Open Hours and Your Firm’s Ranking in the Map Pack

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By Omnizant Team
Law Firm Marketing Agency

Your local visibility on Google faces a new challenge, though it’s up to you whether this update is friend or foe to your firm. A recent Google algorithm update has turned the spotlight onto a crucial factor: your business hours. 

We’re delving into the nuances of your Google Business Profile (GBP) and how the hours you keep can make or break your ranking in the Map Pack. It’s time to get real about maximizing your online visibility.

Read on to find out how the GBP and Map Pack work, the dos and don’ts regarding business hours on your GBP and tips to improve your local ranking by expanding your hours legitimately.

Google confirms that business hours affect Map Pack ranking

In November 2023, Google significantly updated its algorithm. One of these changes is to increase the power of the ranking signal associated with a business’s open hours.

In other words, Google has now explicitly acknowledged that open hours on a Google Business Profile strongly impact its Map Pack ranking.

Here’s a mini-refresher on the Map Pack, if you need it. Basically, the Map Pack is the short list of three local businesses that Google presents to searchers when they perform a local query such as “lawyers near me” or “lawyers in Hoboken.” To earn a spot in the competitive Map Pack, your firm needs a strong Google Business Profile. 

Google is always trying to improve its algorithm to enhance the user experience. This new change reflects a strategic effort to better connect users with services by prioritizing businesses with operational hours that align with real-time needs. 

Precision and accuracy in your open hours are not merely a matter of user convenience anymore—your open hours directly influence the visibility and positioning of your business in local searches.

Do not set your hours to 24/7 to falsely attract more business

Resist the temptation to set your business hours to 24/7. On the surface, this may seem like a strategic move to attract more customers. Firms may believe designating themselves as “always open” will boost visibility.  

False advertising will backfire in the world of Google Business Profiles (GBP). 

The intention behind this approach is understandable, but Google values accuracy and authenticity above all. Google’s algorithm is designed to prioritize relevance and user experience. 

Trust us, listing inaccurate hours (especially claiming round-the-clock availability when not accurate) is counterproductive. Google will recognize this discrepancy and may discard or deprioritize such entries. Yikes!

The solution is transparency—and some creative expansion of services, if possible.

Providing accurate business hours not only aligns with ethical practices but also ensures that your business is accurately represented in local searches, fostering trust and credibility among potential customers. 

Do strategize about ways to expand your hours legitimately

Here’s what you can do. During the hours of 9a – 5p, firms won’t gain much advantage because those are common open hours among other local firms. But what about beyond that time frame?

Brainstorm ways to legitimately expand your opening hours.

Do your phone lines open at 7am? Do you have an associate working most evenings (and able to provide an emergency consult)? Do you have offices across time zones that allow you to get more coverage in the day?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you can extend your business hours on your GBP and get a leg up on your local competitors.

Consider staggered shifts among staff or hiring additional team members to cover extended hours. Leverage technology by implementing online services or automated systems for certain tasks, ensuring a continuous service flow. Collaborate with reliable partners to share responsibilities during peak hours. Get creative, because expanding your open hours is a seriously high-ROI tactic when it comes to netting local searchers.

Monitor your GBP closely to avoid falling behind

This new update is a timely reminder that optimizing your GBP is an ongoing process. Just like all other parts of the SERP, the GBP is always changing! 

To stay competitive, you should monitor your GBP regularly. Check for accuracy in your contact information. Add a news update to let your audience know what’s going on. Respond to reviews. See how your rivals are performing (hint: look at open hours, reviews, and keywords) and adapt your own strategy accordingly.

Review and next steps

In your quest for online dominance, mastering your Google Business Profile (GBP) is the ultimate game-changer. 

Remember that precision, not pretense, rules the Map Pack. Authenticity in business hours isn’t just a checkbox; it’s the key to unlocking prime digital real estate. Shatter the ‘always open’ mirage, embrace accuracy, and watch your business soar in local searches. Strategize, optimize, and let your business hours be the beacon that guides customers straight to your door.

Take the next step in optimizing your website’s SEO—consult with us. We offer transparent and accountable solutions to drive tangible results for law firms online.

About the Author
Since 2006, Omnizant's team of digital marketing experts, designers, developers and writers has helped over 2,000 law firms develop powerful websites that drive business growth.
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