New Google Ranking Factor: Hours of Operation On Your Google Business Profile

openness hours of operation google business profile ranking signal kaleidoscope orthodontic marketing for online rankings Here’s the scoop: Google has updated its ranking algorithm in the Maps area to place more emphasis on hours of operation. When someone searches on Google, businesses listed as “open” at that exact moment will have the best chance of ranking in the top three results.

For example, if your orthodontic practice is closed on Thursdays, your Google Business Profile might lose some visibility for local searches conducted on Thursdays, especially compared to days when your office is open. In some cases, the results can even vary hour-by-hour. Whenever someone searches on Google, open businesses have a good chance to rank higher than businesses that are closed.

Why Would Google Make Openness A Ranking Factor?

Hours of operation have actually been part of the algorithm for a while. Google is just placing more emphasis on it now. Here’s what Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, had to say: “We’ve long used ‘openness’ as part of our local ranking systems, and it recently became a stronger signal for non-navigational queries.”

The ultimate goal of Google is to provide the most relevant results at the exact moment when a user is searching. Based on millions of search queries, Google has a lot of data indicating that users are often manually sorting the results to prioritize businesses that are open when they are searching.

If you’ve ever been on the prowl for a late dinner and searching for a decent restaurant that might still be open, then you’ve looked at the hours of operation in Google Maps hoping for good news. There is a sorting feature that allows you to adjust the results to show only businesses that are currently open.

When the algorithm sees a lot of users reorganizing the results in the same way, Google can adjust the rankings to account for user behavior and preferences. This is how the “openness” update came to pass. Google recognized a lot of users were manually sorting the results to show who was open and who wasn’t. The algorithm, which always considered this information, now puts more significance on it. New evidence shows Google will automatically shift the rankings based on hours of operation, favoring businesses that are open at the time of a search.

Should I Update My Hours on Google?

The knee-jerk reaction to this update might be to change your hours to 24/7 like you’re open all the time. If Google thinks I’m always open, they will always rank my profile higher!

This is a risky strategy for a few reasons. First, it would be misleading potential new patients. You don’t want prospective patients finding you on Google and calling your office expecting you to be open when nobody is there to schedule their appointment and answer their questions. This creates a negative user experience.

Second, Google will be able to look at other signals to determine whether you’re open 24/7. Will you be updating the hours on your website and other business profiles as well? Because Google will crawl those other digital properties looking for consistency and accuracy. 

Regularly Check Your Google Business Profile for Accuracy

You should check your profile(s) to make sure the hours of operation are correct. Perhaps you have an administrative day where your staff answers phones but you don’t schedule any patients; that would fall into a gray area. You aren’t technically seeing patients, but your staff is available to speak with current or potential patients on the phone.

For maximum visibility, we recommend showing you are open if you have someone to answer phone calls. If you are fully closed and your staff cannot be reached, then you should not be listed as “open” on your Google Business Profile. (Being on call for emergencies is not the same as being open for business.)

At Kaleidoscope Digital Marketing, we understand the importance of staying on top of your digital game. With our monthly SEO programs, you can have a team of experts on “Google Patrol” ensuring your online presence is secure. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation!