Learn how the latest Google local ranking update affects your local SEO. Get expert insights from Local Dominator about open and closed businesses on GMB.

In the dynamic landscape of local SEO, Google has recently introduced a substantial update that specifically hones in on the operational status of businesses—whether they are open or closed. This pivotal shift carries paramount importance for businesses striving to either uphold or enhance their Google Local Ranking, which serves as a pivotal determinant of their online visibility. Grasping the nuances of this update and adeptly incorporating it into your local SEO strategy can wield a substantial influence over how prominently your business surfaces in local search results.

What’s new in Google Local Rankings?

Google Local Rankings are undergoing a significant transformation, focused on providing users with the most relevant and up-to-date information. The latest update introduces a real-time component that evaluates the operational status of businesses, ensuring that users only see results for businesses actively serving customers at any given time.

This update marks a major shift in Google’s approach to local search, moving from a static ranking system to a dynamic one that reflects real-world conditions. This shift is designed to improve the user experience by providing accurate and timely information, ultimately helping users make informed decisions about where to spend their time and money.

Keeping your business information up-to-date

Making sure that you update the business hours you display on your Google My Business listing has become more important than ever. Incorrect or outdated hours can lead to a lower ranking in local searches. Regularly updating your business hours ensures that potential customers always receive the correct information, which is vital for maintaining a good Google local ranking.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Google Local Rankings:

  • Real-time updates
    Google will now continuously monitor the operational status of businesses, including their opening hours, holiday closures, and staffing levels. This information will be factored into local search results in real-time, ensuring that users only see results for businesses that are currently open and able to serve them.
  • Increased relevance
    This update will significantly improve the relevance of local search results. By factoring in real-time operational data, Google can ensure that users are only presented with options that are relevant to their immediate needs.
  • Improved user experience
    This update is ultimately designed to improve the user experience by providing users with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. This can help users save time and make better decisions about where to go and what to do.

What does this mean for businesses?

Businesses need to ensure that their Google Business Profile is up-to-date and accurate. This includes providing accurate opening hours, holiday closures, and other relevant information. Businesses should also consider using Google My Business features to communicate their current operational status, such as posting updates about temporary closures or limited services.

Strategies for Businesses with Irregular Hours
Businesses with fluctuating hours, like those operating seasonally or hosting special events, face unique challenges in local search optimization. Maintaining visibility and ranking requires proactive strategies to keep your Google Business Profile accurate and engaging. Here’s how:

  1. Embrace Real-time Updates:

    • Promptly reflect holiday hours and event schedules. Timely updates ensure your customers don’t arrive to find you closed.
    • Leverage “Special Hours” feature. This dedicated section allows you to highlight temporary changes during peak seasons or specific events.
    • Utilize Google Posts. Share announcements about upcoming events, holiday closures, or temporary changes directly with your audience.
  2. Enhance Visibility with Targeted Communication:

    • Maintain consistent brand messaging across all platforms. This includes your website, social media, and Google Business Profile.
    • Utilize Google My Business Q&A. Address common questions about your hours, especially during peak seasons or special events.
    • Consider integrating Google My Business with online booking systems. This allows customers to easily schedule appointments or reserve spots for events, even when your hours are irregular.
  3. Optimize Your Listings for Local Search:

    • Include relevant keywords in your business description and categories. Help users easily find you when searching for services or products you offer.
    • Encourage positive customer reviews and respond to feedback. This fosters trust and can improve your search ranking.
    • Use high-quality photos and videos. Showcase your business and attract potential customers with visually appealing content.
  4. Leverage Technology for Automation:

    • Utilize tools like Google My Business API or third-party management platforms. These tools can automate your Google Business Profile updates, saving you time and ensuring consistent information.
    • Consider integrating your booking system with Google My Business. This allows for automatic synchronization of your appointments and availability, reducing the risk of errors.
@eldarlocalwiz Google update: this may affect your Google Maps ranking. #seo #GoogleMaps #localseo #marketing ♬ original sound – Eldar Cohen

Leveraging the “Open Now” Feature

The “Open Now” feature on Google Business Profile is far more than just an indicator of your operating hours. It’s a potent tool that enhances your local visibility, attracts customers seeking immediate solutions, and ultimately supercharges your Google Local Ranking.

The Power of Real-Time Visibility

Imagine a potential customer urgently searching for a specific service or product. They turn to Google, entering phrases like “restaurants open now” or “urgent plumbing service open now.” At this crucial moment, the “Open Now” feature steps into the spotlight. It acts as a filter, instantly narrowing down the search results to display businesses that are currently open and ready to serve.

The Competitive Edge

For businesses that align with the “Open Now” filter, there’s a significant advantage. By ensuring your business hours consistently reflect your current operational status, you position yourself to appear prominently in these highly valuable search results. Your business becomes the immediate solution for someone in dire need.

Immediate Gratification

In our fast-paced world, where instant gratification often takes precedence, the “Open Now” feature caters perfectly to the desires of users. It facilitates quick decision-making and expedites the process of connecting consumers with businesses that can fulfill their needs right away. Businesses that capitalize on this feature can reap the rewards of catering to the urgency of their target audience.

Managing Business Hours for Multiple Locations

Managing business hours across multiple locations can be like juggling a dozen flaming batons. Each branch or store operates on its own schedule, demanding constant updates and meticulous attention to detail. This complex task can quickly become a time-consuming nightmare, dragging down your productivity and hindering your overall Google Local Search Ranking.

The Multifaceted Challenge of Multiple Locations

Managing business hours manually for a single location is meticulous in itself, but when you multiply that task by numerous branches or stores, each with its distinct schedule, the complexity becomes apparent. Ensuring that all your listings consistently display the correct hours is akin to solving a logistical puzzle. Any discrepancies can lead to confusion among potential customers and adversely affect your Google Local Search Ranking.

The Automation Advantage

This is where automation tools come into play as a transformative asset. These tools offer a centralized dashboard where you can input and update business hours for all your locations concurrently. They synchronize this information across various platforms, ensuring uniformity and consistency. Whether you’re managing ten locations or a hundred, automation streamlines the process, reducing the risk of errors and guaranteeing that your customers always access precise information.

The Impact on Google Local Search Ranking

Accurate business hours play a pivotal role in Google’s algorithm when assessing your local search ranking. When all your listings are consistently updated and synchronized, it sends a powerful signal to Google that your business is reliable and user-friendly. This positively influences your Google Local Search Ranking, potentially positioning your business higher in local search results.

The Role of Customer Reviews and Feedback

In the intricate world of local SEO, the significance of customer reviews and feedback cannot be overstated. These valuable insights not only provide a window into your business’s performance but also serve as an unexpected indicator of the accuracy of your business hours. Let’s explore how these reviews play a pivotal role in shaping your business’s reputation and how encouraging customers to share their experiences can have a profound impact not only on your reputation but also on your Google Local Ranking.

Reviews as a Mirror of Accuracy

Customer reviews often contain subtle but telling clues about the reliability of a business, including the accuracy of its business hours. A pattern of reviews mentioning discrepancies between stated hours and actual operating hours can serve as a red flag for potential customers. In contrast, consistent reviews that align with your business’s listed hours demonstrate a harmonious blend of reliability and accuracy.

The Reputation-Building Power of Reviews

Positive customer reviews are akin to gold nuggets in the realm of online reputation. They showcase your business’s commitment to exceptional customer service and reliability. When potential customers encounter glowing reviews highlighting your accurate business hours and exceptional service, it fosters trust and enhances your reputation.

The Impact on Google Local Ranking

Beyond shaping your reputation, customer reviews wield substantial influence over your Google Local Ranking. Google’s algorithm takes into account the quality and quantity of reviews when determining the credibility and trustworthiness of a business. A barrage of positive reviews not only boosts your reputation but also signals to Google that your business is a trustworthy and customer-centric establishment.

Conclusion

The recent Google update that considers open or closed status, the critical importance of accurate business hours, leveraging the “Open Now” feature, streamlining the management of multiple locations, and harnessing the power of customer reviews all converge to shape a business’s destiny in local search rankings. Accurate business hours serve as the cornerstone, guiding potential customers and bolstering trust. The “Open Now” feature becomes a beacon, directing urgent queries your way. Automating multiple location listings ensures uniformity and accuracy. Customer reviews, reflecting not just your hours but your overall service quality, wield a profound influence. In this tapestry of local SEO, meticulous attention to detail propels businesses forward, ensuring they not only survive but thrive amidst fierce competition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I update my business hours on Google My Business?

Updating your business hours on Google My Business should be a regular practice, ideally whenever there’s a change in your operating hours. Whether it’s due to holidays, special events, or permanent shifts in your schedule, prompt updates ensure that potential customers receive accurate information. Consistency and accuracy in business hours are crucial for maintaining trust and a positive Google Local Ranking.

Can incorrect business hours affect my Google Local Ranking?

Yes, incorrect business hours can certainly have a detrimental impact on your Google Local Ranking. Google aims to provide users with reliable and up-to-date information. Inaccurate hours can lead to frustrated customers, which can result in negative reviews and a drop in local search rankings. Therefore, maintaining precise business hours is essential to avoid any negative repercussions.

What are the best tools for managing multiple business locations on Google?

For managing multiple business locations on Google, there are several effective tools available. Google’s own tool, Google My Business, allows you to manage multiple listings from a single dashboard. Additionally, third-party tools like Yext and Moz Local offer comprehensive solutions for managing and synchronizing business information across various locations, helping to streamline the process.

How do customer reviews impact my local SEO?

Customer reviews significantly impact your local SEO. Positive reviews not only enhance your online reputation but also signal to Google that your business is trustworthy and provides excellent service. Google considers the quantity and quality of reviews when determining your local search ranking, making positive reviews a valuable asset for boosting your online visibility.

What strategies can I use to encourage customers to leave positive reviews?

To encourage customers to leave positive reviews, consider implementing strategies such as requesting reviews politely through in-store signage or follow-up emails, providing exceptional customer service to naturally elicit positive feedback, making the review process easy by sharing direct links to your Google My Business page, and engaging with customers’ reviews, responding promptly and professionally to show your appreciation. By actively seeking and nurturing positive reviews, you can enhance your local SEO and bolster your business’s online reputation.

Become the Local Dominator Today!

Become the Local Dominator in your niche today! Update your business hours, manage listings diligently, and encourage positive reviews. Rise above the competition, claim your local throne, and lead the way in your community. Your journey to Local Dominator status begins now.

Eldar Cohen

Meet the author:

Eldar Cohen

Eldar is the founder of Local Dominator and CEO of LocalWiz Marketing. Eldar trains and mentors entrepreneurs, marketing teams, and agency owners to help them identify their unique selling proposition to achieve scalable growth on both personal and business fronts. 

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