The search engine limits some Google My Business functionalities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how KISS PR responds to these changes.
Just recently, Google announced that it suspended some of GMB’s functionalities due to COVID-19. They pointed out that these are temporary limitations as they are currently prioritizing critical services.
“During the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, we are taking steps to protect the health of our team members and reduce the need for people to come into our offices. As a result, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support as we prioritize critical services.“
After users logged into their Google My Business account, they will see a notification like this one in the screenshot below.
Google My Business functionalities that are currently suspended include business information edits, newly created listings, claims, and verifications, reviews, and Q&A.
Business information edits
Google said that they would prioritize reviews for edits to critical health-related businesses. This means that if a business doesn’t fall on that category, business owners or users expect delays when they edit the following business information:
- Open and closed states
- Special hours
- Temporary closures
- Business descriptions
- Business attributes
Newly created listings, claims, and verifications
Same with business information edits, Google would prioritize in manually reviewing new listings, claims, and verifications for critical health-related businesses only.
They told their users that delay for publication of new listings, claims, and verifications for businesses (that don’t fall in the critical health-related category) should be expected.
“While we prioritize these critical services, please expect a delay for publication of new listings, claims, and verifications for other types of businesses to Google Search and Maps.“
KISSPR has first-hand experience regarding the suspension of new reviews. Recently, they received a review from one of its customers, but only the customer can see it at the moment.
This is happening because new reviews got suspended.
Replying to a review is also suspended. Business owners can’t respond to any reviews posted on their GMB listing.
This section is also suspended. Past questions and answers are not displayed, as well.
Furthermore, the rest of the SEO community also noticed changes with the following GMB-related features not mentioned by Google.
Some users reported that their posts on GMB keep getting rejected. Although this happens from time to time, others said that it’s somewhat different this time.
So far, though, KISSPR hasn’t experienced this kind of hiccup this week.
Another user-generated complaint is from a Google local guide who reported that he could not see the photos he added to a specific park profile. This scenario is similar to reviews submitted that also cannot be seen by business owners. This means that adding photos to GMB profiles might also be suspended.
“Take out/delivery available” in business names
Others also noticed that Google has allowed restaurants to add “Take out available” or “Delivery available” to their business names.
Google said that these changes are just temporary to allow their limited workforce to focus on services that are critical in helping businesses in the health industry deal with the current pandemic the country is currently facing.
New GMB Feature
COVID-19 Update Tab
Aside from limiting some GMB functionalities, KISS PR also noticed that a new tab is added to the Google My Business dashboard.
This tab should be used to inform customers about any business changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How KISS PR Deals With The Changes Brought by the COVID-19 Pandemic?
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the whole country, small businesses are the ones hit the hardest. KISSPR knows well how difficult it is, especially for those businesses that rely on foot traffic.
KISSPR CEO, Qamar Zaman, in his latest blog, shared a list of countermeasures he and his team are currently doing and working on to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Providing FREE PR for Local and Small Businesses
To show KISSPR’s commitment to helping small businesses thrive during these trying times of pandemic, they rolled out a FREE PR distribution service.
Who Can Avail of this FREE PR Distribution?
Small and local businesses that have COVID-19-related stories on how their company deals with the pandemic can submit their PR for FREE.
2. Encouraging Businesses to Continue their SEO Efforts
In his latest blog post, Zaman pointed out that these days are the best times for businesses not to hold off their SEO efforts.
“If you placed your SEO project on hold or cut back on the efforts, this is the best time to change your paradigm. As we all know, SEO takes time and maturity. This is the best time to create a content marketing strategy that can help your current situation while being creative.“
Zaman further said that businesses should make use of these times to create content ideas that can attract links to grow their website organically.
3. Offering Their Existing Clients New Website Redesigns
The KISS PR CEO also wrote that this is also the time to redesign websites to improve user experience.
“This is also the time to redesign the website to improve user experience so that when all this is over, you will be ready.“
They are now offering their existing clients website redesigns to help improve user experience.
Their team works around the clock to create new content opportunities to help business owners make their website a traffic-generating machine.
4. Leveling Up Social Media Activities `
When everyone these days stays at home and hangs out on social media, the need to level up social media activities is crucial to boost engagement and traffic.
Zaman said that time spent on social media these days is exploding as people are stuck at home. He pointed out that NOW is the time for businesses to engage in social media like crazy and build their following.
5. Developing New Content Ideas with Free Tools
Zaman advised business owners to think outside of the box to thrive and survive this pandemic.
“As we stay in comfort in our homes, create video-based content using tools you already have, such as ZOOM, Google Hangouts, and Instagram stories using your desktop or mobile device. At this time of survival, we need to find ways to think outside the box.”
KISS PR helps businesses with their content marketing by:
· Creating content calendars and stories using Zoom as their go-to tool.
· Recording and syndicating this content using their outreach and amplification team to promote brands to their target audience.
6. Investing in Google Ads
Due to demand and supply, Zaman noticed that PPC ad inventory is less competitive for the terms with declining search traffic. He said that this is the best time to invest in Google Ads.
“This is the best time to invest in these opportunities and be front and center on paid media ads. Remember, you only pay when people click.“
7. Starting Google Retargeting and Facebook Retargeting Campaigns
Zaman said that this is the best time to convert prospects by putting them back in a new customer journey campaign using Google and Facebook retargeting.
He further shared that he and his team at KISS PR are on top of this retargeting campaign to boost brand retention.
“The KISS PR team of Google certified PPC experts are finding these opportunities and amplifying cold content by securing cheap traffic to create awareness. We are creating customer journey maps, so we keep the prospects ready to buy your brand at the top of their mind.“
8. Reputation Management and Monitoring
It cannot be avoided that amidst the chaos caused by the current pandemic, complaints, and bad reviews about a particular company or brand can occur or might even become rampant. If a brand is facing this kind of crisis, Zaman advised business owners to use PR distribution to mitigate it.
“It is a good time to monitor reputation and apply crisis communication. The best tool for this is public relations using a press release distribution.“
KISSPR, as mentioned earlier, is currently offering free press release distribution to local and small businesses.
9. Helping Law Firms That Struggles in Getting Quality Cases
As people prioritize their basic needs and health care, Zaman predicted that law firms would struggle with getting quality cases. He assures them, though, that KISS PR has a plan to help them get targeted cases.
“KISS PR has put together a plan for law firms to get targeted cases from our Facebook marketing, where the cost per lead is $3 (compared to the average lead acquisition cost of $50).“
He encourages struggling law firms to contact him to set a schedule so that he and his team can help them.
In these trying times of global health pandemic, Zaman said that business owners have two options, either quit all marketing and SEO efforts and let online competitors take over or become creative and pivot. He strongly recommends doing the latter.
Zaman further stressed that these are the times that business owners’ mindset is being tested. He challenges every one of them to break the mold and forge ahead.
If you are a small business that needs help with Google My Business, speak with a GMB expert today.