Update (28/05/2020): Recent reports have suggested that Google are continuing to delay the verification of new Google My Business (GMB) listings – especially those which are verified using the postcard method. This method of verification has been stopped/delayed during the pandemic to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 via the postal service.
UPDATE: As of today (13/05/2020) some new Google reviews are appearing against Google My Business listings. This change appears to be being slowly rolled out across listings, as there are still many Google reviews not yet being displayed, but it is a positive change that suggests Google are moving to reintroduce new reviews across all listings in the near future.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are having to take drastic measures to ensure their businesses can still run successfully and efficiently. Every business is being impacted by Coronavirus, even some of the biggest companies in the world are having to make changes – including Google!
Last week Google made the announcement that they would be limiting the functionality of Google My Business due to the ‘unprecedented COVID-19 situation’. In order to protect their teams and reduce the need for people to be in the offices, Google began enforcing the below limitations.
Business Information Edits
When you edit your Google My Business listing, the changes you make often require Google verification. Understandably, this can take some time, so Google have announced that they will be prioritising any changes made to the listings of health-related businesses. They will also be prioritising changes that are based around opening hours and business closures.
Newly Created Listings, Claims and Verifications
Google also announced that they would prioritising and manually reviewing the new listings, claims and verifications for health-related businesses. They have advised that there will be delays on these services as a result.
Reviews and Q&A
The final change Google announced was that new reviews, review responses and all Q&A activity would be unavailable across all listings. As well as limiting the amount of management time Google employees would usually dedicate to these services, disabling the collection of new reviews could help businesses that are also having to close during this time.
How to Continue Your Review Collection
Whilst this is not ideal for businesses during the pandemic, the limitation on Google reviews does not have to stop them from building your review base.
Instead, businesses should use this time to continue to focus on collecting reviews on other review platforms. Collecting this valuable feedback will help your business to show prospective customers that you are still providing a brilliant service, and when the COVID-19 situation is over you will be able to emerge with an even stronger business.
Trustist can help with this by aggregating your reviews from wherever they exist including existing Google reviews and bringing them into one account for you to manage. We also help you to collect new reviews on your chosen platforms, with the additional ability to collect your own white-labelled reviews!
You can then utilise your reviews by using the Trustist widget on your website. The widget shows your overall review aggregation to potential clients on your website and to Google via Structured Data – this Structured Data then causes stars to display with your listings in natural search results which helps you to stand out from competition and increases the traffic you receive to your website.
As a result of working with us, one particular franchise client saw 7,900 more clicks to their website from natural search results in a 3-month period.