Impact of Business Hours on Your Google Local Rankings
When people search for a business or place near their location, they find local results across Google in places like Maps and Search. For example, when you search for “hospital” from your mobile device, Google shows the top 3 ranking hospitals near your location, popularly known as Google Local Pack.
Did You Know?
Businesses in the Google 3-pack receive 126% more traffic than businesses ranked between 4-10.
The three main criteria Google considers for local pack ranking are proximity, relevance, and prominence; famously known as PRP. However, since the November 2023 core algorithm update, Google appears to be looking at whether a business is currently open as a ranking factor for local pack rankings.
Does that mean that you have to update your business hours? Or do businesses that are open 24*7 have a competitive advantage of appearing in Google Local Rankings as compared to businesses that are not functional 24 hours?
Let’s get into the details and understand how you can leverage the updated algorithm to improve your Google Local Pack Ranking.
Understanding Google’s Updated Local Ranking Algorithm
Google Local Pack displays a curated selection of nearby businesses in response to user queries. As mentioned, the algorithm considers several factors like relevance, distance, and prominence to determine rankings.
Google updated its local pack algorithm in November 2023, post which businesses started ranking higher at times they were open as compared to when they were closed.
The image displayed shows examples of the email notifications Google is distributing to all Google Business Profile (GBP) owners. These emails are intended to remind businesses to update their profiles with special hours for the December holiday season, ensuring customers are accurately informed.
A logical explanation behind this could be that round-the-clock opening hours improve prominence. It signals to Google that the business is more accessible and available to customers at various times. This can lead to higher rankings in local search results. Ultimately, it attracts more customers and enhances the overall online visibility of the business.
Extended hours cater to a broader range of user schedules. It makes the business more relevant to diverse search queries. Since Google’s algorithm aims to provide users with the most relevant and useful information, a 24*7 operation aligns with this objective. This explains the increase in the likelihood of a business being displayed in the Local Pack for users seeking services outside traditional operating hours.
The Ripple Effect of Inaccurate Online Hours
Did You Know?
There are 70,000 health-related searches per minute every day, and ‘Near me’ searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015.
Imagine a local medical clinic that diligently maintains and updates its business hours online. When a patient who needs urgent medical attention searches for “walk-in clinics open on weekends”, Google will prominently position this clinic at the top of the search results. The reason behind this is the clinic’s accurate and up-to-date information. This will further result in the patient visiting/calling this clinic to seek immediate care during non-standard hours.
Conversely, let’s consider a competing clinic that overlooks the importance of updating its business hours online. Clinic B had some time in the past updated Sunday to be a working day on its GBP. However, it stopped opening on Sunday but failed to update the same on GBP. Now a patient experiencing sudden symptoms searches for medical assistance on a Sunday morning, and he sees this clinic’s listing. He assumes that the clinic is open, but arrives to find it closed, leading to inconvenience and a negative view of the clinic. This negative experience not only reflects poorly on the business but can also result in a drop in local rankings.
Google’s algorithm acknowledges the importance of user satisfaction, and businesses that disappoint in this regard may find themselves slipping in the digital hierarchy.
Impact of Business Hours on Local SEO
68% of searchers trust local 3-Pack listings. Local SEO revolves around optimizing online presence for location-based searches. It directly influences a business’s visibility in the Local Pack, and business hours play a crucial role in this optimization. Let’s explore this further.
Google Business Profile Ranking
Google’s local search algorithms heavily rely on the information provided in Google Business Profile. Accurate business hours contribute to a complete and trustworthy profile. It further improves the chances of appearing in the Google Local Pack Ranking and Knowledge Graph, both of which significantly impact local search visibility.
Mobile Searches and Immediate Intent
With the rise of mobile searches, users often seek immediate solutions. Approximately 30% of all mobile searches involve a location or searching for something nearby – of those, 28% end in a purchase.
If a business is open when a user has an immediate need, it increases the likelihood of conversion. Conversely, users may be deterred from engaging with a business if its hours don’t match their immediate intent.
Local Search and Discovery
In local search scenarios, users often prioritize businesses that are open and available. This is particularly true for services that users may need urgently, such as healthcare. Businesses with accurate and extended hours are more likely to be discovered and chosen by users in these situations.
Success Stories: How Businesses Improved Their Google Local Ranking By Optimizing Business Hours?
Let’s see how optimized business hours are improving Google’s local ranking in the healthcare industry-
Case Study 1
A leading diagnostic chain with 40+ centers updated their business hours to reflect the fact that they are open 24/7.
Their centers started ranking consistently in the local pack for relevant “near me” searches for a 1-2 kilometer radius when such searches were done beyond regular business hours.
On the other hand, similar searches done during regular business hours did not feature them in the local pack and instead featured businesses in a 200-300 meter radius.
The images above corroborate the aforementioned results. In the image on the left, you can see how when the consumer (indicated by the blue dot in the map) searches for “diagnostic center near me” during regular business hours (done at 6 PM), the local pack shows relevant businesses within a 450-meter radius.
However, when the consumer repeats the same search, i.e., “diagnostic center near me,” after regular business hours (10.30 PM), none of the businesses that appeared in the local pack earlier in the image on the left show up now. Instead, several businesses that are 1-2 kilometers away such as Aarthi Scans and Labs, show up in the local pack.
This example clearly demonstrates the importance of business hours and the need to optimize the same to maximize outcomes. The diagnostic chain mentioned in this case study gets 2-3 additional conversions per day, per center on average due to business hour optimization.
Case Study 2
A multi-specialty tertiary hospital in a tier 2 city had certain departments and facilities (scan, lab, and pharmacy) working 24/7. The hospital created independent business profiles for these departments on Google and updated business hours to reflect that they are open 24 hours.
This resulted in each of them ranking consistently in the local pack for relevant “near me” searches beyond regular business hours.
This contributed to a steady flow of high-intent patients who were searching for such services beyond business hours.
This led to 3-4 conversions per day across departments, resulting in significant revenue growth for the hospital.
Pro Tip: Manage Your Google Business Profiles at Scale
Zceppa’s Multi-location Manager can help you ensure all your location listings stay perfect round the clock and display updated business hours. Whether you have 5 or 100+ locations, Zceppa Multi-Location Manager allows you to manage all of them from a single interface.
With intelligent tools and features like automated data sync, profile audits, alerts, and keyword recommendations, Zceppa’s multi-location manager delivers an 18x increase in search visibility.
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