Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It has always been a brilliant tool to advance your business and boost your local SEO. As you already noted, many non-essential companies such as supermarkets, pubs, and gyms have been partially suspended because of the latest COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently during the pandemic situation, Google has launched a range of applications which mainly designed to make it easy for businesses & companies to respond to the pandemic by showing their digital visibility through Google.
Google's focused heavily on GMB (Google My Business) with essential & required information. Most of the improvements have been introduced in the Healthcare, Restaurant & Food categories.
1. A different form of COVID-19 post;
Through the latest COVID-19 posting feature, a business sends comprehensive and timely information about what is happening to your company concerning COVID-19. The updated COVID-19 Post form allows a company to publish posts on COVID-19 and to publish it prominently on the GMB's. Once it is published, it is classified as COVID-19 linked information that impacts your business & shown prominently. COVID-19 notification posts must appear at the top of the company profile in the local index.
You will choose to submit other forms of articles, and the COVID-19 content will stay at the top. Such latest COVID-19 articles are open to all websites. COVID-19 content will enable text only and will be written from the desktop version of Google My Business. But, the posts can be viewed on both desktop searches as well as on mobile device searches.
2. Updates to the local services Ad;
Google has resolved the needs and wants of customers in the service sector with a local service ad attribute that allows companies to exchange the kind of critical details about how to take absolute care when entering consumers' homes.
It is always wise to exchange details about extra care that your business takes when it comes to delivering additional services to the families, the environment, or instituting new sanitation initiatives within your store.
3. Help business and donation link:
Google also enabled companies to share details about how their customers may help them, such as purchasing a gift card or making donations through donation links. Businesses should not feel insecure about utilizing funding & donation connections because it is a period of a global epidemic, and everybody is eager to contribute all they can.
4. COVID-19 & Telehealthcare links:
Healthcare professionals, such as physicians and other professional practitioners, will use Google My Business to assert and maintain the details regarding their work. GMB provides the possibility of incorporating information to resources such as telehealth and customizing the business profiles on Google Search and Maps.
Google helps healthcare facilities to exchange influential links to online treatment services and guidance on providing information about COVID-19 without having to visit a medical center. Your Business Profile can appear in the search results when patients search for a healthcare provider on Google. Factors including search relevance, distance, and the popularity of your profession determine the search appearance.
5. GMB Displays & Attributes;
Google has introduced new attributes necessary for restaurants and retailers to add the curbside pickup and no-contact delivery. Choose features that your business currently does not have, and allocate them to your business. For instance, attribute notifications are given to the restaurants as Dine-In, Order-ahead, Delivery, Catering & takeaway food.
6. Secondary hours/Special hours :
With COVID-19 taking root, Google stepped up with special operating hours to post the secondary hours on the GMB.
Let's take an example of a grocery store tailoring its operating hours to fit customers with special needs, such as providing an hour per day correctly to shop for seniors.
If your website hasn't modified your business hours, amend your special hours to match your COVID-19 operating hours. You can only reach special hours if you have already had regular hours. If you have specific services at different times, such as senior hours, distribution, and takeaway, you should schedule more hours than special hours.
7. Updated features of safety maps:
Google also improved Google Maps apps that help users locate paths that make it easier and take less time. The safety feature also focuses on people heading to COVID-19 test sites; the Google Maps feature also provides a notification that advises users to check eligibility and instructions for the facility to prevent turning away or putting undue pressure on the local healthcare system.
8. Interactive visual content accessible on your GMB;
It is indispensable for companies to upgrade their images & reflect their protection procedures, with workers wearing masks and gloves. Show consumer photos when waiting in line at the check-out lane use designated spaces to exercise social distancing. Have a video to demonstrate to consumers how your position is designed to provide a secure & safe shopping experience.
9. Restrictions on Google Post chain eliminated;
Google Posts helps GMB listing organizations to refresh their information panels with interactive content, such as special activities, shifts in hours, promotional sales, or launching a new location.
Traditionally, Google didn't authorize chains (businesses with more than 10 locations) to publish Google articles through several locations regularly. But as the pandemic gripped, Google lifted that restriction to make it easier for businesses with multiple locations to respond with critical updates to customers.