for Google My Business here).