The Impact of COVID-19 on Local SEO and GBP

Table Of Content

A person working on her business during pandemic and uses local seo
The Impact of COVID-19 on Local SEO and GBP 5

Local SEO and Google Business profiles have always been integral to the success of small businesses in the digital age. They provide a platform for companies to showcase their products and services to potential customers in their local area, boosting visibility and driving foot traffic. However, the landscape has dramatically changed with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing businesses to adapt to a new reality.

Before delving into the impact of COVID-19 on local SEO and Google Business profiles, it is crucial to understand their significance in the digital marketing world. Local SEO focuses on optimizing a website’s visibility for location-specific searches, allowing businesses to target potential customers in their immediate vicinity. On the other hand, Google Business profiles provide businesses with an online presence, allowing them to display key information such as contact details, operating hours, and customer reviews, among other things.

With the arrival of the pandemic, businesses worldwide faced unprecedented challenges, including temporary closures and restrictions on in-person interactions. As a result, it became crucial for businesses to adapt to the new reality and shift their focus online. This shift was not only necessary to survive the crisis but also to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world.

The impact of COVID-19 was felt firsthand by businesses relying heavily on foot traffic. With people encouraged to stay at home and physical stores temporarily closing their doors, the need for a strong online presence became imperative. As a result, many businesses had to pivot quickly and optimize their local SEO strategies to capture the attention of customers who were now searching for products and services online.

Additionally, Google Business profiles played a significant role during these unprecedented times. They allowed businesses to update their operating hours and communicate any changes directly to their customers. This real-time communication was invaluable in ensuring that customers were kept informed and businesses could continue to serve their customers amidst the chaos.

The impact of COVID-19 on local SEO and Google Business profiles has been profound, requiring businesses to adapt and take advantage of online opportunities to survive. In the following sections, we will explore the various aspects of this impact and discuss strategies that businesses can implement to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Changes in Local SEO Ranking Factors

A person using a laptop for local seo purposes.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Local SEO and GBP 6

In the wake of the global pandemic, COVID-19, businesses across the world have faced numerous challenges. As part of their response to the crisis, search engine giant Google has made significant changes to its ranking algorithm, with a focus on providing users with the most accurate and up-to-date information. This has resulted in the emergence of new local SEO ranking factors, which have the potential to impact the visibility and success of businesses in the digital landscape.

1. Identification of changes in Google’s ranking algorithm due to COVID-19:

Google has placed a heightened emphasis on ensuring that users are provided with accurate information regarding the operating hours, contact details, and safety measures implemented by businesses during the pandemic. This means that businesses that are quick to adapt and effectively communicate these changes to their customers are more likely to rank higher in search results.

2. New ranking factors that emphasize safety measures and digital presence:

With the outbreak of COVID-19, safety measures and precautions have become a top priority for consumers worldwide. Consequently, Google’s ranking algorithm has been updated to favor businesses that prioritize and prominently display their safety protocols on their websites. This includes measures such as social distancing, sanitization, and mandatory mask-wearing. Moreover, businesses with a strong digital presence, including responsive websites and active social media profiles, are also being favored in search rankings.

3. Importance of maintaining accurate business information and keeping Google Business profiles updated:

During this period of uncertainty, consumers are relying heavily on search engines like Google to find accurate and trustworthy business information. As a result, it is crucial for businesses to ensure that their listings on Google Business profiles are consistently updated. This includes providing correct business hours, contact information, and any changes in services or delivery options. Inaccurate or outdated information can result in a poor user experience and negative customer reviews, which can significantly impact search rankings.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about substantial changes in Google’s local SEO ranking factors. Businesses that adapt quickly, communicate their safety measures effectively, and maintain an accurate online presence are likely to reap the benefits of improved visibility and increased customer engagement. As the situation continues to evolve, it is essential for businesses to stay vigilant, closely monitor any changes in the ranking algorithm, and adjust their SEO strategies accordingly to remain competitive in the digital landscape.

Google My Business Updates

With the onset of the pandemic, businesses had to quickly adapt and find new ways to engage with their customers. Google recognized this need and made several updates to its Google My Business platform to help businesses navigate these challenging times. In this blog post, we will explore the updates made to Google My Business during the pandemic and how they can benefit businesses by improving local SEO and attracting customers.

  1. Google introduced the option for businesses to add virtual appointments to their listings. This feature proved to be invaluable for service-based businesses that were no longer able to provide in-person consultations. By offering virtual appointments, businesses were able to maintain a level of customer interaction while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This not only improved customer satisfaction but also allowed businesses to tap into a broader customer base, thereby attracting more potential clients.
  1. Google My Business introduced the option to showcase online services. This proved to be a great advantage for businesses that had to shift their operations online. By promoting online services directly on their listings, businesses were able to reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to their websites. This, in turn, led to increased visibility in local search results and improved local SEO.
  1. Google implemented COVID-19 messaging on Google My Business listings. This allowed businesses to communicate relevant information to their customers, such as changes in hours, safety protocols, and other important updates. By keeping their customers informed, businesses were able to build trust and reassure customers that their safety was a priority. Additionally, this messaging feature helped businesses establish their credibility and reliability, attracting more customers in the process.

The updates made to Google My Business during the pandemic have provided businesses with valuable tools to adapt and thrive. Leveraging features such as virtual appointments, online services, and COVID-19 messaging has several benefits. These include improved local SEO, increased visibility, access to a wider customer base, improved customer satisfaction, and the ability to establish credibility and trust with customers. By embracing these updates, businesses can better navigate the pandemic and attract more customers in the process.

Online Reviews and Reputation Management

A map with a magnifying glass that shows corona virus
The Impact of COVID-19 on Local SEO and GBP 7

In the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of online reviews and reputation management has only grown. As people increasingly rely on the internet to make decisions about products and services, businesses must understand the impact of COVID-19 on online reviews and consumer behavior and take steps to manage their online reputation effectively.

The pandemic has altered consumer behavior in significant ways. With restrictions on physical interactions and limited access to brick-and-mortar establishments, people have turned to online shopping and research more than ever before. Online reviews are becoming a crucial component of the decision-making process in this new environment. Consumers want to know about the experiences of others, and the opinions of their peers hold more weight than ever. With fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus, people are particularly cautious about how businesses are responding to the crisis. They look for evidence of safety measures, such as mask mandates and social distancing protocols, and rely on online reviews to evaluate if a business aligns with their values and priorities.

This brings us to the importance of managing online reputation during the pandemic. Negative online reviews can harm a business’s reputation and deter potential customers. In this era of increased online research, businesses cannot afford to overlook the impact of negative feedback. It is crucial to respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews. Acknowledging feedback, addressing concerns, and demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction can go a long way in building trust with consumers. Furthermore, businesses must not hesitate to leverage positive reviews for marketing purposes, sharing testimonials and endorsements to showcase their credibility and reliability.

In order to effectively manage their online reputation during the pandemic, here are some tips for businesses. First and foremost, monitor online reviews across various platforms regularly. Both positive and negative reviews should be acknowledged, as this shows that the business values customer feedback. When responding to negative reviews, it is crucial to remain calm and empathetic and offer solutions or compromises. Remember that potential customers are also observing these interactions, and how a business handles criticism can make or break their reputation. Lastly, businesses should actively seek out positive reviews by encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences. This can be done through post-purchase emails, social media campaigns, or even offering incentives for leaving reviews.

As the pandemic continues to shape consumer behavior, businesses must adapt to the new online landscape. Managing online reviews and reputation effectively can have a significant impact on a business’s success during these challenging times. By understanding the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior, prioritizing reputation management, and following helpful tips, businesses can build trust with consumers and thrive in the digital marketplace.

Local SEO Strategies During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted businesses worldwide, making it crucial for local businesses to adapt their marketing strategies to the current environment. We will discuss effective local SEO strategies that can help businesses improve their online visibility and reach during these challenging times.

1. Create Valuable and Relevant Content: One of the most important local SEO strategies during COVID-19 is to create content that addresses the concerns and needs of your target audience. This can include helpful guides, safety measures, and updates related to your industry. By providing valuable and relevant content, you can establish yourself as a thought leader and build trust with your customers.

2. Optimize for Local Searches: With consumers relying more on online searches for local businesses, it is crucial to optimize your website for local SEO. Ensure that your website includes relevant keywords, location-specific landing pages, and accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information. Consider adding schema markup to provide search engines with additional information about your business.

3. Adapt Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile: Update your GMB profile with the latest information about your business, including updated hours, delivery options, and safety protocols. Encourage customers to leave reviews and respond to them promptly. Utilize GMB’s new features, like posts and attributes, to highlight any COVID-19 related offerings or services.

4. Engage with Your Local Community: During these uncertain times, showing support for your local community can go a long way in building goodwill and enhancing your local SEO. Consider sponsoring local events or initiatives, collaborating with other businesses, or donating to local charities. Engage with your audience on social media by sharing useful information and responding to their comments and inquiries.

5. Monitor and Adapt to Changing Consumer Behavior: The pandemic has drastically changed consumer behaviors and preferences. Stay updated with the latest trends and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. For example, if more people are searching for online services, ensure your website provides a seamless online experience. Consider investing in local online advertising platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a wider audience.

Adapting your local SEO strategies to the current COVID-19 environment is essential for the success of your business. By creating valuable content, optimizing for local searches, updating your GMB profile, engaging with your local community, and monitoring consumer behavior, you can improve your online visibility and attract more customers during these challenging times. Stay agile, stay relevant, and keep connecting with your audience in meaningful ways.

A cellphone with a location ping pop up that represents local seo
The Impact of COVID-19 on Local SEO and GBP 8


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, local SEO and Google Business profiles have witnessed a significant impact. Businesses that relied heavily on foot traffic and local customers were forced to adapt to a rapidly changing digital landscape. As we come to the end of our investigation into this subject, it is critical to highlight the most important lessons learned and stress how crucial it is to embrace digital marketing tactics and adjust to the new normal in order to prosper in the post-COVID world.

The pandemic has led to a surge in online searches as people turned to the internet to find local businesses that were still operating despite the lockdown measures. Google Business profiles became a lifeline for many establishments, providing essential information such as operating hours, services offered, and safety precautions. Companies that updated their profiles regularly with accurate and up-to-date information gained a competitive edge in winning the trust of potential customers.

Furthermore, the pandemic propelled businesses to strengthen their local SEO strategies to enhance online visibility. With more people relying on search engines for local information, it became imperative for businesses to optimize their websites and content to appear on the first page of search results for relevant keywords. Local businesses that proactively improved their SEO capabilities stood out from the crowd, attracting more customers and generating higher revenues.

As we move forward, adapting to the new normal is crucial. The pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer behaviors, with a significant portion of the population now preferring online shopping and contactless services. Businesses need to recognize and respond to this shift by developing robust digital marketing strategies. Embracing e-commerce, investing in social media advertising, and nurturing a strong online presence are essential steps to remain competitive and tap into the growing digital market.

Businesses must also prioritize customer communication and engagement. Building a loyal customer base is increasingly reliant on maintaining strong connections and understanding customer needs and concerns. Leveraging platforms such as Google My Business, social media, and email marketing can help businesses foster these relationships, leading to increased customer satisfaction, repeat business, and positive reviews.

The impact of COVID-19 on local SEO and Google Business profiles has been profound. The pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to adapt their strategies and harness the power of digital marketing. By embracing the new normal, optimizing local SEO, and leveraging Google Business profiles effectively, businesses can not only survive but also thrive in the post-COVID era. The digital landscape may continue to evolve, but those who stay ahead of the curve will undoubtedly reap the rewards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Share this article

top 27 seo tips promo

🎁 Get FREE!

27 SEO Tips PDF To
Grow Your Business 🚀