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!