Google has announced this week that it has temporarily removed a number of features from Google My Business as due to limitations caused by the COVID-19 situation.
“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.”
For the time being, these features will be temporarily limited or removed.
An Unprecedented Situation
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.
Our current focus is on the quality and reliability of the information on Google Search and Maps. We want to ensure users and business owners have access to essential features like whether the business is open or has special hours. Learn about best practices for affected businesses, and what you can do to keep your customers informed.
Explaining The Changes
Google explains that other changes to the GMB service include:
Business information edits – We will prioritize reviews for edits critical to health-related businesses.
This includes reviews for:
- Changes to open and closed states
- Special hours
- Temporary closures
- Business descriptions
- Business attributes
If your business does not provide a critical, health-related service then it may be some time before you see any edits go live on your GMB listing.
Newly created listings, claims, and verifications – Our support team will manually review new listings, claims, and verifications for critical health-related businesses. 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.
Reviews and Q&A – New reviews, review replies, and all Q&A will be unavailable during this time.
In a statement to Search Engine Journal, local marketing expert Bill Hartzer gave his thoughts on the decision to restrict these features:
“Most likely, Google is doing this because they want to make sure that the information provided is valid and from trusted sources. I can only imagine how quickly the Q&A could potentially get out of hand if they allowed anyone to answer questions.”
Prioritising Critical Services
That means, with Google prioritising critical services, other types of businesses can expect a delay for publication of new listings, claims, and verifications.
One Area Remains Untouched
However, one aspect which has not yet been impacted are Google Posts. That means, if you have new updates to share with your customers, you can still use your GMB listing to publish posts.
That may change as time goes on, however, as these are unpredictable times we’re living through. Take advantage of Google Posts while it’s still available.