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Local SEO Tactics

Do Business Hours Impact Ranking For Google Business Profile? – 220

Maximizing GBP Visibility with Strategic Business Hours

If you’re wondering how your business hours affect your Google Business Profile (GBP) visibility, look no further. In this episode of Local SEO Tactics, Jesse talks recent trends and shares actionable strategies to optimize your GBP effectively. Discover how adjusting business hours strategically can make an impact on visibility and searchability for your business.

What You’ll Learn

  • How adjusting business hours can affect visibility and searchability on Google.
  • Why accurate business hours are crucial for Google’s algorithm in ranking businesses.
  • What considerations businesses should take into account when deciding to manipulate their hours for ranking purposes.
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Jesse Dolan: Do your business hours listed on your Google Business Profile matter for your ranking? Does your openness matter for your ranking? We’re going to talk about that today.

Welcome back to local SEO tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host Jesse Dolan. Today we’re going to be talking about your Google business profile and there’s something that’s happened kind of recently end of 2023, beginning 2024, regarding business hours and folks trying to manipulate the business hours to increase their ranking, get more visibility. And that’s what we’re really talking about here today. So you as a local business owner, obviously you want to rank in the map pack, right?

That’s one of the main spots to get leads, to be found. And it’s a big thrust of local SEO. So of course, when we hear a tip or a trick like this, we want to experiment with it, investigate it and see if it’ll work. We’re going to get into that today to help you understand, does it work? Does it stick if it works at all? Is there a better way to go about it? We’re going to talk through some things like that. We’re going to break down this trick, share some options, give you hopefully some action items that can help you bump your rank and improve your Map pack and GBP ranking. So really the moral of the story here is going to be, following some best practices and doing some experimentation with yourself. Hopefully you’re going to get the results you’re looking for and get a bump to your rankings if that is what you’re trying to do. So what are we talking about here today? We are talking about, some people call it like the openness or business hours algorithm update, things like that. It’s not a big you know, core algorithm update. This is something that people started noticing late in 2023 and experimenting with. And really at the end of the day, I think we’ll probably link in the show notes. There’s a good article in search engine journal that talks about this a little bit more in depth. And I think a lot of people started experimenting with it. There’s some great feedback out there. And really what we’re talking about, just to be clear, is manipulating the hours that are listed in your Google business profile to show that you’re open either earlier or later. Some people even go on 24 seven to get better rankings. A lot of people, well, let me back up. So historically this has been something that people have done for a while is if you’re noticing that your competitors are showing up during business hours when they’re open and you’re not, could be a tactic, let’s just say feet on the street. Maybe you want to be open an hour or two early or an hour or two later to capture some of that business, right? If you’re maybe in a bedroom community or whatever your town and local situation is, you maybe you’re trying to stay open later or want to open earlier just to get more business from the actual people that are around needing your services, needing your products. That is something that does make sense if there is that business to be had and if you can stay open and increase your hours, great. This is talking about being found within search kind of using that same tactic. So again, late 2023.

People started noticing that Google was putting more emphasis. We people have been doing this for a while. Again, trying to show up, adjusting their hours, maybe listing that you’re open on Saturday when you’re not. Not so much to maybe game the map back and get better rankings, but definitely to get leads right. If I do a search for, you know, coffee shop near me and I see one that is listed as closed on a Saturday, I mean, I’m not even going to call, click or swing by that place. Right.

So maybe a coffee shop isn’t the best example, maybe a service business, right, where you would call instead of just stopping by is a better example for this situation. But the concept there is that again, whether it be earlier, later, or on the weekends, you lose yourself as open so then you can get that call. If that goes to voicemail or maybe it’s an online form request, whatever it is, who knows if you’re going to get it, who knows if you’re going to answer it, take action until Monday. But that is the way that people had historically kind of gamed this and used it to their advantage. Now again, back to present time, 2023.

Late, early 2024, people started noticing Google’s putting more emphasis on the hours that are open, right? So where let’s just say, you know, earlier in the year 2023, you do a search if your business is closed and it’s after hours, you do a Google search for again, whatever coffee shop near me, things like this, that the results were kind of static, whether it was early in the evening, late at night or in the morning that the map pack would be relatively stable. But coming into this period, people were finding that the businesses that are open started really jockeying for position. So if a lot of businesses closed at five o’clock, the ones that were now open were shown more prominently in the map pack after five o’clock versus those that were closed, right? So that started to change some things and people started noticing that and trying to manipulate that and gain that for their advantage. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about here is not just adjusting your hours in your Google Business profile to try to get more phone calls and emails, maybe after hours or kind of in those shoulder times, those fringe times, but actually changing your hours and manipulating your hours to obtain a better rank within the map pack or to, you know, let’s say you’re in the map pack, but after business closes, then you drop out, then to keep you ranked, right? Even if it’s not increasing. So, like I said, this has always kind of been a factor, but a lot more prominence and a lot more you know, viability to it, if you will, in the not so distant past here. So like I said, people are trying to take advantage of this, bumping your hours a little bit, trying to get more leads, trying to get better ranking or maintain your ranking. Some people are even going to the extreme of just listing their business open as 24 seven, which again, all’s fair in love and marketing, like we said before.

Per Google’s guidelines, you’re not supposed to do that. You shouldn’t list your businesses 24 seven if people can’t show up 24 seven. You’re not supposed to list your hours period if people can’t show up and engage with you during those hours. So technically that is Google’s guidelines and you’re going to want to abide by that. However, I don’t recall seeing those enforced or getting any warnings or edits for business hours in Google. So again, all is fair in love in marketing and you can test and experiment there.

Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on local SEO tactics comm. We’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to local SEO tactics comm, slash free SEO audit or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it’s gonna take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize what you’re looking for the audit to score against.

Enter in that page and turn the key word you’re looking to get optimized for and Enter in your email address. Click the button and it’s gonna take a few seconds and then it’s gonna send you off a PDF report via email. It’s a great report. It’s gonna kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large. You know it’s auditing this page. That’s gonna tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you, basically, a checklist of some things that you need to show up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing.

Now you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors, right, if you want to do a little reverse engineering See how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good, that you’re not and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it completely free. Again, go on at the local SEO tactics comm slash, free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.

If you want, we would not recommend putting your business as 24 seven though. Just because, yeah, if somebody does either show up or try to get a hold of you, if they have a bad experience, leave a negative review. And if that happens multiple times, you know, then it’s going to maybe snowball for you in the wrong direction. But that is that is something that people are doing to definitely try to game things here. Overall, I do want to make this point to everybody. I think this really does underscore how Google will continue to look.

uh, for signals, whether it be for your website or for your GBP, um, to fine tune those results, uh, we’re here in March as we’re recording this, there’s been a big core algorithm update, kind of really centered around helpful, useful content, that kind of stuff again. And this is kind of like that in the GBP, right? If businesses are open, Hey, those are the ones I want to see in the map pack. That makes sense. It is helpful. And it shows how Google is just continuing to look at those signals to provide better, more accurate results for searchers in the map pack.

So keep that in mind overall for your SEO, right? You’re going to want to do things that are helpful, that provide information, clearly state what you do. We got to remember that we are trying to match ourselves and our businesses, um, our products and services with the people that are searching for that. Right? So their intent matches our intent and everybody’s happy. That’s what Google wants. That’s what we should want as well. We don’t want to just bump our ranking. We want to get the right clients and be ranked for those things. So keep that in mind. Now let’s talk about testing this for yourself. Is this happening to your business?

Can you jockey for position? Can you manipulate your rankings? Can you show up after hours if you are getting suppressed right now? This is going to depend on your market and your niche, right? So if you’re the only game in town, then it’s kind of not going to matter, right? If you’re always on the map pack, cause you’re just one of the few viable options, then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you’re in a very dense market or there’s a ton of competition, then maybe this does matter to you more and you do want to investigate it to see if you can capitalize on more business and more exposure test it for yourself. We’ve talked about this before. There’s different search tools out there, but using something like that Bright Local tool, which if you just do their results checker, Google ranking checker, things like that, you’ll find it and we’ll link to it in the show notes for you, of course, as well. But this is a great way to take kind of an agnostic viewpoint. If you do a Google search yourself, you can do that on your laptop, on your phone, whatever. But using a third party tool with no browsing history and things like that, like that Bright Local tool that we mentioned is a great way to see. So you’re going to want to do some checking during business hours for your business and then using the exact same keyword searches, the exact same location settings after hours and just see if there’s a difference. If you want to test different days of the week, go for it. For me, this is kind of a one and done deal, right? For what we’ve seen, your either hours are impacting your ranking or they’re not and test it for yourself so you know, before you start digging in and messing with this, is this something that you even need to be concerned about or that you want to experiment with, which is completely up to everybody’s own business decisions here, but test it first before you start making any tweaks and changes, especially with your GBP. We know historically these can be fragile. Changing too much information at one time can either get you suspended or just raise flags in Google that you don’t want to be messing with.

So just a quick disclaimer, as always, if we’re messing with our GBPs, we want to be sure that we’re doing this intentionally and that it needs to be done. So yeah, test it out and see what’s happening before you get in there and start messing around. So there’s some backstory and some context and a little bit of tips on maybe how to take a look at yourself. Now let’s get into our recommendation, our best practices and what we think you should do. So for this being the trick, and the tactic of changing your business hours to maintain or get ranked in the mat pack outside of your legitimate business hours, we say skip it. This is something that’s definitely very manipulative and if you’re not open or you can even get that lead, get that business right, it’s one thing just to get that ranking, but if that’s not translating the business for you, do you want to risk it and even go down this road just to say that you are ranked better?

Again, that’s going to be up to everybody’s decision, but in general for us, we just want to stay accurate to what the business actually is and have that represented online. And so we would say, don’t mess with us, just have your actual hours, be your actual hours. Now, if you’ve been considering staying open later, opening earlier, maybe on the weekends, this would be something that would give you pause, maybe to maybe tip you over the edge saying, okay, now it does matter because before maybe I was losing business.

But I was still ranked and getting exposure now. I want to be open to you know, still keep our name out there You know, maybe that applies to you here in that situation so Something else here to keep in mind if you do decide to flex this and modify your hours You’re going to want to be consistent with those hours, right? So on one side, you know, we would say don’t modify your GBP hours to you know, manipulate your ranking Just keep them true to what they are Those are also going to be listed on your website you know, maybe Facebook, different social profiles, different directory websites, Yelp, things like that. You’re going to want to keep your GBP accurate to those. Now, if you do go and flex this and you want to modify your GBP hours to test it, you’re probably going to want to change your hours in all those other areas as well. So Google does trust this as your actual business hours and you can get that clout. So just FYI on that.

Now, if you do deploy this and if you must, something else we would suggest is some type of either answering service for phone calls, maybe some kind of after hours voicemail that, you know, doesn’t just say, hey, we’re closed right now, which could trigger people to either leave you a bad review or report it as inaccurate information, things like that. So it’s some kind of answering service to actually help if you’re going to stay open, be open, right, but not physically be there, just manipulating your hours.

You still want your clients to be able to be facilitated in some way. Same with email, make sure you’re able to receive that or maybe have forms and call to actions on your website that allow people, chat, maybe things like this. Just make sure people can contact you and depending on your industry, what business sector you’re in, if they do need prompt reply, prompt support, make sure you have a plan for that as well if you’re going to show that you’re open. Maybe not fully open, right? But just some way to at least facilitate those conversations.

That would be a really only recommendation if you are going to go forward with this is to just have some kind of a safety net for that. Now, additionally, again, don’t think that’s maybe the best thing for you to do. So would offer a few tips here up to close out this episode and topic as something else to focus on. If you want to put some energy into this and try to improve your ranking, here are some of the, you know, just known and traditional signals that are very, very strong and probably stronger than business hours here broadly for your Google Business Profile. And we’ve talked about these in various episodes. We’ll link to these in the show notes, how to optimize your GBP, how to navigate some of the settings and the options that you have within that to really put your best foot forward. One of the primary and probably the primary area that you’re going to look at is your business categories. You have a primary category and then like secondary categories, if you will, additional categories.

Your primary category should be chosen carefully and it should be very relevant to your business, should be the main thing you want to be identified by. That’s going to be a very, very strong signal.

Hey everyone. Wanted to interrupt to leave. I shouldn’t say leave. I wanted to read a review. I want you to leave a review and I want to read this one that ZQYVX left. Five star review. You like how it does a good transition, right? Um, this is best local SEO podcast. I own a small internet marketing services company as a side hustle and listen to a lot of episodes, I’m sorry, listen to a lot of podcasts to keep up on SEO. Local SEO tactics is my favorite. Great topics.

Practical advice. I never miss an episode. Hey, we really appreciate that. And everyone else listening, if you feel the same way, if you haven’t left us a review, we would love to hear from you and we would really appreciate it. Going out to, scroll down to the bottom, click the link for reviews. You can send it via Facebook, Google, Apple podcasts, whatever you are so inclined to do. We would love to hear from you and we’ll read it on the show, click down at the bottom, the link for reviews. Thank you.

A strong area to focus on for your GBP SEO is going to be your landing page that you connect your GBP to. I believe in the GBP it says website, so I say landing page meaning sometimes it’s not your homepage. Often it’s going to be your homepage for a local business, but if you have an inner page, an actual landing page for your GBP, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re addressing the SEO on that. Google does look at the content of your landing page and you are going to get some intent.

some keyword juice, if you will, things like that, right? Whatever’s on your landing page for your GBP will translate to the GBP itself for information and for SEO, quote unquote. So pay attention to that and optimize that. Again, often your homepage for a local business is going to suffice, but if you do have an inner page, pay attention to that, whatever your GBP is linked to. Reviews are important, getting reviews, maybe photos with reviews.

Five star reviews, right, versus one star reviews, replying to those reviews, all these things that we’ve talked about in various episodes are very important signals, very strong signals for your GBP, I would focus on those. Photos, whether they be uploaded by users or you as the business owner, interior, exterior, team photos, things like this, labeling those photos, right, with file names, not just random IMG1234, I’m sorry, it’s usually 1234img.jpeg, things like that.

Um, let’s see, yeah, the services and the products that you can put in your GBP, fully optimizing and putting those out there again, if you’re, if you’re not doing these things that I’m rattling off and you’re experimenting with your business hours, you know, we would say, stop, go back, fully optimize your GBP with these areas before you even start touching your hours to try to manipulate that, got to put your best foot forward. Um, and yeah, just adhering to the best practices and really at the end of the day, using all the fields and areas within the GBP and making sure you’re you know, writing your information and presenting it with your intent out there, right? Making sure that if you want to be found for red balloons, you’re mentioning red balloons somewhere, things like this. So there you go. This is a topic that has been catching a little bit of steam here in the last couple months. People have been experimenting with it with some good results for what we talked about earlier. Is it right for you? You’re going to have to decide. Hopefully in this episode here, we gave you a bunch of information to make that decision, how to test it out, and if you are going to roll it out may be a good way to do it. And then last closing here with some great suggestions and reminders on the things that you for sure should be focused on for your GBP above all else. Hopefully this helps you out. Hopefully there’s some good action items. Appreciate all of you for listening or if you’re on the YouTube for watching, we appreciate that support. Love to hear from you. We’ll catch you on the next episode. Take care.


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