2020 has gotten off to a rocky start, and it’s likely that things won’t return to ‘normal’ for a while yet. This can put a lot of pressure on brick-and-mortar stores especially as they’re experiencing temporary closures, reopenings, or reduced opening hours.
Many customers will turn to Google to check if a business is currently open or what hours they’re trading. This means that it’s important to keep your Google Business Listing up to date – luckily, Google have released a series of updates to make that easier than ever.
So what are these updates and how can you use them?
A significant change Google has made in recent weeks is the addition of the COVID-19 post type, which enables your business to post information about COVID-19 and have it appear prominently on the listing. These posts are clearly tagged as a COVID-19 update, and are shown above other posts on your listing, which makes it a great way to highlight information to your customers that you don’t want getting missed. Make sure you incorporate these into your Local SEO strategy over the coming weeks.
Secondary Opening Hours
This feature has been wanted by the general community for a while, similarly to the ‘temporarily closed’ feature. The secondary hours feature allows a business to list additional sets of opening hours – for example, if your business offers a ‘seniors hour’, where only certain customers can shop, you’re able to list this alongside your normal opening hours.
‘Temporarily Closed’ Status
This status allows you to make the distinction between your business being permanently closed, and simply temporarily closed. This is great as it has been a requested update for some time (for example, seasonal businesses that are closed during parts of the year). Whether your business is temporarily closed for the season or you’re simply on holiday, now you have an easy way to communicate to your customers.
Chain Posting Restrictions
Previously, chain stores or restaurants were unable to post to all of the chains under their control at once. Ostensibly, this was to prevent the flooding of information to each listing. Now, however, businesses are able to publish posts automatically to multiple locations, which is a great way for getting out information about COVID-19 safety protocols, restrictions on trading hours, and other such information to customers of every location quickly.
New Business Attributes
Attributes themselves have always been part of the information you can include on your Google Business Listing, but now Google have updated the list of attributes to include things like ‘curbside pickup’ or ‘home delivery’. This makes it even easier for customers to see the safe ways that your business is still operating.
Telehealth and COVID-19 Information Links
If your business is related to or in the healthcare industry, you may have seen an uptick in customers coming to you in search of information about COVID, or testing, or something similar. This feature allows businesses in this industry to display prominent links advertising Telehealth services or information about COVID-19. The idea is to take some pressure off the healthcare industry and minimise the number of patients coming into medical centres unnecessarily.
Support and Donation Links
Similarly to the point above, Google have also added a new feature where you can include links to buy gift cards online or donate to the business. THis is designed to help support small businesses that have been affected by what’s happening, especially if the business has had to close.
Photos and Videos
This is not a new feature, but it’s still an important one. Adding photos and videos to your Google Business Listing is one of the best ways to show customers who you are and what you do. With that in mind, it could be helpful to add some photos or videos of your staff taking safety precautions – wearing masks and gloves, sanitising common areas, etc. This act of ‘seeing’ can help put potential customers at ease as they look to return to making purchases.
Additionally, Google has made some updates to Google Maps, so that it now provides information to make travelling safer – for example, Maps might recommend a ‘less crowded’ train for your route, or help you avoid crowds altogether.
If you haven’t been using these new features to help your business during these times, make sure you spend some time updating your listing. For more information about Google Business Listings or how to get the most out of them during this time, make sure you reach out to the digital marketing agency Brisbane team at Digital Surfer.
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