Google turns on ‘mark a business temporarily closed’ for business owners on GMB

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Roughly a week a go, Google announced that Google Search and Maps will start showing whether a business is temporarily closed in response to the coronavirus crisis. This followed an earlier directive to local businesses to update hours and other relevant content in Google My Business.

Queries related to “opening hours” have been trending up as people try and figure out which businesses near them remain open and what their hours might be. This is especially true for grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s.

How to do it. Today, instructions appeared on how to “mark a business temporarily closed.” The capability is under “Close this business on Google.”

Here are the options that business owners will see: mark as temporarily closed, permanently closed or remove listing.

Special COVID Posts. Late last week, a number of local SEOs were complaining about various problems and delays in posting new listings or hours and address updates. Google is operating with reduced support staff and everything appears to be taking longer than normal. And until further notice, the company has also suspended “new reviews, review replies, and all Q&A.”

Earlier this week Google created a new category of Google Posts for COVID-19 related communication. It’s not clear whether the company will allow them to persist on profiles or whether they will need to be reposted or updated weekly.

Why we care. It’s critical for local business owners and brands to use the full capabilities of GMB to communicate updates to customers. Take a look at Google’s more general instructions and our COVID-19 SEO checklist.

This Friday I’ll be joined by Mary Bowling (SterlingSky), Adam Dorfman (, Niki Mosier (Two Octobers) and Krystal Taing (Rio SEO) to discuss what they’re seeing in the market, their customers’ top issues and what local marketers should focus on right now. Join us at 11 Pacific/12 Eastern on Live with Search Engine Land. 

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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