Google Implements Measures to Relieve Pressure on its Systems due to Coronavirus
On Friday 20 March 2020, Google implemented a measure to relieve some of the pressure by switching off “new local reviews” temporarily. This means the function that allows users and businesses to post reviews and responses to reviews on Google My Business has been disabled for a while. The switch came after an earlier update, which gave insights into why any delays and issues might occur during this time.
Google’s reasons range from ensuring the health and safety of their staff by limiting the need to come to the office to prioritising the accuracy of information on their online platforms. In Google’s view, it is more important to offer quality and reliable information during this time of global crisis. Critical service updates are being prioritised, delaying other updates.
The Google support team is reviewing new listings, verifications, and claims manually for critical health-related businesses. In prioritising these businesses, other new listings, publications, and updates may be delayed for other kinds of organisations and companies. Despite this email from Google, many SEO specialists were surprised when new local reviews were temporarily disabled.
SEO Response to Google My Business COVID-19 Challenges
This week, the internet is buzzing with complaints from SEOs about challenges, errors, and other problems when attempting to update Google My Business listings. On the GMB forum, many users are proclaiming their frustration at an inability to add descriptions. Others are frustrated because their posts are being rejected even when they contain no violations. There are even some reports that businesses who have not closed have been marked as “temporarily closed” on Google My Business.
In sum, posts aren’t working, and there are a host of errors. SEOs report that many of their edits on the GMB dashboard are pending approval. Even though important listings like business operation hours are being prioritised, even these updates have been observed to be delayed.>
Quick Fix for Important Info Updates on Google My Business During Coronavirus Lock Down
Many users are saying that the GMB chat and support functions are not working and that the only way to contact Google right now is via email. If you need to update your business operations and hours urgently on GMB and it isn’t working, there is something you can do.
How to Update Your Business Details for COVID-19
Most business owners who use Google My Business will have received an email in the last two weeks asking them to update any relevant business information on Google My Business. The email with the subject “Is the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affecting your business?” included a list of possible details companies may wish to update. Buttons in the email lead you to the exact place where details can be changed and saved.
If you logged in to your Google My Business account, you would also have seen a highlight encouraging you to update any important information with a link. It looks as though most companies are doing what Google has asked, but COVID-19 has caused delays on Google’s side. As a result, users have run into issues and errors this week.
"Google said that they are fine with restaurants adding "Delivery Available" or "Takeout Available" to their business names during these crazy times. Normally this is against guidelines but given the circumstances, it's helpful for users to be able to see this info easily."
You can add one Phrase to Your business name on the GMB dashboard, and the update should work. This is a temporary fix to offer internet users access to critical information until Google experiences some relief. Measures by the South African government to limit the spread of the Coronavirus is affecting many businesses, and the best way for customers to know that you’re open and able to deliver is through a Google search.
Things are taking longer than usual on Google’s side with less staff available and more critical updates regarding the Coronavirus flooding in. Until things calm down, GMB users are encouraged to exercise patience, refresh and try again, or use the above fix as a temporary measure.
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