With COVID-19 disrupting many different local businesses, Google has been attempting to make it easier for businesses to communicate their status amid this pandemic.
Google’s Initial Reaction
Google initially sent out, and added to their Google My Business dashboard, tips on what you business owners can do to communicate their hours or temporary closure so customers would know before they attempted to visit.
These actions were to:
- Change your hours
- Update your description
- Create a Google Post
Now we see listing changes either happening slowly or not at all. Changes made to hours may, or may not, be applied to your listing for hours or even days. It is possible that adding Special Hours to the listing will be applied sooner than changing actual Business Hours. So what else can you do?
Making Business Closures Clear for Customers
When a majority of business closures began, Google allowed business owners and agencies to contact them via Support channels to mark their listings as “Temporarily Closed.” This was difficult to do as Google My Business Support is notoriously difficult to reach.
There was talk and reports saying Google would be implementing this feature into the backend of Google My Business… and the time has come.
Steps to Temporarily Close Your Business
Google has made it very simple for any business owner to mark their listing as temporarily closed. Google has updated its help center to show how to mark a location temporarily closed, and this is what it says:
- On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
- In the menu on the left, click Info.
- To the right, point to the section “Close this business on Google.”
- To expand this section, you might need to click the arrow.
- Click Mark as temporarily closed.
Here is what you will be looking for:
I will warn everyone to make sure you press the correct button as permanently closing your listing will be much more of a hassle to reinstate.
How This Will Affect Your Listing
What this will do is add a red banner to your Google My Business listing that shows the business as Temporarily Closed.
This is similar to permanently closing a listing as the listing will not show up in search results as much or at all. Google has noted this in the warning dialogue before confirming your business is temporarily closed.
Once your business reopens, you can simply go back to your account (follow steps 1 and 2 above) and click on “Mark as Open” in the Info section.
This will revert the closure and allow your listing to show in organic and map searches again. As for rankings, temporarily closing the business should not affect this, and when it is reopened, the listing should rank again for everything it used to. Please keep in mind that this is not a guarantee. Shifts in ranking happen all the time on Google.
Inform Your Customers and Stay Safe
In this crazy time we are living in, it is important to keep communication open and accurate. We encourage you to update your listing depending on how COVID-19 has affected you. You do so by either by temporarily closing your doors or changing your hours. We hope everyone is doing their part and keeping yourselves and each other safe.