The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause mayhem across the globe. Businesses are now struggling to adapt to the necessary changes governments have made to slow down the spread. Some businesses are lucky enough to move to a work-from-home model or transition into online only. Not all businesses have those options. For many, they’re faced with temporarily closing completely for the time being.
That raises the question: should you mark your business “temporarily closed” on Google My Business?
Google seems to be urging businesses to do just that. They have limited capacity on the GMB platform and have multiple reminders urging businesses to keep their info updated. This makes sense- Google’s aim is to provide users will accurate information. However, many businesses have been wondering whether this has any impact on SEO rankings.
Permanently closing down a Google My Business account has a drastic effect on SEO rankings. So does temporarily closing it down have the same impact?
The answer isn’t exactly clear.
Originally when the feature was launched at the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, a warning appeared explicitly stating that closed businesses will appear on Google with reduced visibility.
That stances seem to have changed now. Google now states that a temporarily closed business will be treated the same as an open business.
“If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers…Marking your business temporarily closed will not affect search ranking and it will be treated similar to open businesses.”
Not everyone is convinced of this change. Many businesses have noticed a drop in rankings after marking their businesses as temporarily closed due to COVID-19. There could be a few reasons for this. One is that Google’s updated algorithm is viewing temporarily closed unfavorably. Another reason could be that users are simply not clicking on these temporarily closed businesses as often, which organically impacts rankings.
So what should businesses do?
If your business is completely closed due to COVID-19, both in-person and online, it probably is a good idea to mark your Google My Business as temporarily closed. Unless you are able or willing to work during these times, you want to keep users informed with your current business hours.
For businesses that are partially working, or have moved to an online presence, the answer isn’t so clear. It should be made on an individual basis for what is best for your brand.