Google and Yelp are actively adapting their services to better support businesses during this difficult time. If you have visited Google My Business or your business’s Yelp page, you may have noticed some changes but may not understand why things have changed. We’ve included a summary of these important announcements below:
Google published a new help page on Friday, April 3, 2020, titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19” to address their services that businesses rely on (like reviews and business listings) and their rapid reorganization of priorities.
At this time, Google has determined that they will disable:
- Reviews, and this includes new reviews and the ability to reply to reviews
- The ability to post new Question and Answer content
Google chose to disable reviews because their plan is to “prioritize critical services.” Google explains: “We are currently focusing on the quality and reliability of information on Google Search and Maps, ensuring that users and business owners have access to essential features like whether the business is open and/or has special hours.”
And their priorities are also focused on additional support to the healthcare space. Any new listings in healthcare, as well as new claims for existing listings, will be subject to manual review; other new business listings and verifications may be delayed as health-related listings are prioritized.
Read Google’s post in its entirety.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman published a blog post on Friday, April 3, 2020, as well, to report details on Yelp’s crisis response and discuss how their efforts are supporting businesses. These new applications will help businesses to better communicate their available services to their local community. These offerings include:
- “Contact-free” delivery options that are available in the Yelp app, via a partnership with GrubHub, which will start next week.
- A new feature that lets restaurants specify that they are open but only for pick-up and delivery.
- The ability to add a banner alert to the top of your Yelp profile to announce any special circumstances. Yelp has also released tools so businesses can mark themselves as temporarily closed.
- A showcase of virtual services, like online classes and telehealth capabilities.
In addition to new features, Yelp also suspended any ad fees for small businesses and detailed a new set of special review content guidelines, including “zero tolerance for any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees, or negative reviews about a business being closed during what would be their regular open hours in normal circumstances.”
Yelp didn’t offer a date for when these features will be available, but you can expect these updates to be ready very soon. Read Yelp’s blog post in its entirety.
These added services should help businesses better communicate with their customers and the community. If you have any questions or need to reach out to AudiologyPlus, please feel free to contact us.