If you have logged into your Google My Business page recently you likely have seen this message.
"Limited Google My Business functionality - Edits, review replies, and other google My Business functionality may not operate as usual at this time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)"
As the crisis continues Google has made the decision to limit the functionality of your My Business profile in the best interest of your company. Here are just a few things you will see that are different within your account and in the search engine.
Your Business NameGoogle is generally extremely strict up a businesses name within the platform. Currently though Google is allowing for people to add more information to their business name. So if you have a restaurant for example, you can edit the business name to say "Restaurant Name - Dining Room Closed, Take Out Open."
Normally Google would deny a name like this but we are seeing approvals with this type of name change.
ReviewsNormally asking for reviews and gaining reviews on your My Business account is one of the best things you can do for your business, (Check out this blog I wrote on how to do this effectively!) but Google has decided to stop publishing customer reviews effective as of March 20th. People can still post a review but they will not become published and visible. Also with this adjustment to the platform they have stopped the ability to respond to reviews.
My advice is to stop asking for reviews for the time being but reach out to your customers when the time is right since we know positive reviews can have such a positive impact on your business!
FAQ'sGoogle has also removed the FAQ section from your listing completely. Initially I thought this would allow businesses an opportunity to answer questions about how their business is operating differently during these times but Google has likely done this to protect the business since FAQ's can be answered by the publc which can lead to incorrect information.
Google photosGoogle photos are also disabled from your listing at this time. This is likely done to also protect the business since if there was a bad experience that might have happened then it will only pile on the current struggles they are having.
Temporarily ClosedSome businesses are being flagged with a temporarily closed banner when they did not apply this. If your business is closed temporarily then definitely go into the back end of your account and you will see an option to turn this on. If your business was hit with this banner by mistake, don't worry, Google is aware and all you need to do is go ahead and appeal this which can be done in the backend of your account as well.
It is clear that Google does have businesses best interest in mind with these changes showing that they want to protect you as best they can.