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Google limits My Business listings during coronavirus outbreak, affects updates, more

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus — COVID-19 — is unprecedented in modern history and is taking a huge toll on businesses of all sizes. Recently, Google announced that its My Business listings would be affected during the coronavirus outbreak — here’s what you need to know.

In a brief post, Google explains that, as a result of the outbreak, the company has been taking steps to reduce the number of workers it needs in its offices. Because of the limits imposed on its workforce, Google is having to prioritize critical services.

For Google My Business, the service that powers millions of Google Maps and Search listings for local businesses, that delay from the coronavirus outbreak means a few things. Google will be prioritizing reviews for updates and new listings for medical-related businesses. Alongside that, the company will also “prioritize reviews for open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions, and business attributes edits for other verified businesses.”

Further, Google will manually review new listings, claims, and verifications for health-related businesses while delaying other types of businesses as a result. New reviews, review replies, and Q&A will also be disabled during the outbreak.

During the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, we are taking steps to protect the health of our team members and reduce the need for people to come into our offices. As a result, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support as we prioritize critical services.

Our current focus is on the quality and reliability of information on Google Search and Maps. We want to ensure users and business owners have access to essential features like whether the business is open or has special hours. Learn about best practices for affected businesses, and what you can do to keep your customers informed.

The effects of these changes are already being felt by business owners as well. SearchEngineLand spotted several reports of issues ongoing from owners, but since Google is understaffed at the moment, this probably won’t be fixed anytime soon.

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