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Local Search New Features and Updates Related to COVID-19

Apr 03, 2020   |   SEO
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Local Search New Features and Updates Related to COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses around the world, many maps and local listing providers are changing how their directories operate. New and updated features are enabling businesses to communicate more effectively with their consumers, helping share information about hours of operation, availability of goods and services, and more. At Milestone, we are staying on top of these changes and will continue to update this document. Below is a current list of the major changes and opportunities available now.

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Google My Business

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Update Special Hours

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Businesses that have changed their “Hours of Operation” or are “Closed Up to 14 days” should update their Special Hours

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This feature is available on the GMB dashboard or leverage Milestone Local to push this data.

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This feature is available for all business verticals

gmb update special hours

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Mark Business as Temporarily Closed

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Businesses must be marked as closed if they will remain closed for an undetermined time, do not have an open date, or extend beyond 14 days.

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This feature is available on the GMB dashboard.

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This feature is available for all business verticals.

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This can currently only be done manually in the dashboard and is not recommended for chain businesses; leverage special hours instead.

gmb mark business as temporarily closed

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Attributes

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Attributes like Takeout, Dine-in and Delivery are being highlighted on Google maps and mobile devices for all dining and shopping categories.

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Adding these attributes can be done from the GMB dashboard or leverage Milestone Local to push this data.

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This feature is available for all Dining and Shopping verticals.

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Businesses, like restaurants can add “Curbside Pickup” or “Takeout Available” to their names without being penalized during this period. While outside of Google’s general rules, they are allowing it for the time being.

gmb attributes

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Google Post

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Posts are now available for all businesses–including chains– except for Hotels category business and is currently supported via API

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Businesses can create a Google Post related to “COVID – 19 update.”

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This feature is available on the GMB dashboard.

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New COVID-19 post is currently only available through the GMB dashboard (not API).

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COVID-19 posts cannot include images or videos, but will stay on the listing for 14 days and is currently being displayed higher up on the knowledge panel result in mobile search than a standard post.

google post

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Special Announcement

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Businesses can add special announcement schemas on the website pages specific to the COVID-19 information like events rescheduled or cancelled, quarantine guidelines, shelter-in-place, and more.

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This new schema mark-up is available but are not yet live on Google search.

gmb special announcement

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Support Resources

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Due to limited staff and healthcare business prioritization, Google is delayed in reviewing and publishing any changes on the GMB as of 04/03/2020

gmb support resources

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Google has created page for food-related businesses affected by COVID-19

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New reviews, new review replies, new short names, all videos, and all Q & A are unavailable at this time and will come back gradually 

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Update 4/7/2020: “Review replies are now available. Over the coming weeks, new user reviews, new user photos, new short names, and Q&A will be available. Their availability will gradually expand by country and business category.”

Yelp

Bullet 1

Update Special Hours

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Business who have changed their “hours of operation” or are “closed up to 14 days” should update their Special Hours.

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This feature is available on Yelp dashboards, or leverage Milestone Local to push this data via API.

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This feature is available for all business verticals.

yelp update special hours

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Temporary Closure

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Businesses must be marked as closed if they will remain closed until a specific date and will extend beyond 14 days.

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This feature is available on Yelp dashboard via Form, or leverage Milestone Local to push the data via API.

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This feature is available for all business verticals that have a business re-open date.

yelp temporary closure

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Yelp Advisory Announcements

Businesses can edit this alert to help you communicate specific updates about your business in response to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Advisory Alert is being displayed at the top of all Yelp Business Pages.

yelp advisory announcements

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Attributes

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Business attributes like Takeout and Delivery are available for restaurants and food businesses.

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This feature is available from Yelp dashboard for restaurants, or leverage Milestone Local to push this data.

yelp attributes

Business Highlights and Virtual Service Offerings

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Specific Business Highlights have been rolled out for Restaurants and online business and virtual classes

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This feature is available from Yelp dashboard and is complimentary for now. Up to 6 highlights can be selected.

yelp business highlights and virtual service offerings

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Support Resources

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Yelp is waiving ad fees for restaurant and bars.

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Special Messaging – special messaging to all profiles is available except those already marked “Temporarily Closed” or that have special hours in place.

TripAdvisor

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Special Hours and Attributes

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Businesses can add special hours and opening hours from the TripAdvisor dashboard

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This feature is available on TripAdvisor dashboards for specific verticals, like restaurants, shopping, bakeries, banks, etc.

tripadvisor special hours and attributes

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Temporary Closures

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Businesses must be marked as closed if they will remain closed until a specific date and will extend beyond 14 days.

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This feature is available on the TripAdvisor dashboard for all business verticals that have a business re-open date

tripadvisor temporary closure

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Attributes and Order Online

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Restaurants that use third-party delivery services (DoorDash, GrubHub, Seamless) will automatically have an “Order Online” button show on their listing.

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Restaurants moving to takeout or delivery-only due to COVID-19 can toggle this option in the Management Center dashboard to have this display on the listing.

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Attributes can be available from TripAdvisor dashboard.

tripadvisor attributes and order online

Bing

Update Special Hours

Business that have changed their “Hours of Operation” or are “Closed Up to 14 Days” should update their Special Hours.

This feature is available on the Bing dashboard or leverage Milestone Local to push this data.

This feature is available for all business verticals.

bing update special hours

Mark Business as Temporarily Closed

Business must be marked as closed if they will remain closed for an undetermined time, do not have an open date, or extend beyond 14 days.

This feature is available on the Bing dashboard.

This feature is available for all business verticals.

As this can currently only be done manually in the dashboard, it is not recommended for chain businesses; leverage special hours instead.

bing mark business as temporarily closed

Special Announcement

Businesses can add special announcement schemas on the website pages specific to COVID-19 messaging. Bing now supports the Special Announcement data type for coronavirus-related business, travel, government health agency, and testing center updates.

Support Resources

Apple Maps

Special hours – New feature just launched by Apple. Can be used by setting temporary hours in your business account.

apple maps special hours

Temporary closures – Must have a re-open date to activate this feature.

apple maps temporary closures

Attributes – Pickup and Delivery (for restaurants only)

Apple Maps Covid 19 Testing Locations

Businesses can submit locations by putting the info in Apple’s COVID-19-Locations-1.0 and emailing the sheet to [email protected].

Information about the locations submitted will be validated by Apple and may be viewable by people using Apple services such as Apple Maps.

Add the following point : text is below with graphic

Apple Maps Covid 19 Testing Locations

Facebook

Special hours – There are no specific special hours fields, so update standard hours as special hours

Temporary closures – Just made available. Currently only accessible on Facebook Page Manager Application for Android and iOS (not available in desktop editing).

facebook special hours temp close

Special announcement – use the “pin” feature to pin any important posts to the top of your page feed.

Foursquare

Special hours – New feature.

Business who have changed their “Hours of Operation” or are “closed up to 14 days” should update their Special Hours.

This feature is available for all business verticals and can be pushed from Milestone Local.

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Temporary closures – New feature

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Businesses must be marked as closed if they will remain closed for an undetermined time, do not have an open date, or extend beyond 14 days

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This feature is available for all business verticals and can be pushed from Milestone Local..

foursquare temporary closure

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