As the fight against COVID-19 continues worldwide, both globally and local business owners and customers are being forced to adjust to a new way of life. While adjusting how we live and making sacrifices to keep healthy, we as natural-born consumers are still shopping, still spending money, and relying on search engines to get us the information we want.
How are the businesses I shop at handling coronavirus restrictions?
Is my favorite boutique still open?
Is the furniture store still doing in-home delivery?
What local gym is offering virtual or outdoor training?
As we adapt to remote working and virtual learning, try to stay entertained and informed, and look for the best options to still buy the stuff we want, search has become more important than ever.
Local SEO Protects and Promotes Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Claiming and verifying a Google My Business listing for each location of your business is the first and most basic step to local search engine optimization (SEO).
This is an easy way to ensure your business shows up in local search engine results displaying the information customers need to make buying decisions while dealing with local COVID-19 restrictions.
Google My Business – The Best Tool for Local SEO
Since March 2020, Google has added several features to help you further promote your business and communicate COVID-19 changes. With these new tools, customers who use search can tell at a glance how your business has adapted to serve them throughout the pandemic better.
Learning how to utilize these special COVID-19 tools and features give your business increased visibility online and exposure to more local customers.
If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. You can give updates on your business to customers such as:
- Your adjusted hours of operation – closing earlier, opening later, or closed certain days during COVID.
- Add “More hours” that describe other business operations such as delivery, takeout, and drive-through.
- Select an attribute to show you now offer online services such as classes, appointments, or estimates.
- Delays on specific business services.
- Extra services you are providing for the community.
- If your business is “Temporarily closed.”
The updates will show on your GMB business listing on Google Search and Maps.
Marking your business “Temporarily closed” won’t affect local search ranking, and it will be treated similarly to open businesses, but services won’t show on Google.
COVID-19 Google My Business Updates Quick Action List
1. Update Your Business Hours
You may need to adjust your business operations during the pandemic. This could mean changing your hours, temporarily closing, or changing the types of products and services you offer.
You can communicate this information to customers searching for the products and services you provide with your business listing on Google.
2. Update Your GMB Listing Description
Use your business description to share information about your business, such as:
- If your business is only available for takeout or delivery
- Extra services you provide to the community
- If your business services are delayed
3. Connect With Your Customers
Download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging so your customers can reach you. You can use messaging to provide your customers with the support they need when you’re not reachable by phone or after your business hours.
Learn how to turn on messaging in the Google My Business app.
4. Add Links to Business Listings on Google
Your business listing can include two types of links that make it easier for customers to learn more about your business. They can also take action directly from your profile on Google Maps or Search.
Consider adding a link that helps customers, such as “view a menu” or “learn more about COVID-19 related information”. Or choose a preferred link that displays at the top so customers can easily find it. The links help customers, such as:
- Book an appointment
- Make a reservation
- Place a food order
To add links to your business listing, sign in to Google My Business and click into the Info New Features URL section, which lets you edit several different fields. Depending on your business category, you may get options to add more links. NOTE: This option isn’t available for informational links, like a menu, COVID-19-related, or service links.
Making these four changes to your Google My Business profile lets Google and Google users know you are open and ready to serve customers safely during the pandemic.