facebook Business Openness: Google's New Local Search Ranking Factor

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Business Openness: Google's New Vital Local Search Ranking Factor

Google has recently made changes in its ranking algorithm for the local search results. As per the recent updates, the openness of a business will not be a ranking factor in listing various businesses in the local search results. Simplifying what has been said earlier is that now any business that isn’t open 24/7 will not be listed on the top search results during their closing hours in place of which someone that is open during the search time or even open 24 hours will be considered to be ranked among the local search result for a given query.

The recent updates to Google's local vital ranking factors have heavily impacted the ranking results and even many businesses. However, it is beneficial for the searchers as someone who is searching despite the normal timings will need that product. In this blog post, we have listed all the information regarding the Google Vital Ranking factor and how business openness has now become a crucial component. So, check this one till the bottom to get all the information regarding Google Ranking Factors.

Major Highlights Of Google Openness As A Key Ranking Factor

  • As of November 2023, changes in the local search results were noted as the ranking of some of the major businesses dropped significantly.
  • In December, Google Liaison Danny Sullivan confirmed the changes on a Twitter Post, stating openness is now a strong signal for non-navigational queries, and changes are being made to evaluate the usefulness of it as a ranking factor on non-navigational queries.
  • Along with that, various businesses were advised not to change their opening hours and to stick to their original timings.

Brief Information About Google Ranking Factors

The Google Ranking Factors are various components of a webpage based on which Google determines how relevant any page provides an answer for a given query searched by the users. Some of the major factors, which are the first ones analyzed by the bots, include Content quality, search intent, keyword optimization, backlinks, user experiences, and many others.

The above-mentioned factors are common ranking factors to which a few additions and deductions can be made in the list of ranking factors while speaking of local search results. While ranking various businesses for a local search, some additional factors include complete profile information, location verification, details regarding products, and opening hours. Initially, only an additional ranking factor, the opening hours of any business have now been considered crucial.

Due to the “Openness” of a business being a crucial factor, it will be easy for the unrecognized businesses that are open 24 hours to get some visibility on various non-navigational queries.

At the same time, it can be easy for the users to manipulate their opening hours, which can be a big trouble for the search engine when it comes to putting the relevant results. For this, additional measures are being taken to find the correct timings of any business and, if detected, might lead to suspension of their Google Business Account.

What Are Navigational Queries?

While discussing the openness of the business as the Google Ranking Factor, it has been mentioned that it would be considered a vital ranking detail when displaying results for non-navigational queries. So the question is, what exactly are non-navigational queries?

Typically, there are three major types of queries which are navigational, informational, and transactional queries.

The navigation refers to the ones where users specifically look for a specific website. They might be local searches or normal queries. In terms of local searches users particularly search for a particular brand or related stores. The term “Domino's Pizza near me” is a navigational query where users are specifically looking for the Domino restaurants near them.

Now, speaking about non-navigational queries, they can be considered informational queries or ones where users might be looking for a specific product but not for any specific brand. Considering the above query, which is a navigational one, here, if we just type “Pizza near me", then the intent of the user is non-navigational.

Openness Of The Business As A Google Vital Ranking Factor

Coming back to our topic, Google now considers the business open hours as being their primary factor while listing the result for a particular query. As per the recent observations made by SEO experts, openness will now impact the ranking of a business that is now available 24/7 or has recently updated its timings.

The reason to provide preference in their search results to a business that is open 24/7 is simple and understandable. To provide a better response, the users who have searched for a specific product can easily find one that is open at the given time. Google considers better search results.

How Openness Can Be A Crucial Factor In Non-Navigational Searches?

Non-navigational searches involve the ones where users do not only know the type of product but also the brand name. Any type of these queries made during non-working hours is quite indicative that the user is looking for the product rather than checking out the best one available.

Also, for any non-navigational query made during the daytime, the user might be looking for particular information rather than the destination.

Any best SEO company in Gurgaon will recommend you to update your business opening hours. This will surely rank you for the top search query. However, businesses should stick to keeping their original timings up-to-date and information true to its source. This can easily ensure the good standing of a website on the local search page.

Minimizing The Impact Of Navigational Queries On Local Search Results

Navigational Queries can be unique searches that indicate brand awareness, thus ensuring a good standing among the search results. Even a few navigational queries will lead to the display of a business among the top search results, thus contributing to its better online visibility.

With these positive ranking signals, any business will favourably reach the top of the local search results. However, it might have a damaging effect on other businesses. Along with that, any users searching outside working hours might not be able to find the right result, or their search will be incomplete.

To tackle this, the Google Rank Algorithm has included or prioritized the openness of a business under their top ranking factors. Due to this, only the one with favourable openness will be listed in the search results at a given time.

This will be beneficial for both the users and the business as any business gets an edge over the competition, and the user gets the right result that they have searched for.

Concern Among The Businesses For Local Search Regarding Openness

While it is an opportunity for the unestablished business to get more visibility online through local search, there is a genuine concern among the users that many businesses will falsely update their profiles to gain more traffic. Keeping this in mind, Google addresses this concern, noting that the ranking signal will continue to adjust.

Also, providing false information regarding your business online on your Google Business Profile might lead to its suspension. Thus, we strongly advise the users not to falsely utilize this ranking signal otherwise, there might be a chance to face consequences where there will be no room for the business to even list on Google.

What Factors Does Google Lookout To Determine Local Search Results?

The Major factors that Google local rank search algorithm determines for local ranking results are Distance, Relevance, and Prominence.

  • Distance

One of the major factors based on which business appears in the local search results is the distance by which any business is far/close to the location mentioned in the query. In case a user doesn’t mention a particular location, then the search result will appear based on the distance between the user and the nearest store/shop/business available.

  • Relevance

For every query related to local search made, Google's ranking algorithm tries to give the result that best matches. In other words, it will try to list the ones that offer the products that are most relevant to the query made. To fulfil this factor, you need to provide complete information on your business and update the profile regularly with every new product you have.

  • Prominence

While distance and relevance are the most crucial and primary factors determined by Google, the last factor is the one where Google looks at how known or famous your business is offline. The more well-known your business is in the outer, the more likely it is that you have listed genuine information and offer the best available in the locality.

For the Google Local Search Ranking algorithm, it is easy to determine the Prominence of any business from various other external factors. These can be mentioning of the business in various directories online or in any article, or blog which is from a well-known source on the internet. Mentioning all these factors contributes to a positive image of the business. This also makes it more relevant for display in the top search results.

  • Business Opening Hours

Apart from all three factors, openness is also a major factor in sending a strong signal for the local search results. Recently added to be a crucial factor for local search results, the major intent behind this is to consider openness is the fact that users might be looking for actual products while searching locally at an unusual time.

Some Tips And Tricks For The Business To Enhance Their Local Search Ranking

Consideration of Openness as a vital ranking factor is a game changer, especially for small businesses, to enhance their visibility against strong competitors. While opening 24 hours or during the night or any other different timings like on holiday may give some advantage to them, the user needs to consider other various local ranking factors to improve/enhance their visibility. The following are some tips that might help them gain more visibility on local searches.

  • Update Your Business Information

Incomplete information regarding the business will have an impact on the ranking in the local search. Without proper information regarding what you do or what you offer, it will not be possible to determine whether to list you for any particular query or not. Therefore, you need to provide a full description of your business along with a simple and complete description of your product and services.

  • Update Your Business Profile

The first requirement to be eligible for the local search results is the verification of your location. While location is the topmost vital ranking factor to determine, you have to update your company location and complete the verification process.

  • Showcase Your Products And Services

While you can easily list your products on your Google Business Profile, this is just a formality. What more you can add to this is some images showing your products that can also help attract more and more customers.

  • Engage With Audience

While local searches are all about offering the right products at the right time, the opinion of the audience does have a crucial role in ranking. The quality of the services and products you are offering will automatically contribute to their feedback. While positive feedback is beneficial, negative reviews can be a concern. To handle negative reviews, you need to connect with the audience, reply to both positive and negative reviews, address their queries, and assure them that you will offer better services in the future.

  • Optimize Your Google Business Profile's Performance

While you keep taking various measures to optimize your Google Profile, you need to keep track of whether all that you are working on is effective or not. You need to check your Profile performance at regular intervals. Based on your performance, you can easily get different insights.

Requirement Of GMB Services

The Google Business Profile has now become a crucial component for any online business. Anyone looking for any products online or even for a store in their locality relies on Google to find the right place. Thus, it has become somewhat mandatory for businesses to create, update, and optimize their Google Business Profile. It can be difficult to maintain various profiles considering an online business needs to mark its presence on different social platforms. This is where a digital marketing agency like Advology Solution can be helpful to assist any business in optimizing their GMB profile and other social media platforms.

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