Google My Business not functioning as expected under the strain of coronavirus


On Friday, Google temporarily disabled new local reviews as well as the ability of businesses to post review responses. This initially surprised many local SEOs, although it was previewed in Google’s earlier announcement about limited GMB functionality during the coronavirus crisis.

Multiple problems and delays. On Monday, many local SEOs were complaining about various problems and delays in posting new listings or hours and address updates, despite Google saying it would prioritize “open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions, and business attributes edits.” Mike Blumenthal reported that Post aren’t working.

If you operate a restaurant, and Posts aren’t working, one potentially faster way to communicate the availability of takeout or delivery service is to add that to the business name. Normally that would be prohibited. But according to Joy Hawkins in the Local Search Forum, “Google said that they are fine with restaurants adding ‘Delivery Available’ or ‘Takeout Available’ to their business names during these crazy times.”

Why we care. It’s critical for local business owners and multi-location brands to update GMB to communicate updated hours or store closure information to customers. (See Google’s instructions and our COVID-19 SEO checklist.) But Google is working with reduced support staffing and so everything appears to be taking much longer than normal. We’ll be exploring these challenges and what to do about them with local SEOs in an upcoming Live with Search Engine Land. 

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