Impact of COVID19 on Local Google My Business

Impact of COVID19 on Local Google My Business

It’s nearly impossible for businesses to avoid impact from the pandemic.The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed a million. The shelter-in-place orders remain in many states. At this point, it’s just important to begin to identify all of the ways businesses are impacted negatively and work to mitigate damage. 

One particular and often underestimated area is, Google My Business (GMB). GMB experienced a sharp performance drop in impressions. In an article by the Search Engine Journal it was reported that in light of COVID-19 the following have experienced a performance drop:

  • Google My Business views
  • Clicks-to-driving directions
  • Clicks-to-call
  • Click-through to websites

In early April, the non-profit organization Main Street America conducted an online survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the approximately 300,000 small businesses across the network. The survey concluded that: 

  1. Due to the loss of millions of dollars in revenues, unemployment has increased exponentially.
  2. If the crisis continues through the end of 2020, more than 7 million small businesses may be at risk.
  3. We don’t know exactly how long this could go on for, therefore, businesses will have to adjust to a “new normal” way of doing business. 

The good news? There is still hope!

 

Local Pack SEO

Implementing online strategies, such as local search engine optimization (SEO), is more powerful than ever. Local SEO can help nearby customers find your business on Google and other search engines. Local 3-Pack Example

In addition to SEO, businesses can utilize Google My Business (GMB) to display their information on both Google search and maps. It shows your business address, contact details, descriptions, attributes and more— so it is necessary that it is consistent and updated. GMB also allows your business to showcase what your business can provide, stand out qualities, and your services compared to that of similar providers. 

Using both local SEO and GMB, businesses can position themselves in the coveted local SEO 3-pack. The 3-pack is the collection of the first three businesses you see in the search results when using keywords like “near me” or “near [Location].”

 

How to Get in the Local 3-Pack

How can your business land in that coveted top 3 positions? Here are some ways you can optimize your ranking: 

  • Make sure that your Google My Business (GMB) page is entirely filled in and up-to-date.
  • Get your customers to leave a review on your GMB profile.
  • Create relevant links and backlinks.
  • Build your social media presence and post consistently.

Above all, to achieve a higher ranking, it is essential that your GMB page is accurate and complete. 

 

Positive Changes 

The silver lining is that experts are seeing gradual improvement happening, as the curve flattened out towards the end of March. This suggests customers are engaging with businesses with a sense of normalcy. 

On the more technical side, GMB is going through a lot of helpful changes, so it is important to remain aware and updated. They have added features to assist businesses that are only partially open by allowing you to add new attributes to your account such as “curbside pickup” or “no contact delivery.” 

So what is next? Below are some of our top tips to have your listing up to date and prepared for the reopening of America:

  • Continue to keep your listing updated
  • Optimize your listing based on GMB Insights, which gives you an idea on how customers find your listing
  • Post photos and other relevant content that your target audience will want (you may try using Google Post)
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google page but be aware that the reviews are taking time to be published due to Google reallocating its resources. For example, we had a review posted 2 weeks ago that was just visible to us yesterday.
  • Respond to comments and questions immediately
  • Add offers to your listing

 

Talk to local marketing specialists and SEO experts for more customized assistance. For a free Google My Business Audit you can email digital@15000cubits.com or contact us now!

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May the Fourth Be With This Google Core Algorithm Update

May the Fourth Be With This Google Core Algorithm Update

Image of May 4th Algorithm Update Star Wars

A Google core update happens only a few times per year. This update launched on May 4th and is the second core update of 2020. 

And in case this core update impacts your business, we didn’t want to leave you like Leia in Star Wars saying, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope” after the fact. 

We are going to break this down piece by piece to help you understand how this may impact your business.

 

Google Core Algorithm 2020 Overview

Google made broad system changes to their search result algorithm. While you may notice changes to your search results at any time, core updates are known for causing significant changes to Google results in a short period of time. 

Google claims it doesn’t target any particular website during an update. However, it does affect how your content is analyzed, making it normal to see a big drop or rise in your rankings. Therefore, if you see a big drop, this does not mean the content is violating their guidelines or has been targeted by Google, it just means their algorithm is grading your content differently.

Image of Star Wars themed analytics

 

What do we know about this Google Core Update?

This is the first update launched since the general outbreak of COVID-19. During the last update in January, the virus was still confined to parts of China and was not yet considered a global concern. Since then, Google has announced that searches related to COVID-19 have skyrocketed to historic highs of any topic they have ever measured. Since Google does not specify what the core update changes made are, we can only speculate how much of it is related to COVID-19.

 

How can the May Google update impact you?

In this latest update, Google clarified that pages can drop even if nothing is wrong with them. This is due to the changing priorities and how content is examined. Even though we don’t know the specifics of the update, there are still things you can do if you see a significant drop in your rankings. Google advises on improving your content quality and providing original and substantial information. 

Image of Star Wars themed google update changes

You can see the full list of advice Google gives in its official release here. Due to the volatility in rankings this will cause for the next few weeks, now is the best time to update your SEO for maximum results.

 

How to monitor for impact?

Expect to see at least some impact due to this update on your website. We recommend keeping a close eye on your page rankings on Google search, as well as traffic and sources on Google analytics for the next few weeks. If you see a sudden drop or rise in the website rankings, then it will also affect the amount of traffic the website receives shortly after. Consider other websites will also be making changes due to the update, so those initial ranking changes might not be as permanent as they first appear. 

Instructions to check the impact on your website traffic –

Go to Google Analytics account. 

  1. Click Acquisition.
  2. Click the date and set May 4th as the starting date.
  3. Click organic search.

Instructions to check google update changes on analytics

In the organic window you can see how much your organic traffic has been affected since the May 4th update!

Instructions to check organic traffic

 

Not sure where to start? We are here to help!

Do you need an extra hand with your website and digital marketing? We at 15000 Cubits specialize in helping small businesses get up to date with the fast moving online world of marketing. Contact us for an audit today!