How to update your Google My Business listing to share temporary store closures

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Charlie Rudd

Head of Agency Performance

Google has released the following article outlining how best to keep in contact with customers:

Businesses affected by COVID-19: Provide customers with updated info
If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. For example, change your hours of operation if you’re closing early, or add more details to your description. The updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.

We are already suggesting to clients to make a variety of updates to their local seo listings to ensure that customers are aware of any change in the situation at their various store locations. Companies can do this by updating their trading hours (for example, McArthur Glen has reduced operating hours to 10am-6pm), by adding a post with a message from the company, or by ensuring all website URLs and contact information is correct. 

So, what is the protocol for stores that are closing for the foreseeable future?

Changing your opening hours to “closed” appears to be accurate in the back end, but the listing will update to show no business hours, which isn’t what we want.

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What can we do? There are two options… For small business owners we suggest a manual approach, but for businesses with multiple locations we suggest the bulk upload approach.

#1 Manual Upload: 

Ensure that your standard hours are the same and keep these as “open”:

We then need to use the “special hours” feature to show that the business is closed. Usually, these are used for public holidays, many of you will be aware of using “special hours” during the Christmas period.

To mark your business as closed you’ll need to list a series of dates, we have done this until the 30th of March in our example.

By adding the dates in separately and marking as closed, users will now view the listing as shown in our Apple Store example:

For one or two locations this method is fine, however, the best way to upload in bulk for multiple locations and to avoid human error is to use the bulk uploads spreadsheet. 

#2 Bulk Upload: 

The spreadsheet can be found by selecting all of your locations in your main GMB dashboard, clicking “actions” and then “locations” this will download a spreadsheet with information for all stores listed.

For the purposes of this blog post, the only area we want to change is the “special hours” column. In order for GMB to effectively read the spreadsheet it must be formatted in the correct way “YYYY-MM-DD: x,” the “x” marks that the store is closed on that day. Once this has been done for one location with all of the varying dates you can simply copy and paste this into all of the closing stores.

Tip: If you input the first special hours manually (as shown above for small businesses) and then download the spreadsheet, you won’t need to type the formats out you can simply copy and paste.

Once this completed, upload the finished spreadsheet to Google My Business and it will import all of the new information.

Failing this, you can contact GMB to temporarily close your business. However, they will need to be provided with a date and this will need to be extended should you not be open within a couple of weeks.

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Charlie Rudd

Head of Agency Performance

Charlie has worked her way up from Junior SEO, all the way to being the head of our delivery team at Liberty. Her service background consists of Food industry (AHDBs), Ecommerce and Beauty specifically in the past few years. In particular, Charlie enjoys learning about how people work, how our teams work. Communicating with every…

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