As most business owners know, a Google My Business (GMB) Listing is a valuable, easy to use digital marketing tool serving not just to inform customers, but also to verify and manage your online presence.
With the advent of the Covid 19 pandemic and resultant pandemonium for businesses a Google My Business listing has revealed itself to have another use – letting people know whether, and when, you’re open for business, and how your business is operating.
As lockdowns and quarantines come and go, you can now mark your business “Temporarily Closed” on GMB if necessary, or post information about your business hours if the outbreak has affected your service times and delivery.
These are just examples of the features that Google has made available to help businesses, but if you check your GMB listing often you may have noticed that some other functionality was limited when the pandemic took hold.
Back in March Google announced that it was temporarily limiting or removing some of the GMB features and that there would be delays in support because “we are taking steps to protect the health of our team members and reduce the need for people to come into our offices”.
As far as we can tell GMB is back to normal as far as functionality goes, but there are still sometimes delays in updating profiles.
How to Update Your GMB Listing Profile
That’s not to say you shouldn’t update your GMB though! Your GMB listing appears on screen anytime someone searches Google for your brand name. It’s a great way to let the world know if, and how, your business is coping with the Covid outbreak.
If you’ve not taken advantage of GMB before, now’s the time to take ownership of your listing and make the best use of it by updating it with all the latest information you can pack in.
Not sure how, or what GMB is all about …. Google itself has all the “how to GMB” info.
It’s wise to frequently check and edit your business information on your GMB listing, especially during these uncertain times when your customers may be wondering how, or if, your business is operating and what services you offer.
Important Info to Include on Your GMB Profile
Some of the things that it is crucial to provide accurate, up to date information about in these Covid times are:
Whatever sort of business you run its crucial to let people know if/when you are open.
If you’re closed for a lockdown mark your business as “temporarily closed” by signing in to GMB, click “info” in the menu on the left, then look at the section “Close this business on Google” – click the arrow and select “Mark as temporarily closed”. To re-open again click info on the menu and look for “Reopen or remove this profile”, and click “Reopen this listing”.
Note: Marking your business temporarily closed doesn’t affect local search rankings. Google advises that if you offer pick up or delivery services you should NOT mark the business temporarily closed, otherwise those services won’t show on Google.
If your opening hours have changed you should update the times on your profile: Sign in to GMB, select “info” in the menu and click on “Hours” next to the “Add Hours” option. Turn on each day of the week that you’re open for business, and select the opening and closing times. Then click “Apply”. You can include a break in the working hours by creating two entries for the same day with different times.
Note: You can also indicate when your business has “special hours” outside of regular hours, for special events, certain services or during bank holidays, for example. Google Support tells you how to set special hours.
GMB now has a posting option specifically for COVID-19 posts relating to your business, so you can keep customers informed about things like safety measures, availability of products, changed opening hours and so on.
To create a Covid-19 post sign in to GMB, click on “posts” in the menu, then choose the “Covid-19 update” tab at the top of the page. Write the post then click “publish”.
GMB gives you the option of picking out and highlighting various factual attributes for your business, which show up on the search results – for example whether a restaurant offers takeout, a coffee bar has WiFi, or a builder gives online estimates.
Since the pandemic took hold Google has been slowly adding more attributes to the available list, mainly to cater for the many businesses moving their services and activities online.
Not all attributes are available for all businesses – you get to choose from a list that Google considers relevant to your line of business.
It’s definitely worth activating any attributes that apply to your business on your GMB profile – it all helps to inform and attract customers.
This is how you do it: Sign in to GMB, from the menu click “info”; find the “Attributes” option and select “edit”. You can then search for the attribute you want to add, or scroll through the available options for your business. When you’ve finished, click “Apply”.
Dentons Digital is a Google Partner agency, here to help your business overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 situation. If you need assistance with SEO, your website, setting up your GMB profile, doing some fruitful PPC advertising, or any other aspect of digital marketing, get in touch for a friendly, no-obligation consultation.