Google Limits GMB Functionality Due to COVID-19: How Will Your Medical Practice Be Affected?

Posted on Mar 23, 2020 by


We’re living in unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic, and medical practices are in the thick of it. You’re making daily adjustments as the situation changes, facing new, stringent guidelines you have to implement, and even rationing or postponing patient care in some cases. We want to make you aware of some recent changes that could affect your medical practice regarding GMB functionality and let you know how we can help to manage these new restrictions.

On Friday, Google published a post outlining some temporary changes they are implementing to keep their staff safe and comply with social distancing guidelines. It’s important to note that they are prioritizing their services for critical health-related businesses. So while the GMB listings for your medical practices and physicians will be affected, we can still help you get your patients the information they need. 

What features are being limited, and how will it affect your medical practice?

Reviews

Patients can still leave reviews during this time, but you will not see them and they won’t show up publicly on your GMB profiles. You will also not be able to reply to reviews for now.

How will this affect my practice?

Your reviews and star rating will freeze where they are. You will still be collecting very important reviews during this time that capture the service you are providing during the pandemic. When Google removes the functional limitations and restrictions, you may see an influx of reviews. Our platform will make it easy to handle the rush of reviews, and we will be here to help.

What should you be doing now? 

Keep sending out those automated review requests to patients so you can capture feedback during the COVID-19 situation. We will help you leverage those reviews when they become public down the road. In other words, you can focus on supporting your patients, your doctors, and the community

Update Business Information

Google is prioritizing edits made to business profiles of critical health-related businesses. They are specifically focusing on locations, operation times, open and close states, and business descriptions for all business profiles so the public can stay informed with critical information. 

Let us help you make any changes or updates. Please call or email.

How will this affect my practice? 

Health-related businesses like hospitals and medical practices are a priority for Google during the pandemic, and that’s good news for you. Though there may be some delays in reviewing edits made to GMB business profiles, your changes will take precedence. Google understands how critical it is for you to inform your patients of necessary changes and urgent information and will get that information updated as quickly as possible.  

What should you be doing now? 

You can still make edits to your business information, and you should definitely keep your office hours current and make updates with any new information your patients need to see on your GMB listing. If you need to make changes, please reach out to us. We can help you make changes in all your GMB listings at once through our platform. 

Q&A

The Question and Answer feature on your GMB listing will not be working during this time and has been removed from many pages.

How will this affect my practice? 

You will not be able to use this feature, so if you anticipate a lot of questions from your patients, you will need to answer them in your other communications or set up a helpline. 

What should you be doing now? 

If you need to send out answers to common questions your patients are asking or if you have any communications you want to send them, please let us know. During the COVID-19 situation, we can use our platform to send communications to your patients through text or email. Please read Patient Communications for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates for more information. 

Adding, Claiming, and Verifying Listings

Google is limiting how they review new listings, claims, and verifications for businesses, but again, healthcare businesses will be prioritized. Here’s the word straight from Google: 

“Our support team will manually review new listings, claims, and verifications for critical health-related businesses. While we prioritize these critical services, please expect a delay for publication of new listings, claims, and verifications for other types of businesses to Google Search and Maps.”

How will this affect your practice? 

Since Google is prioritizing critical health-related businesses, you will still be able to add, claim, and verify your GMB listings. 

What should you be doing now?

If you have any new GMB listings to add, claim, or verify, please give us a call. We can help you streamline the process. 

What else do you need to know? 

It is important that you continue to collect reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though you won’t be able to see the reviews at this time, we are confident that once this situation has calmed down, the reviews will be available to you. Bringing in reviews during the pandemic will make sure medical consumers down the road will be able to see feedback on the amazing service you are providing your patients during this time and put you in a strong position moving forward. You want to be positioned to be the obvious choice for your future patients. 

Your hands are full offering support to your team. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please contact us so we can help you in the following ways: 

We know you are on the front lines during this pandemic, and we are here to support you in any way we can. Please let us help with your critical communications and your future patient base so you can put all your focus where it needs to be right now: keeping your patients, your staff, and your community as healthy as possible.

Share this:

Posted in Google My Business