COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) is wreaking havoc across the globe, with new cases increasing drastically every day. Schools, businesses, government entities have been shutting their doors across the nation to help “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of COVID-19. Our own company is working remotely (this author may or may not be in a cozy pair of sweatpants at the moment) as we wade our way through the “new normal”. Google is one of the latest giants to announce limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19. Don’t worry, Google itself is up and running, but Google My Business (GMB) has limited their functionality as a result of reducing the employees in the office.
On March 20th, Google released a statement advising users that due to the “unprecedented COVID-19 situation”, they were taking appropriate steps to protect the health of their team members. They also reinforced their support to prioritizing critical services, such as those “critical to health-related businesses.” So, as you can see, the reasoning behind Google’s lies with 1) caring for the health and well being of their staff and 2) to support critical businesses, such as those in the healthcare industry.
What Specific Functionality Will be Affected?
The following areas have been temporarily removed:
- New Reviews – For some, the removal of the ability to write/receive new reviews may come as a welcome interruption. With retailers being inundated with consumers looking for out of stock items and often times being rude to over worked staff members, those same consumers are likely to turn to places like GMB to vent their frustration.
- Review Replies – Just like new reviews, the ability to reply to old reviews is temporarily disabled. If you were planning to catch up on responding to your current and former clients, you may want to consider a different task to strike from your list as you’ll have to wait on this one.
- Q&A – An often-under-utilized section, clients have the ability to pose a question that anyone in the community and/or your business can respond to with a public answer. This function has also been temporarily disabled.
The following areas are limited in their features/capabilities:
- Adding, Claiming, and Verifying Listings – You are still able to add a listing, claim a listing and/or verify your listing however, as all of this information must be reviewed manually by a member of the GMB team, priority will be given to those critical businesses and you may experience delays.
- Editing Business Information – Whenever an update is made to a business profile on GMB, a member of the GMB team must manually review the listing. While Google encourages all businesses to ensure they are providing updated information to their clients on the open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, etc. they again, giving priority to critical businesses and businesses that do not fall under that category can expect to experience delays.
What Does Limited Google My Business Functionality Mean for My Law Firm?
It means that any edits to your listing (including hours and temporary closures) may experience a delay in posting as they all have to be manually reviewed by a member of the GMB team. It also means that your clients are not able to leave you any new reviews and you are not able to respond to any current reviews. If you only scanned this document and missed the bit in the middle there, that’s the down and dirty of what you missed.
When Will GMB Be Back to Full Functioning?
Alas, the answer to that question is yet another unknown factor that we (and Google!) are unable to answer at this point.
Have patience with updating any changes to your new hours, wash your hands, practice social distancing and remember – we’re all in this together. Yup, we went there. #InItTogether
Precision Legal Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency proudly serving law firms across the nation. For marketing tips for law firm marketing, check out SEO for Law Firms and Managing your Law Firm Marketing During Coronavirus. To learn more about the services Precision Legal Marketing offers to find out how we can help your law firm grow, give us a call today: 877-602-7510.