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.
There are a LOT of things with Google My Business that are not functioning as normal right now due to COVID-19. Many of these just started on Friday. I have compiled a list of everything I’m seeing thus far here: https://t.co/F6IqRRxrA3
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) March 23, 2020
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.
PSA: Google Posts seems to be limping badly. Many businesses are having trouble. Google knows about the situation and while it is not a great time for Posts to break, they have.
They continue to work for somehttps://t.co/QtidtikZw1
— Mike Blumenthal (@mblumenthal) March 23, 2020
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.