Do Longer Business Hours Help Local Rankings in Google?

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Sometimes I get clients whose businesses are open only a few days a week.  They often seem to get less Google Places visibility and lower traffic on those days.

To me, it’s always been a chicken-or-the-egg question: Are they closed because those days are slow to begin with, or does Google show their businesses less or lower in the local 3-pack as a result of their limited hours?

I did a quick (and possibly inconclusive) little experiment.  Based on the results so far, I’d say Google probably won’t give you an increase in local-search visibility just because you lengthen your business hours.

On October 8 – more than two weeks ago – I increased the business hours of my poor, neglected Google My Business Page.  I changed them Mon-Fri 2pm-7pm to Mon-Sun, 12am-12pm – AKA open 24/7.

Did I see any bump in the local 3-pack?

If the Google My Business “Insights” are any indication, I didn’t see any meaningful bump.

“Insights” numbers are about as reliable as the Green Line in Boston.  So what does Google Analytics tell us?

In other words, if I didn’t see an increase in 3-pack impressions, did I at least see any bump in traffic after October 8 (when I changed to open 24/7)?

Doesn’t appear so.

I wanted to see a dramatic before-and-after picture.  I wanted to see whether business hours are just a big dumb direct local ranking factor, the way the “business name” field is.  It doesn’t appear to be.  That’s good news, I say.

Of course, maybe hours do affect your local rankings / visibility in one way or another.  For one thing, this was just one down-and-dirty experiment.

Google knows your business hours and displays them prominently.  I’d guess that over time they affect your rankings indirectly, based on how click-worthy they make your business.

But for some search terms – like “emergency dentist” or “24-hour pharmacy” – I would hope that hours also directly influence when and how highly a business shows in the search results.  If that’s not already the case, I hope Google moves in that direction.

Have you noticed that business hours affect your local visibility in any way?

Any experiments you’d like to try (or want someone else to)?

Leave a comment!


  1. Hey Phil

    I have never seen this have an impact one way or another. It does make me wonder if the results could become more dynamic to prioritise results that were open – for instance searching for a coffee shop from a mobile – is there much point showing the top 3 if they are all closed? I want to see the 24 hour ones that are open.

    I guess this is one where certain industries could benefit from more dynamic listings and others it is not so important. Unless of course we all start offering an Emergency Local SEO service? 😉

  2. Hey Phil,

    Funny you should publish this today, because just last night I added this question to my ranking fluctuation research: “Time of day: do the results change when businesses are closed? Check for businesses that are open 24 hours in the evening, closing time, middle of day.”

    Great minds, and all that. 🙂

    I’m currently setting up a research project where I test ranking fluctuation across many different keywords. I’ll be running every keyword once an hour for an entire week. I’ll have the data to show whether or not businesses that rank well during the day, don’t rank as well in the evening when they’re closed.

  3. I think a related question is how do hours affect conversions? (Cuz click-throughs affect rank IMO.)

    With Google’s emphasis on showing business hours AND hanging a big red “Closed Now” sign on your listing after hours, it’s super important to make sure your hours are correct. And when she’s showing that “Closed Now” label, have you ever wondered how much potential business you are losing? (And how many click-throughs went to someone else?)

    I wrote a big long post about it, but won’t link out to it. Here is another post.

    I didn’t suggest fudging hours or anything. That wasn’t the point. The point was evaluating when your customers are searching and considering stretching your hours, so you don’t show up as closed when they need you most.

  4. I wonder if device also affects things. A mobile user is more inclined to want to know whats open now, while a desktop user could be researching for later.

    • Excellent point, Tony. One would think that however much or little hours matter for your visibility in desktop results, they’d matter more for your mobile visibility.

  5. avatar Gerry Foster says:

    Thank you for this Phil (and for the subsequent follow ups in the thread). I look forward to any research you choose to release Darren!

    If only….Google insights told us the thing we want to know!

  6. Thinking of the same instances as Marcus. If Google could give us good results for that kind of query, I’ll start believing that search engines are getting smarter and that they’re really serving their purpose, giving smart answers to questions and not just merely presenting paid ads.

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