States, counties, cities, and other jurisdictions will one day (soon we hope) start their journeys to a post-COVID-19 era. Small business owners need to let customers know constantly changing business updates, requirements, and how to access your products, services, food, and other offerings that make your business special. One of the things we will be doing over the next few days is reviewing our links to the guide we have compiled over the past few years: The SmallBusiness.com Guide to Google My Business.
To begin the process, Google is linking several Google services that feeds a small business’ information to Google My Business and an array of constantly updated maps.
Here are some Google-related basics
- Update business hours
If your business is operating on reduced or shifted hours, you can update them on you Business Profile through Google My Business. Do this so that customers know exactly when you are able to reach them.
- Share a COVID-19 update
Since every business’s response to coronavirus is unique, Google has introduced COVID-19 posts – featured prominently in a carousel on the merchant’s Business Profile in Search (and coming soon to Maps). This is how businesses can communicate to your customers about how your operations and services have shifted. Updates can include safety precautions you are taking, information about what products and services are available, and whether your customers can expect delays.
- Showcase business “attributes“
Many restaurants and retail shops have closed their doors to on-site customers but are still serving them in other ways, for example: Merchants in the dining and shopping verticals can now update their business profiles to inform customers about service availability.
Restaurants can add “takeout,” “delivery” and/or “curbside pickup” attributes and mark that they’re unavailable for “dine-in,” while retail stores will soon be able to add “curbside pickup,” “in-store pickup” and/or “same-day delivery.”
Business operations will prominently appear on merchants’ business profiles on Google Search and Maps results when customers look for the business.
- Share inventory online
With various or changing shortages of groceries and home essentials, people have to make important decisions about when to leave home to purchase critical goods.
Pointy (now part of Google), helps merchants get their inventory online by connecting information from the merchant’s point of sale systems to their business profile online. (For a limited time, Pointy is available for free to select grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores in the US.)
- Mark a location “Temporarily closed”
Google has made it easier for businesses to mark themselves as temporarily closed — directly from Google My Business.
Note: If a business is marked as temporarily closed, it will be treated similarly to open businesses and will not affect local search rank.