How to Leverage Google My Business in the COVID World
With the pandemic throwing open an array of challenges for small businesses, having an online presence has become increasingly significant. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that support business owners in managing their online presence across the Google search engine and its portfolio of applications such as Search and Maps. Creating a Business Profile on Google allows potential customers to find your business on both Search and on Maps. This includes specific information like address, business hours, category and reviews.
If you are familiar with tools like Google+, or your business already has an online presence, chances are that you already have a Google My Business Profile.
In recent months Google has rolled out several features to help small businesses make the transition to the next normal by updating their GMBs with relevant information that affects their operations.
Let us take a closer look at those latest updates and how to leverage them.
#1. COVID-19 Post Types
So as to make COVID-19 announcements more visible for customers, Google has introduced a new Post Type for COVID-19 related posts. These posts do not contain images and would be featured higher on the GMB listing than the usual Google Posts. Such posts also have an extended expiry date of 14 days in place of the usual 7 days.
# 2. Temporarily Closed
With the latest updates, Google has enabled the “temporarily closed” feature for businesses which are not closed but has temporarily stopped providing all services to mark as “temporarily closed”. This would not affect their rankings on search results page.
If your business is closed due to COVID-19, you can update the information on your GMB dashboard. The option is available on the right hand side. You can reopen your business when your business fully or partially resumes operations.
# 3. Update your Business Profile Directly from Google Search or Maps
With a roller coaster ride of lockdowns, temporary closures, and re-openings businesses need to safeguard their reputations and stay connected to their customers. Hence it is important to quickly make changes to your business information and keep them up to date. You can create posts, reply to reviews, add photos, and update business information right from Google Search and Maps. This allows potential customers to find your business on both Search and on Maps, which a ton of people use.
- Change in Business Hours:
If there is a change in business hours, update the times you will be open or closed. With your timings visibly displayed on your business profile, customers can know exactly when they should visit your location.
If you are open on special timing or open only on specific days, you can also set special hours or offer different services for different timings such as designated hours for takeout or delivery your business profile should reflect it.
- Use Special Attributes
To stand out among customers you can update the attributes that makes you unique. For example: Food, retail, salon businesses can add attributes to let customers know about the safety measures adopted at their businesses or appointments or reservations required.
# 4. Create offline materials
As part of creating offline assets the Google My Business marketing website lets you create free posters, ready to share social posts, and window stickers among others. You can print and display these items or share them digitally through your social media profiles.
To wrap up it can be said that in these times of uncertainty, it is essential for small businesses to gather all useful resources to keep their best foot forward and navigate through these tough times. Google My Business offers obvious benefits to them such as one it is free, it boosts local SEO efforts and it is easily manageable. Also, it provides insights on how you are managing your digital presence. Verbat Technologies is one of the largest SEO specialists in the industry. For your SEO and digital marketing, queries contact us.