This is being written with the COVID-19 emergency in mind as it has hit many small businesses with immediate operational changes and at the very least, deserved concern. The main point is that you want to get the message across in as many ways as possible to your customers and potential customers. Using the Google My Business Profile, which is more prominent than the location website, can help that message be seen more easily. It’s likely that your locations need to update the public about closures, hour changes, product availability, purchasing maximums, or other business continuity measures.
Update Your Business Hours Although it may be a temporary change, you should update your hours to reflect any changes to hours of operation.
Google does not have features that let you bulk post to multiple locations at once, but dbaPlatform contains a tool for one-touch posting (and scheduling) to save yourself time.
Here’s a sample post updating consumers on operational changes:
Additional Idea Details for Your Business Description
Updating the beginning of your business description to highlight changes.You can add any extra measures that your business is taking to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.
For example, are you taking extra steps to disinfect? Are you handling food differently? What assurances can you provide to those who plan to do business with you right now?
Here’s a real example for an automotive repair shop:
Amid the increasing public concerns with regards to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that the health and safety of our customers and staff is our first and foremost priority. Due to this event, we will be offering after-hours vehicle drop-off and pick-up. All employees are being advised to stay home if they are feeling sick, or have family members that are sick. We are wearing gloves when your vehicle is in our care. We are sanitizing (waiting area, vehicles – after service, etc.). Picking-up and dropping-off customer vehicles is also an option.
Here’s how to update your Google My Business description:
Scroll down until you see your Business Description, in-between Highlights and Opening Date.
Click the Pencil Icon
Input your edits
Adding relevant images to your Google My Business profile
Any Google My Business Post that you create will automatically add an image to your profile, but you can add standalone images without creating a Post. Similar to the description edits mentioned above, if you can show the extra precautions that your business has taken, that goes a lot further than just having it in writing. Similar to Posts, if you need to bulk post images across many profiles, you can do that using our tool.
Using the Google Question & Answer (Q&A) section * (Update – Google has temporarity removed the Q&A section as of 3/20/2020)*
You are allowed to ask (and then answer) your own question on your profile. By using this feature, you can get information straight to the Knowledge Panel without the customer having to call. You can use this section to highlight services that may not be your main business focus. For example, the tutoring service below has decided to push its online tutoring option into view.
You cannot ask a question on your own profile within the Google My Business dashboard. Instead, log-in with the Gmail account of the owner of the profile and perform a search for your business. Then ask a question from the public side using the button link that appears on your Knowledge Panel.
Pro Tip: To get the actual Question and Answer text to appear within the Knowledge Panel, the Question and Answer need to be upvoted at least three times.
Updating Your Google My Business Title to Show as ‘Temporarily Closed’
Normally this would not be allowed as your Google My Business profile name should match the actual business name or signage that is in front of your building. However, Google has relaxed the rules temporarily and is allowing businesses to add additional information to the profile name without risk of suspension. As you can see below, many business types are taking advantage of this.
Pro Tip: Too many edits in quick succession to fields such as your Title, Description, and Hours sections can cause an automatic suspension by the algorithm filter, so only make one edit at a time. Wait until the pending status is gone before making another change.
Most changes to your Google My Business profile will take immediate effect, however, some may stay in pending status for a short period of time.
We want to help!
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About the Author
Yan is the creator of Local Falcon, the original Google Maps grid tracking system. Currently the VP of Product & Growth here at dbaPlatform and Senior SEO at Toronto based, SterlingSky. When not in front of a computer, he is either working on a house project or coaching soccer. Connect with him on Twitter @YanGilbertSEO