In an effort to protect its staff members and reduce the need for employees, Google has temporarily limited or removed certain features from Google My Business pages. They’ve also added fields for health and medical professionals to add COVID-19 information and telehealth information.
GMB business information
Google will be prioritizing the following edits to Google My Business listings for health-related services. If Google deems your practice to not be critical, there may be a delay in these changes.
- Business hours
- Special Hours
- Temporary Closures
- Business descriptions
- Business attributes
New reviews, review replies and new QA’s have been temporarily suspended. Existing reviews will still be visible.
Google has most likely taken this measure to ensure the validity of information and to ensure the information posted is from a trusted source.
Claims, listings, and verifications
Google will be prioritizing the reviews of claims, listings, and verifications for critical health-related businesses. All other businesses can expect to experience a delay in publishing. Google posts have not been affected for now.
New GMB Fields – Telehealth & COVID-19 Links
Although this is relatively new and Google is still rolling this out. They have recently introduced two new fields on their business information pages that give healthcare professionals the ability to add links to information regarding COVID-19 and telehealth (virtual consultations). Allowing for those health and medical providers to keep their patients informed and connected during the pandemic.
What does this mean for my Medical Practice or Recovery Center?
Business Information Updates – During this time, it’s more critical than ever to ensure that your business information is kept up-to-date such as hours of operation, temporary closures, alternative contact methods, business descriptions, and more. Remember that with the rapidly shifting landscape of essential and non-essential business operations, customers will be looking to Google to provide the most up-to-the-minute information.
Telehealth & COVID-19 updates – If your practice or center is still providing virtual consultations or appointments, it’s important to make sure you add a link to your consultation platform in the field provided. Also, make sure to link out to COVID-19 information relevant to your business in the corresponding field to ensure your patients are up-to-date. And make sure to stay up to date on the latest GMB changes from Google and how this affects you.
Reputation Management – Online Google reviews should always be actively managed, especially in uncommon times like these when a patient review could be posted based on your shifting hours, decrease in availability, and/or necessity to reschedule appointments. Although reviews are temporarily suspended, submissions will eventually go through and this is a great opportunity to get ahead of it and plan proper replies and strategies to rectify any negative feedback.