Elevating Local Presence As Google Confirms’ Openness’ as Key Factor

1 min read

Discover how being open for business affects your visibility in local search results and maps. Google has confirmed that “openness” is a factor in local search results.

According to Google Search Liaison, “openness” is now a “stronger” ranking factor for local search.
Listing fictitious 24/7 hours could backfire when Google modifies its ranking algorithms.
For optimal visibility and customer experience, Google Business Profiles must have up-to-date operating hours.

According to recent research by SEO specialists, Google has adjusted its local search algorithm, giving a business’s stated operating hours greater weight as a crucial ranking factor.

Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky reports that since the November 2023 core update, businesses that show up as closed have become noticeably less visible in local search results.


Google Confirms Elevated Significance of Business Hours in Local Search Rankings


According to Google’s Search Liaison, recent discussions affirm that “openness” has gained increased importance as a signal in local search rankings.
The team informed me that while “openness” has long been a factor in our local ranking systems, it has recently gained strength as a signal for non-navigational queries. However, this evaluation is ongoing and might evolve in various ways. It’s essential to note that this adjustment primarily affects non-navigational queries.
For instance, searching for a specific business name typically implies a navigational intent—finding or locating that particular business. Conversely, a search for a general topic falls into the non-navigational category.


Raising Alarms: Potential Business Response to the ‘Openness’ Factor


In a conversation centered around X, Sherry Bonelli voiced apprehensions regarding a potential update that might incentivize certain businesses to falsely claim round-the-clock operating hours to enhance their local search presence.
Such a practice could result in a detrimental user experience, as searchers might visit these businesses when they are closed.

Google promptly responded to these concerns and cautioned against manipulating business hours due to the constantly changing openness ranking signal.

Additionally, Google may send you a redesigned suspension email.

An appeal can be made using the new email format for suspended profiles, @rustybrick pic.twitter.com/tbniQ22mcL.

— December 13, 2023, Molly Youngblood (@mygeigermeister)

Best Practice: Ensure Accurate Operational Hours on Google Business Profiles
It’s crucial for local businesses, especially during the holiday season, to keep their operational hours up-to-date on Google Business Profiles. This practice can significantly impact local search visibility.
Accurate operational hours mean reduced frustration for customers during the last-minute shopping rush. This effort can heighten visibility in local pack rankings for businesses, drawing in more customers, primarily through ‘near me’ searches, especially when competitors are closed.

If you still need help and clarification, check out our monthly SEO packages and get professional assistance.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]