Everything looked quiet on the local ranking front … not much movement in listing ranks other than the normal bumping around that is pretty much status quo these days. But all of that changed today with more significant volatility in local search rankings as you can see in the BrightLocal RankFlux tool. We’re not quite sure what this means yet, but will be keeping an eye on it.
More New Changes Because of COVID
The changes around COVID-19 information and mandates have continued since last week. Everything seemed to quiet down just a bit at the end of last week, but the last couple of days have been busy with new features and some refinements to existing features for a few categories. Most changes seem to be centered around the healthcare and food/restaurant categories.
April 1 – COVID-19 posts showing up at the top of the business listing on mobile. Google rolled out this change but wasn’t extremely clear on the “where” it would be visible. Trial and error found it to be captive to mobile devices. As of today, t’s still not more visible in desktop environs.
April 1 – Adding special hours to your GMB listing will remove the COVID-19 warning that has been present on all GMB business listings. You will still see a message on the map packs and map search results, but the message disappears from the individual business listings. This is helpful for businesses that are still operating and don’t want their potential customers to question whether or not the information in their business listing is accurate!
April 6 – Google adds more changes to maps, including labels for map pins to indicate takeout, delivery or temporarily closed. This is a handy addition as the individual listing doesn’t have to be clicked on to indicate whether or not the listing has what the searcher may be looking for.
April 7 – The maps feature implemented on the 6th has been taken one step further with a “sort” feature now visible on mobile. You can click on the bubble and then are taken to restaurants that only offer takeout and delivery.
April 7 – Google My Business rolls out more links in the GMB dashboard for healthcare categories. Now doctors, clinics, dentists and other medical care categories can add links for telemedicine, COVID-19 info. We’ve not seen these live on a business listing as of the writing of this article, although it’s likely to show up in the very short term.