listings management Archives - Binary Fountain

[Webinar Recap] Tips for 2021: Listings and Local Search ft. Ben Fisher

webinar-tips-2021-google-listingsYour listings on Google could make or break your brand in 2021, as consumers gravitate toward local search to make buying decisions.

What can marketers do to rank their business listings at the top of search results next year?

In this webinar, Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Platinum Product Expert, joins Binary Fountain to lay out specific ways you can optimize your business listings and put them in the best position for local search in 2021. He covers best practices, key features, and ways to create content-rich listings that outrank your competition and convert customers from search.

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Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

Key Google My Business Attributes for 2021

There are a few baseline best practices you must get right in 2021, according to Fisher. Make sure your business name is in compliance with Google My Business (GMB) standards, your categories are set properly, and you’ve optimized every aspect of GMB that you can – down to “year founded.”

Health & Safety attributes are also worth using and monitoring, as they will likely change as COVID-19 progresses and vaccines begin distribution. Keep an eye on your GMB dashboard to stay on top of these changes as they happen.

Fisher says marketers need to think about the customer experience more than ever. With so many GMB attributes being shown in search, your business listings are becoming a more frequent point of entry for consumers. Zero-click searches are rising in popularity, adding to the trend of customers making decisions on Google – before they find your website.

Google Posts and Q&A are also crucial for your 2021 digital marketing strategy. Upload photos on a regular basis – preferably every week. These should come from near your location, since Google encourages local images and discourages stock photos. Meanwhile, Google Posts are available for enterprises and franchises, offering a low-effort engagement channel with significant potential rewards.

Google Search and 2021 Trends to Watch

Google Search in 2021 comes down to the consumer experience. Local business information already displays for 80% of searches with local intent, so your locations need localized information to offer the best search experience to potential customers.

Meanwhile, the relationship between your website content and Google Search results is very close, Fisher says. As you add content to your website, keywords will start showing up in your keyword queries on GMB. Though your website is important for people who want to spend time there, GMB is becoming even more important for those wanting answers right now.

Google Reviews also play into search results, but are more important for the overall customer experience:

“Think about the customer and the fact that 79% of customers want to see that you’ve responded to reviews in the last two weeks,” Fisher says.

He recommends making a game plan to answer all reviews, positive and negative, within two weeks. It’s a great engagement strategy for existing customers and also for those considering your business.

Competitive Advantages for Google Listings in 2021

Fisher has one central piece of advice for those looking for competitive advantages on business listings: “Do your best to use all the features of GMB… Use it, abuse it. It’s free. Why not?”

For example, if you haven’t selected the Health & Safety attribute for staff wearing masks, consumers may automatically disqualify you from their search. Local-based citations can help too, along with reviews, posts and Q&A – all of which send engagement signals to Google.

One of the biggest new competitive advantages, Fisher says, is the Messaging feature, which is now being rolled out and expanded. Soon, when you create Google Posts, people will be able to message you directly from the Post.

Though changes are coming, Fisher’s key principles remain steady: Tending to GMB, producing high-quality marketing content and providing a good customer experience will lead to listings management success in 2021.

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Check out more episodes of our Tips for 21 webinar series:


Every Google My Business Attribute Available to Healthcare Businesses

google-my-business-attribute-dermatology
Some of the available GMB features for dermatology.

In recent months, Google My Business has rolled out several new attributes to help businesses – like dentists, dermatologists and hospitals – communicate updates to services and offerings.

Most healthcare marketers know that your primary category on Google My Business profiles will impact your ranking. What you may not know is that category is tied to most of the features within GMB.

Your primary category determines:

  • Whether or not reviews are prominent or available for your listing
  • If Q&A will be available
  • If primary hours will display
  • Access to secondary hours and Google Posts

But most importantly, your primary category determines which attributes, amenities and service options you have on your Google My Business profile.

Some attributes display on your local listings – in the map pack and knowledge panel. Others may only display on mobile on the ‘About’ tab, and this varies by industry and country.

For healthcare marketers, including the attributes available to you in your Google listings is necessary to inform patients and build brand authority.

In this post, we’ll cover the top primary categories related to healthcare and which attributes and features are available for each type.

Google My Business Attributes for Healthcare

In a Local U post about GMB, Krystal Taing reviewed 33 primary categories and identified 158 different attributes, which you can find in detail here. Those attributes are broken up into many topics, including service options, highlights, accessibility, planning and payments.

The study included multiple health-related primary categories, including hospital, doctor, pharmacy, medical clinic, dentist and dermatologist.

Here are the Google My Business attributes available to those healthcare businesses:

google-my-business-attribute-dermatology
Some of the available GMB features for dermatology.

Dentist

Essential attributes: Online care, appointment links, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, teeth whitening, accepts new patients, practitioner gender

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, menu link, LGBTQ friendly

Note: The “teeth whitening” attribute is exclusive to dental facilities and can set your brand apart on local listings.

Dermatologist

Essential attributes: Online care, appointment links, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, accepts new patients, practitioner gender

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, menu link, transgender safespace, LGBTQ friendly

Note: The “menu link” feature displays a menu of services you offer.

Doctor

Essential attributes: Online care, appointment links, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, accepts new patients, practitioner gender

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, menu link, transgender safespace, LGBTQ friendly

Hospital

Essential attributes: Online care, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, practitioner gender, treats adults, treats children

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, transgender safespace, LGBTQ friendly

Note that “appointment links” and accessibility attributes are not available for hospitals.

Medical Clinic

Essential attributes: Online care, appointment links, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, practitioner gender

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, passport photos, LGBTQ friendly

Pharmacy

Essential attributes: Online care, curbside pickup, delivery, in-store pickup, in-store shopping, same-day delivery, practitioner gender

Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible parking lot

Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, transgender safespace, LGBTQ friendly

Here’s a table laying out the most important GMB attributes for healthcare marketers to use:

GMB-Attributes-Healthcare-table

Get Found on Google

As you can see, available attributes vary greatly based on your primary category, even within the medical industry.

To establish your brand as a healthcare authority and ensure patients find your medical facilities in search, ensure both your primary category and available attributes are selected for each location. Once your attributes are filled, work with internal teams or a listings management partner like Binary Fountain to monitor for new and changing attributes.

Click here to learn more about Binary Fountain’s healthcare-specific listings management capabilities. For a personal tour of our platform, click below.

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Lessons from Covid-19: Property Management Listings in a Crisis

property-management-listingsAs COVID-19 changes consumer behavior and priorities continue to shift for property management companies, local business listings have become paramount to attracting and retaining tenants.

Even though crisis struck, it’s moving season, and customers are relying on local listings to find information that allows them to continue doing business with you. Complicating that effort are the varied local and regional guidelines that leave consumers wondering when, where and how to engage with property managers.

Many prospective tenants won’t make it all the way to your website for answers. To provide the right information at the right time and in the right place, property listings on search engines and other third-party directories need to be prioritized.

In this post, we share effective strategies and lessons learned from managing local listings in a crisis. You’ll also find tips for managing property listings and providing timely, reassuring information to potential residents.

Optimize Property Management Listings for Search

During a crisis – more than any other time – you need to control the online conversation around your brand. Search insights offer “voice of customer” data, telling you what consumers need from you right now and how they look for that information.

Customers are actively searching for information about sanitization practices, updated hours, tour availability and more to help them decide when and where to move. Overwhelmingly, they’re looking for these solutions on search engines, where they can often find exactly what they need without clicking through to your corporate site or property landing page.

You have plenty of opportunities to answer these questions for your customers in your listings.

The most important step for search optimization during this crisis is making sure phone numbers and hours are correct. Binary Fountain client data shows that phone calls to property management companies from GMB listings are 43% higher than pre-pandemic levels, as of July 21 – even though total searches are down nearly 17%.

For a full picture of the search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus information and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.

Use Google My Business Features

covid-19-google-post
Creating a Covid-19 Google Post on GMB.

When consumers search for a new apartment or condo, they usually turn to Google first. Luckily, the search engine rolled out several features for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the crisis, marketers can make good use of special hours and attributes, which display prominently on search engine results pages (SERPs) and in Map Pack listings. There are also new GMB links that are valuable to property management organizations, including “COVID-19 info.”

Google Posts are another great way to deliver crucial updates to local communities. Google is now making it easier for businesses to publish coronavirus-specific information on their listings by adding a COVID-19 Google Post option.

When published, COVID-19 Google Posts will immediately appear on the post carousel and “Updates” tab on GMB profiles.

Learn what Ben Fisher recommends for managing Google My Business profiles in this webinar.

Emphasize Safety and Virtual Tour Options

If you are not communicating information across your online presence that makes people feel safe, they won’t consider your properties or schedule a tour. Online listings are your first opportunity to earn their trust.

As you distribute information to your local communities during the crisis, be sure to share the measures you’ve taken to ensure a clean and orderly environment at your facilities. This should be driven by a data-based understanding of your current and prospective tenants’ communication preferences, their specific safety concerns, and where they search for rentals.

Of course, the safest tour of a new apartment is a virtual one. Alongside physical safety precautions, your virtual tour availability should be clearly stated on every platform where your properties are listed.

Learn what Bild & Co. executives recommend for promoting virtual tours in this webinar.

Monitor Reviews on Business Listings

Communicating your properties’ safety practices might reassure prospective residents to a degree, but it won’t necessarily motivate them to schedule a tour. For that, they will want to hear from other consumers through reviews.

The recency of ratings and reviews will prove essential as consumers look for safe places to move. The resident experience at your properties likely looks different than it did three months ago, making older reviews irrelevant and increasing prospective patients’ reliance on new feedback. Additionally, with so many people staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak, they want to know they’ll be comfortable in their new community.

jay-baer-webinarLearn what Jay Baer recommends for rebuilding customer knowledge in this webinar.

Not to mention, publishing resident feedback is an essential part of your ranking on search engine results pages. But remember: If you are making changes and trying out new policies, new issues will likely arise in reviews that your review response team needs to be prepared for.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw a suspension of new Google reviews, though those are returning for most industries.

If this happens in the future, be prepared to adjust review generation campaigns to push patients to an internal survey, social media or platforms like Zillow, Trulia and Zumper, rather than to Google. Keep in mind that reviews left while publication was suspended are starting to publish as of mid-July.

Keep Your Property Listings Consistent

Listings management strategies will differ based on your organization’s size and location count. But whether that’s five properties or 100, your listings need to be consistent across the board, especially as state and local guidelines change and residents look to you for authoritative information.

It’s important to maintain a baseline of clean, accurate, optimized local listings to make sure listing inaccuracies don’t compound your problems during a crisis. But it’s not easy. Binary Fountain’s listings management platform and online reputation experts are ready to keep your brand’s online presence robust, informative and engaging. Schedule a quick demo to learn more.

Read more on listings management during the COVID-19 crisis:


Lessons from COVID-19: Using Local Business Listings for Crisis Management

covid-19-local-business-listingsAs COVID-19 continues its spread and priorities continue to shift for multi-location healthcare organizations, local business listings have become paramount to marketing teams.

When crisis strikes, especially in the healthcare industry, customers rely on local listings to find information that allows them to continue doing business with you. Complicating that effort are the varied local and regional guidelines that leave consumers wondering when, where and how to engage with providers.

Many consumers won’t make it all the way to your website for answers. To provide the right information at the right time and in the right place, healthcare listings on search engines and other third-party directories need to be a priority.

In this post, we share effective strategies and lessons learned from managing local listings in a crisis. You’ll also find tips for managing healthcare listings and providing timely, reassuring customer communications.

Optimize Local Listings for Search

During a crisis – more than any other time – you need to control and engage with the online conversation around your brand. Search insights offer “voice of customer” data, telling you what consumers need from you right now and how they look for that information.

For a full picture of the search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus information and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.

Customers are actively searching for information about sanitization practices, updated hours, service availability and more to help them decide when and where to seek care. Overwhelmingly, they’re looking for these solutions on search engines, where they can often find exactly what they need without clicking through to a local landing page or provider profile page.

You have plenty of opportunities to answer these questions for your customers in your listings. We recently put together an infographic called ‘COVID-19 Features for Online Healthcare Listings’ that walks you through all the features available to you on Google My Business, social media and other healthcare-specific listings sites.

Healthcare consumers, perhaps more than any other demographic, are stressed about returning to medical facilities and need accurate, fast information. The most important first step for search optimization during this crisis is making sure phone numbers and hours are correct. Binary Fountain client data shows that phone calls to healthcare companies from GMB are significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

There are new COVID-19 features on healthcare-specific directories, as well, that marketers should use to optimize listings. These include telemedicine badges for physician profiles on CareDash and Healthgrades, among others.

healthgrades-telemedicine-listings
Source: Healthgrades

And don’t forget about the maps. For example, healthcare providers and labs that would like to provide information on COVID-19 testing locations can do so through Apple Business Register.

Use Google My Business Features

When healthcare consumers search for local providers, they usually turn to Google first. Luckily, the search engine rolled out several features for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the crisis, marketers can make good use of special hours and attributes, which display prominently on both search engine results pages and in Map Pack listings. There are also multiple types of new links that are valuable to healthcare organizations, including “virtual care” and “COVID-19 info.”

covid-19-google-attribute-covid-19
Covid-19 attributes on a Google My Business profile.

Google Posts are another great way to deliver crucial updates to local communities. Google is now making it easier for businesses to publish coronavirus-specific information on their listings by adding a COVID-19 Google Post option. When published, COVID-19 Google Posts will immediately appear on the post carousel and “Updates” tab on GMB profiles.

covid-19-google-post-display
Example of a COVID-19 Google Post.

Also worth monitoring is Google’s push to add insurance information to healthcare listings. For eligible healthcare organizations, a “check insurance info” link might display on your Business Profile on Google Search, under your business’s hours. The link opens an “Insurance information” page that lists the health insurance providers your business accepts.

Emphasize Safety and Virtual Care Options

Whether searching for specific treatments or browsing for a PCP, safety is top of mind for every prospective patient right now. If you are not communicating information across your online presence that makes people feel safe, they won’t schedule an appointment or visit you. Online listings are your first opportunity to earn their trust.

As you distribute vital information to your local communities during the crisis, be sure to share the specific measures you’ve taken to ensure a clean, orderly and safe environment at your facilities. This distribution effort should be driven by a data-based understanding of your patients’ communication preferences, their specific safety concerns, and where they search for a doctor.

Of course, the safest visit is a virtual one. Alongside physical safety precautions, your telemedicine availability should be clearly stated on every platform where your locations are listed. You can find expert insights on telemedicine listings and promotion in this webinar.

caredash-virtual-care-provider
Source: CareDash

If telemedicine is your primary means of seeing patients during COVID-19, it would pay to use the word early in your provider bios. This helps increase the chances of virtual care options appearing in your providers’ search previews.

Monitor Reviews on Business Listings

Communicating your facility’s safety practices might reassure consumers to a degree, but it won’t necessarily motivate them to schedule an appointment. For that, consumers will want to hear from other consumers through reviews.

The recency of ratings and reviews will prove essential as consumers start returning to providers, according to Healthcare Success CEO Stewart Gandolf. The patient experience at your facilities likely looks different than it did three months ago, making older reviews irrelevant and increasing prospective patients’ reliance on new feedback.

Not to mention, publishing patient comments is an essential part of your ranking on search engine results pages. But remember: If you are making changes and trying out new services like telemedicine, new issues will likely arise in reviews that your review response team needs to be prepared for.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw a suspension of new Google reviews, though those are returning for most industries. If this happens in the future, be prepared to adjust review generation campaigns to push patients to an internal survey, social media or platforms like Vitals and Healthgrades, rather than to Google. Keep in mind that reviews left while publication was suspended will eventually publish.

Keep Your Listings Consistent

Listings management strategies will differ based on your organization’s size and location count. But whether that’s 10 care facilities or 100, your listings need to be consistent across the board, especially as state and local guidelines change.

It’s important to maintain a baseline of clean, accurate, optimized local listings to make sure listing inaccuracies don’t compound your problems during a crisis. But it’s not easy. Binary Fountain’s healthcare-specific listings management platform and online reputation experts are ready to keep your brand’s online presence robust, informative and optimized. Schedule a 30 minute demo to learn more.

Read more on listings management during the COVID-19 crisis:


[Webinar Recap] How to Optimize Your Listings for COVID-19 Reopening

webinar-covid-19-reopening-listingsOnline listings are the cornerstone of healthcare marketing initiatives in the wake of COVID-19. But search algorithms, listings platforms and consumer behavior are changing by the day as reopening begins.

Which local listings strategies will most effectively rebuild consumer trust and bring patients back to your providers?

In this webinar, Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Product Expert and founder of local SEO and social media marketing agency Steady Demand, joined Binary Fountain experts to cover the most important listings platforms and features to monitor as healthcare organizations look to resume services and attract patients to facilities.

Click here to watch the on-demand webinar. 

Here are the key takeaways:

Google Searches for COVID-19 Information

The first piece of building trust with patients is making sure they have the correct information about when to arrive, where to go and what to bring. Before anything else, healthcare marketers should monitor and update their basic Google My Business attributes.

Phone numbers and hours are currently very important because consumers – especially healthcare consumers – are stressed and need accurate, fast information. GMB also launched COVID-19 Google Posts, in which you can fit a lot of information about what searchers can expect when coming to your facility. There are several types of new links that are valuable to healthcare organizations, including “virtual care” and “COVID-19 info.”

Google Q&A is not yet back online for healthcare providers, but that might change soon, so marketers should keep an eye on that section of their GMB profiles. With all listings updates, the panel recommends updating the information that directly impacts patient experience, so that patients know exactly what to expect if they book an appointment. You should also educate office staff so the information they offer patients is consistent with your listings.

Google Reviews and Patient Feedback

Google reviews and review responses were taken offline early during the COVID-19 outbreak, as Google looked to limit unverified, user-generated information, but they have started to return. You may or may not be notified when backlogged reviews begin displaying on GMB profiles, so monitoring them is key.

To manage and respond to the now-rising volume of reviews, Fisher recommends starting with recent reviews from the last two weeks before working through backlogged reviews. Keep in mind that high-quality responses have the power to convert negative reviews into positive ones, and readers of those responses will be more likely to trust your brand. Having recent reviews will be supremely important in the coming weeks, as consumers start returning to providers.

Now is also the time to add telemedicine questions to patient surveys, Cardell says. Measuring the virtual patient experience’s impact on your brand reputation will build valuable data as telehealth programs expand, and these specific questions will help your providers understand the patient experience differences between virtual and traditional visits.

Social Media and Other Listings

Many of the same principles apply to social media listings: “Keep consumers up to date, be responsive and be compassionate,” Fisher says.

At the same time, healthcare marketers should leverage the different strengths of different social media platforms. You might want to share more personal, humanized stories on Facebook and Instagram, but use Twitter for more newsy information, like local government or facility updates.

There are new COVID-19 features on healthcare-specific directories, as well, including telemedicine badges for physician profiles on CareDash and Healthgrades.

Every organization’s listings management strategy is different, but one major theme persists, according to the panel: If you are not communicating information that makes people feel safe, they’re not going to visit you. At this time, every consumer needs to feel as safe as possible, and online listings are your first opportunity to earn their trust.

For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar. 

 

Read more about COVID-19’s impact on healthcare marketing and Google Search on our COVID-19 Resources page and in these articles:


Google Adds Health Insurance Information Links to Business Profiles

health-insurance-google-searchA new and vitally important feature is rolling out for healthcare providers’ Google listings: insurance availability.

Google My Business updated its page for healthcare providers with a section called “Manage insurance info for your practice,” offering information about displaying insurance options on business profiles.

The search engine says business profiles will display health insurance information for merchants whose insurance availability is provided to Google through a third-party database.

Insurance information is available for “select merchants in the U.S. only,” according to Google, meaning the feature is still rolling out and is not immediately available for all healthcare providers or countries.

Displaying Health Insurance Information in Google Search

For eligible healthcare organizations, a “Check insurance info” link might display on your Business Profile on Google Search, under your business’s hours. The link opens an “Insurance information” page that lists the health insurance providers your business accepts.

Google will automatically include this link if it identifies insurance availability through its third-party provider. There is currently no indication that healthcare organizations can manually add insurance providers to their listings, if not all of them are listed.

There are, however, instructions on how to remove insurance information from GMB profiles.

Removing Insurance Providers from Google Business Profiles

To remove these details, send the Google Health team feedback. It may take up to three business days for the team to take action. You can include a screenshot in your feedback.

ebook-covid19-survey-healthcare-marketingOn mobile:

  • Use Google Search to go to your Business Profile.
  • Under your business’s hours, tap “Check insurance info.”
  • At the bottom, tap “Send feedback.”
  • Type your feedback into the form.
  • Tap “Send.”

On desktop:

  • Use Google Search to go to your Business Profile.
  • Under your business’s hours, click “Check insurance info.”
  • At the bottom of the popup window, click “Send feedback.”
  • Type your feedback into the form.
  • Click “Send.”

Healthcare organizations aren’t currently able to opt in or out of this new Google Search feature, so we recommend monitoring listings for all your locations to ensure the insurance provider list – if displayed – is accurate.

Though additional details on the rollout are pending, what’s clear is that the question of, “will you accept my health insurance?” is increasingly important to the patient journey. Google and its users have indicated that insurance availability is valuable to them in the search for care, so healthcare organizations that supply this information can help prospective patients make a quicker decision and win their business.

For more on Google My Business and healthcare listings management, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and browse these resources:


Checklist: COVID-19 Features for Online Healthcare Listings

New features are constantly being introduced to online listings to help businesses manage the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on hours and operations. To help your healthcare organization capitalize on these newly available tools, we curated a list of the most important COVID-19 listings attributes and how to use them.

Here are healthcare-related COVID-19 features that are now active on listings platforms and third-party directories.

View PDF

 

Platform Feature Description Use Case
Google My Business COVID-19 Google Posts COVID-19 Google Posts stay posted for 28 days and are  displayed on mobile search, maps and other apps. This can now be submitted via API, posts for chain businesses were previously barred from API access.
Google My Business Attributes Healthcare brands  can add “COVID-19 info link” and “virtual care” attributes to their GMB profiles. These are displayed on mobile search only (may expand in the future). Available only to healthcare brands in GMB, can be submitted in bulk or API.
Google My Business Schema Special Announcements for COVID-19 from health and government agency sites are highlighted in Google Search results. Announcements can include: Facility closures, event rescheduling, and new availability of medical facilities, such as testing centers.
Yelp Covid-19 Advisory Alert A COVID-19 Advisory Alert is displayed at the top of all Yelp Business Pages. If you don’t provide a custom message, a generic banner will be shown. Edit this alert to communicate specific updates about your business in response to COVID-19.
Yelp Virtual Service Offerings Choose from new  virtual service offerings that will be displayed on your Yelp Business Page within the Services Offered section. Search results can be filtered to show virtual offerings. Including, but not limited to: Virtual Classes, Virtual Consultations and Virtual Tours.
Facebook Temporary Service Changes Indicate locations are “Open With Service Changes” or “Temporarily Closed” to announce temporary service changes on your Facebook Page and in searches. The information can appear on the Page, the Page preview, in search and in curated lists of local resources on Facebook.
Twitter Covid-19 Account Verification Twitter is prioritizing Verification for Twitter accounts that have an email address associated with an authoritative health organization or institution. Ensure your Twitter bio references (and links to) the institution you are associated with, and that the page you link to includes a reference back to your Twitter account.
LinkedIn Urgent Hiring Healthcare-related organizations can post new mission-critical jobs free for three months (April 1 to June 30). Jobs posted in these categories will receive extra promotion to highly relevant candidates through a special “Urgently Hiring” job category. Companies include hospitals, medical device, medical practices and mental healthcare, disaster relief nonprofits, warehousing, supermarket and package delivery.
Healthgrades Telehealth Services Badge Add a new telehealth services badge to profiles for physicians, NPs, and PAs. Consumers searching for care options will be able to use telehealth as a filter to quickly find providers they can see remotely. Healthgrades will also support links from healthgrades. com directly to the physician’s website/landing page for the telehealth service.
Bing COVID-19 Info Links Add special announcements of hours and closures for local businesses, information on risk assessment and testing centers, and travel restrictions and guidelines. Bing pulls in announcements from local businesses, hospitals, schools, government offices and others that use the schema.org markup for announcements and testing information.
Bing Schema Add special announcements of hours and closures for local businesses, information on risk assessment and testing centers, and travel restrictions and guidelines. A label showing your special announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with a link to your site may appear  on web results, local listings and maps. Bing may consume special announcements from local businesses, hospitals, schools, government offices, and more that use the schema.org markup for SpecialAnnouncement, gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility.
Apple Maps COVID-19 Testing Locations Healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses that would like to provide information on COVID-19 testing locations can now do so through Apple Business Register. Searches for nearby testing information may include information on whether getting tested is recommended and, if so, how to locate a nearby testing facility and find instructions for getting tested.
CareDash Provider Telehealth Healthcare organizations and facilities can use new API telemedicine support features to let patients know about availability for telemedicine and schedule appointments. An indicator will appear on all telemedicine provider profiles. Telemedical status can be activated via individual dashboard or through a bulk upload tool.

This article will be updated as listings features are added, removed or changed. Click here for a PDF version.

For more on listings and reputation management during the pandemic, browse our COVID-19 Resources page.


Listings Management Checklist for Property Managers During COVID-19 

covid-19-listings-property-managersProperty managers have found themselves at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, where care for their residents, employees and properties are paramount. Though acquiring new tenants isn’t the central focus for most of the multifamily industry at present, there’s an opportunity for your marketing and outreach efforts to come out stronger on the other side.

Weekly online traffic to property managers’ rental listings was down 15% in late March, according to RealPage. That number is expected to continue dropping, even as historical rental demand peaks between April and June.

What remains is the responsibility of property management companies to serve renters who still need to move during this unpredictable leasing season. With fewer searchers and more competition for clicks, optimizing your online listings can build the trust of hesitant consumers and differentiate your properties from the rest.

Anticipate COVID-19 Questions on Listings

The most common coronavirus-related communications will concern prevention practices, changes in office hours and policies, and virtual tour availability.

On search engine listings, social media profiles, rental directories and their own webpages, property managers need to anticipate and respond to frequent questions on a global and local level. They also should publicly communicate what precautions are being taken and reminding staff of best practices.

Here are some questions to answer on public listings:

  • Is the leasing office still open, and how do I get in touch?
  • Have your policies on rent freezes and rent raises changed?
  • Do your properties allow movers on site?
  • Can I still move in to an apartment?
  • Where can I find images of buildings and rental units?

This information, along with other relevant contact information, should be clear on all platforms that tenants usually browse while searching for your properties. Preventative measures – even seemingly obvious ones – should also populate your website, listings and social feeds. This signals to prospective residents how seriously you take the situation and what you’re doing to protect tenants.

Your listings management strategy should also anticipate questions in the event that COVID-19 affects your properties, for example, if a community outbreak forces you to temporarily stop accepting applications.

Update Search Results for Potential Residents

 The leasing process has been tremendously impacted by COVID-19. Three-quarters of property managers are changing the way they handle showings, 13% have halted them altogether, and 27% have moved to only virtual or self-showings, according to a recent AppFolio survey.

 If you are still looking for tenants, it should be apparent on each property’s listings. To display that information for search, review guidance from Google My Business on how to change your business hours, indicate temporary closures or create COVID-19 posts.

Make it clear to prospects if tours are available by appointment only, and strongly consider using digital tools to hold virtual appointments or tours. If you don’t usually promote virtual tours as heavily, now is the time to highlight that service. Here are some services that you should consider listing on all third-party directories:

  • Video tours or self-service tours
  • Remote showings
  • Photo galleries
  • Online applications
  • Online payments
  • Screening tools

Be sure to stay up to date on changes in relevant directories, like Google My Business, Zillow and Facebook. You can add a link to the “Appointments” attribute on GMB to guide searchers toward scheduling virtual appointments, if they are available.

You can also now add coronavirus-related special announcements to rich results on Google Search. This article explains how to submit and display those announcements. New questions and answers on Google Q&A have been suspended, but new Google reviews and review responses are being published.

Communicate with Current Tenants

Your online services are a keystone of keeping up with tenant communications and rent payments as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

When possible, drive residents to web-based services, apps and portals by promoting their availability on your website and in social media content. Avoid handling checks by encouraging electronic payments – and make account setup instructions widely available.

Here are some resident questions that you should answer across your online listings:

  • Is my building following social distancing guidelines and other prevention methods?
  • If I am suddenly unable to pay my rent, what can I do?
  • Are virtual services available, such as maintenance requests and rent payment?
  • Are there adjustments to resident policies or amenity availability?
  • Can I still move out? Are movers allowed on the property?

If you have the bandwidth as a marketer or communications specialist, you can also consider publishing COVID-19-related tenant communications for those looking for homeschooling, food options or rent assistance. When appropriate, list these offerings where prospective residents can see them, as they search for a trustworthy, community-oriented property manager.

For more on reputation management during the coronavirus health crisis, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and browse these articles:


COVID-19: Updates to Local Listings and Reviews on Google, Yelp

covid-19-listingsAs COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in business, it’s more essential than ever to keep your community informed with local listings that reflect current service suspensions, closures and updates to day-to-day operations.

Search engines and online directories are struggling alongside brick-and-mortar businesses to manage the influx of changes to facility locations, hours, appointment availability and more. To help you stay up-to-date in local search, we compiled recent updates to local listings and third-party directories that you should monitor.

In this article, we’ll cover recent coronavirus-related updates to local listings, including:

  • Google My Business suspensions of local reviews and Q&A
  • Yelp updating review guidelines for COVID-19 mentions
  • A new COVID-19 Google Post type
  • A new GMB “temporarily closed” feature
  • Delays in listings updates for non-healthcare businesses

Can businesses still receive and reply to reviews? Is Google Q&A Down?

Google temporarily suspended accepting and posting new reviews, along with posting responses, due to limitations in staff. However, that suspension has been lifted – new reviews and responses are displaying on Google My Business profiles, and Google Q&A has started coming back online.

Does Yelp still allow reviews and review responses?

Yelp is still allowing for reviews and responses, for now, and took the extra step of protecting local businesses by only allowing trusted content. Yelp recently announced, “We have zero tolerance for any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees, or negative reviews about a business being closed during what would be their regular open hours in normal circumstances.” It’s taking steps to identify and remove those types of reviews, according to the company.

Yelp also added a COVID-19 Advisory Alert banner to the top of all Yelp Business Pages, where you can share a custom message with specific updates during this pandemic. This can be used to offer services by phone or text, provide takeout and delivery updates, disclose changed hours and other updates.

 

What are COVID-19 Google Posts?

Businesses can now publish COVID-19 Google Posts for any important information regarding their services or other updates. COVID-19 Posts will appear more prominently on your business page, allowing customers to easily understand the current status of your business and your operations during this time.

covid-19-google-post-display
Example of a COVID-19 Google Post.

Is a COVID-19 Google Post different from a regular Google Post?

COVID-19 Google Posts allow for only a description and a URL to be shared – no images – which make it a quick purely informational method for your business to keep consumers informed. These post types will be available for 14 days starting March 25, but Google says it may extend that timeline.

Can you explain the recent update for chains related to COVID-19 Posts?

Google recently announced, “Posts related to COVID-19 are now temporarily permitted for chains.” This lifts the previous 10-location limit, so enterprise businesses and multi-location brands now can more easily push coronavirus-related updates across all their locations.

Should we mark our business as temporarily closed on GMB?

Google introduced a new option in GMB to mark a location temporarily closed; however, enterprise brands generally should not use this functionality unless the location will be closed longer than two-four weeks. Marking a business as temporarily closed is a manual, time-intensive process, so you can alternatively consider leveraging special hours on GMB. Using special hours, you can submit your updated hours via bulk API for faster, easier publishing.

Can we update our business name in GMB to add special services?

Google has slightly relaxed their guidelines for COVID-19-related listings, temporarily allowing for small edits to your business name where it’s applicable. Many businesses are adding unique services after their business names and descriptions, such as virtual visits, appointments only, drive-thru or curbside pickup. According to the search engine, businesses will need to revert back to their standard names after the COVID-19 crisis.

Why are we experiencing publishing delays?

Google is operating with reduced support staff, which has led to delays in posting new listings, special hours, open/close status, descriptions and attributes. However, the company says it is prioritizing listing updates deemed critical for health-related businesses. For now, you can add special service availabilities or operational changes by adding them to your business name, description and services/amenities.

Read more on managing your online presence during the COVID-19 crisis:

For a full list of Binary Fountain resources related to the coronavirus, click here.


Coronavirus and Your Listings Management Program: A 5 Item Checklist

listings-managementIn a few short weeks, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created significant concern as it continues to spread throughout the U.S. The health crisis is causing disruptions for people in their personal lives and in their companies, with illnesses, remote work policies, closures and changes in day-to-day operations.

How can your enterprise business effectively navigate this emergency and tailor your local marketing efforts in an unpredictable environment? To stay ahead in local search and inform consumers, your business must properly manage its local listings.

Proper listings management starts with ensuring your Google My Business (GMB) profile provides accurate, updated information to your customers. The updates you make to your GMB profile will display on your business profile on Google Search and Maps.

To help you manage the arrival of this health crisis, we’ve compiled a list of five tips to ensure you’re providing consumers with accurate information – which grows more valuable by the minute.

1. Update Your Facility Hours

When a health emergency occurs in a community, such as COVID-19, it’s not uncommon for office hours or service areas to be affected in the impacted region. Your business may be closed down completely or you may have to adjust hours of operation. If you don’t communicate these updates to potential consumers, you risk not only losing their business, but potentially adding to the spread of misinformation and confusion that already poses a threat. In fact, 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by incorrect information they find in online directories. Provide the most relevant, up-to-date information and avoid tarnishing your business’ credibility by keeping your facility’s hours updated in your GMB listings, especially during times of crisis.

2. Revise Your Phone Number

As COVID-19 continues to sweep across the globe, many businesses have temporarily shut down some of their operations. For these businesses, like healthcare organizations and property managers, simply revising their office hours on GMB is not sufficient. If the business hasn’t updated their phone number to redirect to a home or mobile number when part of the business has suspended services, consumers who try to contact the number listed on Google will be surprised to find they aren’t able to reach anyone. Update your phone numbers if they’ve changed to ensure customers are able to get in touch with your business and to further crisis-proof your local listings.

3. Update Your Business Description

In situations where a natural disaster or health crisis is potentially impacting businesses across the globe, Google recommends explaining whether your business operations are affected by the emergency or not. Additionally, Google recommends “sharing information about any extra precautions” your business is taking, such as providing any extra services to the community or if you’re experiencing delays. More information on how to edit your business description can be found here.

4. Create a Google Post

Google Posts allow you to share detailed and timely updates about what’s going on with your business, which may be beneficial when patients, tenants or other consumers need current information. You may want to add more information about the services you have available, and link to other resources. Google Posts should be updated on a regular basis as your business changes. To get the most out of your Google Posts, we recommend reading our guide to useful Google My Business features.

5. Monitor Your Google Q&A

Customers use the questions and answers section on your Google Maps listings to communicate with you. During times of crisis, they turn to Google Q&A more than ever to ask if your business will be open, if hours are affected, or if certain services are available. Be sure to proactively monitor and quickly respond to these questions. However, Google Q&A (along with Google Reviews) has been temporarily suspended due to staff shortages, according to the company.

It’s important to keep your customers up-to-date with accurate, timely information to ensure they’re aware of any changes in your business operations, whether you’re impacted by a health crisis, like COVID-19, or simply updating your holiday hours. This is especially important if your hours of operation or wait times are affected, you have an update to available services, or change your phone number. If any of the aforementioned are affected, Google wants you to make your customers aware of these changes. By doing so, you build trust with your customers, become the voice of authority, and strengthen your relationship with your customers, all of which encourage loyalty.

Additionally, due to a large number of businesses affected by COVID-19, Google recently released a new help document that describes how businesses can update their local listings.

Customers expect updated information on your business at all times and want to know they can trust the information they receive. With the average consumer conducting between 3-4 Google searches a day, it is now more important than ever to crisis-proof your local listings to be the source of truth for your business.

For more on what consumers are saying online about the coronavirus outbreak and how Binary Fountain can help, check out this blog post.


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