Google Reviews: Corona virus affects your Local SEO and your Business Reviews!
You may or may not have noticed Google Reviews and Carona (COVID-19) have something in common now. If you have tried to leave a Google review or requested someone to leave on on your behalf, the button or the option to is gone now (or for now atleast).
Why are we not allowed to leave a Google Review?
Corona is not a computer virus and no Google was not infected with this virus. Google’s response: due to the Carona (COVID-19) there is less workforce to man the review spam filtering and Google reviews. The remaining staff is said to only focus on health related organizations at this moment. This means that ability to leave Google Map Reviews, Questions and Answers section, and approval of certain listing edits are temporary suspended due to Corona Virus situation. Official Google statement about the Carona (COVID-19):
The Good News
There are actual eyes on Google reviews that people submit and so spam reviews to get filtered by supposedly actual humans and not robots. They are likely contractors that were sent home, hopefully not laid off, as actual employees are focusing on core Google operations, and health related up-keep. Critical health related services and organizations should be covered and prioritized, and it seems that they are. Which is important at a time like this. Health industry is fighting on the frontline at this time.
Phil Rozek, localvisibilitysystem, mentioned some Google star reviews may still post with text omitted. And I am able to support this claim as we have seen that on our listing as well. Also Mike Blumenthal, in his updates on this google review corona issue also had mentioned that some reviews are able to be submitted but are not showing up (so if you have a pending review all hope is NOT lost).
The Bad News
How can my business respond this Corona Google Review Issue?
Your Local SEO Review Funneling strategy
This shouldn’t be of surprise to our clients, but to reiterate this important point. Your local SEO review strategy does not just have one favorite place you like to collect your reviews. But its a priority structure, if first choice is not available in this case, Google reviews, you have: Facebook, Yelp, Citysearch, Angies List, etc. But again dont blindly choose a place, this should be clear in your strategy. If first choice is not available you have next listing that needs its review to give your customers a better understanding of your business to build trust and authority.
Other good suggestions to optimize and be strategic with your Local SEO reviews
What about that Corona Virus Email from Google recently?
This basically says that Google My Business you have been ignoring you should keep it update with any Corona virus related re-scheduling or changes to your business. This is great, but what about the above information that says no one is there to approve my changes to the Google My Business listing. Our suggestion:
1) Make changes to any area that has changed in your business to make your customers/clients/patients aware especially if you are in a critical industry at this time.
2) Definitely use the Create a Post feature this is really important, as these should post right away and update your users. This is an area many business owners don’t take advantage of, but at this time it may be the only critical way to update your users. Again do all the other options above. But this one is not to be omitted.