In response to the mass small business closures, Google announced on March 30 that businesses could create a special COVID-19 post on their Google My Business (GMB) listing to let customers know if they are open. Whether you are open or not, you should be utilizing this tool in order to inform customers about the status of your business.
Something to keep in mind, GMB support announced temporary limitations and delays. They are prioritizing edit reviews for health-related businesses, states that have evoked Stay Home Orders (like Ohio), special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions, and business attribute edits for verified business.
Mark You Business Temporarily Closed
This is Google’s preferred method of communicating business closures at this time. Although this is the preferred method, businesses that have multiple locations should consider alternate methods because of the delays GMB is experiencing when reviewing these edits.
To mark your business as temporarily closed:
- On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
- In the menu on the left, click Info.
- To the right, point to the section “Close this business on Google.”
- To expand this section you might need to click the arrow.
- Click Mark as temporarily closed.
If you have multiple profiles, select the profile you want to change then follow steps 2 and 3 to mark your businesses as temporarily closed.
Google has assured businesses that using this method of updating your Google My Business listing will not affect their search ranking.
Once your business is open again, you will need to contact Google My Business support to change the status of your business.
Using the COVID-19 Post Type
As of now, this is our recommended method of updating a businesses’ listing on Google. In your Google My Business dashboard when you navigate to Posts, you will now see a highlighted COVID-19 post type in the menu. This was designed specifically for businesses to announce policies related to COVID-19, such as:
- Temporary closures
- New operating hours
- Changes to regular services, such as moving to takeout/delivery only
- Safety precautions being taken by the business
- In-stock, low stock, or out of stock announcements for high demand products
And so on
Once posted, these updates appear on the business’s profile in the local search results. This post will remain pinned to the top of your profile’s posts for the next 14 days (as of the writing of this post on April 2, 2020).
Creating A COVID-19 Post In Google My Business
- On a desktop computer, sign in to Google My Business.
- From the menu, click Posts.
- At the top of the page, choose the “COVID-19 update” tab. GMB may ask for information such as:
- Hours of operation and temporary closures
- Changes to how the business operates, such as takeout or delivery only, call for details, or others
- Updates to how the location is being managed as it relates to safety and hygiene
- Requests for support
- Click Preview to see your post before it goes live.
- Click Publish when you’re satisfied with the post.
You can access Google’s specific help guide on creating these posts here.
If you are responsible for your business’s marketing, you should be creating a post to inform customers about whether your business is open and what safety measures are being taken as soon as possible. You should also take the time to update your listings in as many other directories as possible. Yext and Lisiting Management are highly effective tools in making changes in multiple listing locations.
In addition to creating this post in Google, you should consider posting to your businesses social media accounts. Avoid posting any sensational or unsupported comments, stick to informing customers on your business and the steps you are taking to adhere to CDC guidelines.
Anthony Taylor is the digital lead for Mean Joe Advertising. His expertise across the digital advertising landscape allows him to provide omnichannel solutions for partners with measurable results.