First, we want to reiterate that our team is working hard (from home) to support you during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more about how we’re responding to the situation on our blog COVID-19 and Your Dental Website.
Google My Business is one of the most important tools dentists have for local SEO search visibility. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has now impacted GMB, as Google has decided to temporarily disable and limit a number of popular features, including the ability to obtain and respond to client reviews. Here’s what you need to know:
GMB Features That Have Been Removed
These are the features that you and your patients will no longer be able to use:
- New Reviews – During this time, no new reviews will be published. Users can post reviews and see them, but they will not be viewable by the public.
- Review Replies – You will be unable to respond to reviews on your profile or edit replies you’ve written previously.
- Q&A – Questions and answers have been removed from profiles altogether. Your patients will not be able to read your Q&A content or post new questions.
GMB Features That Are Limited
These are the features that Google has decided to limit for the time being:
- Adding, Claiming, and Verifying Listings – Google is prioritizing health-related businesses, while all other businesses are being delayed. We do not believe dental practices will see an impact here.
- Editing Business Information – Again, Google is giving priority to health-related businesses here. Others will see delays in the posting of listing edits.
Read Google’s post about GMB changes here.
Why Is Google Making These Changes?
Like many businesses, Google is trying to quickly transition its team members to telecommuting, which means critical services need to be prioritized. With limited resources and availability, Google is diverting efforts from GMB and instead focusing on ensuring that information on Google Search and Maps is reliable.
Our Take on GMB Changes
COVID-19 has already taken such a dramatic toll on small businesses and these changes to GMB are another added stressor, especially as dental practices need to provide up-to-date information to their patients.
Will these changes have long-term implications for your practice and its local SEO? We don’t think so. Our guidance is to focus on building and improving the content on your website and engaging with patients on social media until you’re able to work on your GMB presence again. We also suggest that you use the “Add Update” feature in Google My Business “Posting” to communicate with your patients and provide the latest updates using your Google Profile.
How can we help support your dental practice right now? Don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with Dentalfone SEO. We’re always here for you.
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