Supporting Multi-Location Businesses Through COVID-19

Updated March 27, 2020

As the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve rapidly and new information is emerging constantly, we will be continuously updating this post with the latest information and recommendations. For a current list of platform updates, blogs, resources and other useful links, please visit our COVID-19 Local Marketing Resources page.

COVID-19 Local Search Updates (Week of March 23)

March 27, 2020

It has been another busy week as businesses work to keep up with rapidly evolving situations at the local level, and as third-party platforms continue to make changes in order to support these efforts. We’ve worked with our local marketing experts to round up some of the most impactful updates from the past week, and answer the most commonly asked questions we’ve been receiving.

In this week’s update, we’ll cover the following local marketing updates from the past week:

  • GMB temporarily suspends new reviews, review responses, and Q&A
  • Yelp updates review guidelines for COVID-19 mentions
  • New COVID-19 Google Post type
  • New GMB profile attributes for restaurants
  • New GMB temporary closure functionality
  • Delays in GMB listings updates for non-healthcare businesses

We will continue to keep you informed on further developments as third-party platforms make additional changes. We encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest information and updates. Please reach out if you have any questions, or if there’s any support we can provide. Most importantly, we hope you are staying safe and healthy during this time.

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Update on Google and Yelp Reviews

March 20, 2020

As platforms are responding to the influx of reviews during the COVID-19 crisis, they are making changes to their sites. Our team has been monitoring these changes to keep you informed. It has come to our attention that both Google and Yelp have made what appear to be temporary changes to their review guidelines. See below for more information.

Google
Google has updated their official guidelines as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and has temporarily suspended new reviews, review responses, and Google Q&A functionality at this time. Additionally, Google is prioritizing edits critical to health-related businesses, therefore there may be a delay in the publication of updates to listings for other business types.

Yelp
Yelp has implemented special review guidelines designed to protect local businesses from reputational harm during this crisis, including a zero-tolerance policy 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.”

As we continue to monitor and observe changes these 3rd party platforms are making, we will keep you informed on further developments. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update and Recommended Actions

March 18, 2020

The past few days and weeks have been unusual and unpredictable, to say the least. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued its spread and become a global pandemic, it has shaken our economy, forced many businesses and schools to close, canceled or suspended sporting events, concerts and other mass gatherings, made travel uncertain, and created a massive shift to remote work for many companies, to name just a few of the many impacts to our daily lives.

We fully understand the importance of providing your customers with accurate, up-to-date information throughout the entire digital ecosystem, and our customer success and support teams are ready to support our customers throughout this challenging time. We are currently recommending the following actions/updates in order to maintain accurate business information and keep customers up to date:

  • Update listings with special hours or temporary closures
  • Update business descriptions to add custom COVID-19 messaging
  • Publish unique services and amenities (e.g., drive-thru, pick up, delivery, etc.)
  • Leverage Google Posts
  • Add messaging to local landing pages
  • Stay on top of reviews*

* Please note that as of 3/20/20 Google has temporarily suspended new reviews, review responses, and Google Q&A functionality. Additionally, Google is prioritizing edits critical to health-related businesses, therefore there may be a delay in the publication of updates to listings. For more information, please see Google’s support article: Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.

Our team is available to help implement these changes on behalf of our clients, and as we get support updates from other partners, we will share those as well.

Please note that due to the significant increase in requests to Google, we have observed longer than normal lead times for updating data in their platform. Although changes may go live more quickly, we are advising our customers that there may be a delay in submissions during this time.

A note on COVID-19 Testing Facilities: If your organization will be launching these, please let us know and we can work to publish separate listings for these, at no additional cost, on the sites that are accepting these.

We will continue to share new resources as they become available. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 Local Marketing Resources page.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns or requests you may have. We are happy to help in any way we can.

Wishing good health for you, your family and your entire organization.

Be well,
Team Rio