As many of us in the digital marketing and SEO world know, Google likes to change things on us pretty much all the time. This applies to the regular Google search results rankings but also to Google My Business, or GMB as we like to call it.
And as everyone in the world knows, COVID-19 has changed countless things in our lives… and GMB is definitely one of those things. During COVID, GMB updates have been broad, frequently added, removed, re-added, and replaced. So let’s buckle up and take a look at some of these changes that we’ve been seeing!
‘Temporarily Closed’ Feature
On March 26, 2020, the ability to mark your business as temporarily closed was back as a Google My Business optional feature. Initially, Google planned to offer this feature for a limited time, but they haven’t mentioned the feature going away anytime soon.
Quick Tip: The only way to mark your business as “Temporarily Closed” is by signing into the Google My Business dashboard.
On May 13, 2020, Google released the option to add secondary hours to your business listing. However, the update was only offered to limited industries, primarily businesses in the medical field. Since then, Google has slowly rolled out the option to add secondary hours across most business types, but they only allow you to select a label from a limited list of options.
On July 22, 2020, Google released the option for business listing owners to upgrade their GMB profile for $50.00 per month. The upgrade will add a Google Guaranteed badge to your listing and back the services your business provides.
This is interesting because the information across all listings should already be ‘Google Guaranteed’. For example, for a listing to go live, it must be created, verified by Google, and any profile updates are approved or disapproved by Google. Google’s listing updates will typically override your listing details if you aren’t regularly rejecting them.
Quick Tip: Think twice before you upgrade because there is zero guarantee your listing will rank higher on SERP’s or the local map pack.
Last Updated Hours
In late July, Google released a ‘last updated hours icon’ across business profiles to display when business hours were last updated. This seems helpful from a user standpoint, but the icon is extremely vague. The alert does not specify if the updates were made on the primary, secondary hours, or both.
Quick Tip: Create a Google My Business post with your business hour details. Or update your business description with your hours of operation.
Map and Google Search Editing
On August 13, 2020, Google announced Map and Google Search editing features for GMB certified listings owners. Users can create posts, reply to reviews, add photos, and update business information directly from Maps and Google Search on desktop or mobile. However, after testing these editing options, they aren’t as impactful as Google described in their announcement. See the table below for test specifics.
Editing Test – Adding Secondary Hours
For this test, we were logged into our Google account linked to a verified listing and tried to change secondary hours.
|Device Type & Platform||Test Result||Test Details||Example|
|Chrome Desktop – Google Search||FAILED||Users can’t add or edit secondary hours on desktop Google Search. You can only update your primary set of hours.||
|Chrome Desktop – Knowledge Panel||FAILED||On a desktop, users can’t add or edit secondary hours on the knowledge panel. You can only update your primary set of hours||
|Chrome Desktop – Google Maps||FAILED||On a desktop, users can’t edit or add secondary hours on Google Maps, users can only add/update the primary business. In addition, Maps does not include an ‘Edit your business’ button, you must click on ‘Suggest an edit’||
|Mobile IOS – Chrome App Google Search||FAILED||Users can’t edit or add secondary hours on mobile search, you can only update your primary business hours by clicking on ‘Edit Profile’.||
|Mobile IOS – Chrome App Knowledge Panel||FAILED||On mobile, users can’t edit or add secondary hours on the knowledge panel, you can only update your primary business hours.||
|Mobile IOS – Google Maps App||FAILED||On mobile, users can’t edit or add secondary hours using the Google Maps App. Users can only update your primary business hours.||
|Mobile IOS – Google My Business App||PASSED||On mobile, you can add secondary hours using the Google My Business app, however, you can’t label the secondary hours.||
Test Results and Takeaways
Adding secondary hours, which is classified as ‘business information’, can’t be done on Maps or Google Search. If you want to add or edit your secondary hours and add a label, you must be signed into the Google My Business dashboard on desktop.
The next option would be to download the GMB App, then you can create a post with your secondary hour information.
Lastly, you can add or edit secondary hours without a label on the Google My Business App.
When Google releases any new features, the capabilities of those new features are never crystal clear. We suggest you do your own feature testing to determine those capabilities.
Typically, the best way to access full capabilities on all features is to use the Google My Business dashboard on desktop rather than on mobile.