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Attract more customers to your restaurant or retail store: Increase your visibility with the new Google My Business Covid19 features.

 

The COVID-19 situation poses an existential challenge for restaurants and retailers. Businesses have been closed down fully or partially, consumer behaviour has changed radically, and on top of that there is confusion about availability of products & services, opening hours, etc. 

In order to provide visibility for your business when customers are searching online, it is essential to ensure that all the information on Google is accurate and up-to-date. “Google My Business” (GMB) is the product through which you can easily share your business information and your offering with potential customers. GMB enables you to manage your presence and visibility on Google Maps and Local Search. You only need to enter your business information once, and that is it. However when user feedback suggests that information is inaccurate or out of date, your business will be shown less.  

The current conditions in which restaurants and shops operate are changing daily or weekly and our business information on Local Search is barely following suit. The third party service providers that Google uses to monitor and implement these changes have also taken measures to protect the health of employees.

So how do you implement the much needed & valuable changes to your business information to increase the visibility of the services you still offer?

 

Provide clarity about the services offered in your restaurant via Google

The most important thing you have to do as a restaurant is to make clear what is still and what is no longer possible. Google “dining options” that have recently been adjusted will be placed very prominently on your company profile. Below you can see what that looks like in a GMB account, and what the user will see as a result.

Given the current circumstances, “dining options” such as “dine in”, “takeout” and “delivery” are promoted at the top of the company profile. Google has already announced that it will also add “curb side pickup” and “no-contact delivery” as soon as possible. The introduction of these new options and updating “dining options” is currently one of the most important opportunities to receive additional orders via “local search”. It is however likely that many of those orders will be placed online and or over the phone.

Demonstrate Dining Options

Dining Options Google My Business – on listing and in your account.

Retailers – use GMB to clearly list your new delivery options in local search

For retailers, additional ‘attributes’ will be launched to all GMB accounts in the coming weeks. For example, your store attributes indicating new business activities such as ‘delivery‘ and ‘pick up‘ will (soon) be prominently displayed on Google Maps and in the Google Search results.

Supported attributes have an “✓” and unsupported attributes have an “X”. Some features are already available now, and others will appear on Google early next week (on both desktop and mobile company profiles).

Waiting is not an option. Making sure to keep your features and attributes up to date is now more important than ever. 

 

Communicate using the new “COVID-19 update” Posts

Business owners who log in to Google My Business will be notified via the banner below to adjust opening hours and to communicate changes in services offered and opening times with customers via Posts.

Businesses are advised to update users about COVID-19. Note: Recently, Google has rejected a number of Posts for unclear reasons. To make it simple, the so-called “COVID-19 update” – post has been launched. Posts of this type appear more prominently in your company profile than other posts. This is my “COVID-19 update”, as seen from my GMB account, and as shown on Local Search.

Demonstrate COVID-19 update

The COVID-19 Update seen from within GMB account and on Local Search.

Although updates around COVID-19 seem to be implemented relatively quickly. For many customers we currently see the notification below for other changes that we make through GMB. Google currently reports a “delayed turnaround time on all types of changes”. Reviews are currently no longer posted at all.

Delayed Turnaround Times GMB updates

Large companies with multiple branches

For companies with more than twenty locations, it is time-consuming to keep business profiles up to date. Precisely for these companies clear, accurate and up-to-date communication is now extremely important to safeguard turnover.

As of April 2nd, Google now supports a solution, via an adjustment to the GMB API, enabling to place COVID-19 updates for hundreds of branches simultaneously. All features can be easily kept up-to-date so you are able to inform potential customers about any changes in your services and or product offering!

If you have any questions on further increasing your visibility and attracting more customers via local search, please read further on this Google My Business support page. We wish everyone a lot of strength and hope that this update helps to keep you, your customers and your employees safe, and provides support to guide your company through these difficult times.