Local Search Ranking Factor

Local Search Ranking Factors: The Impact Of Business ‘Openness’ On Google’s Algorithm

December 20, 2022Posted By: Karan Shah
Business OpennessGoogle AlgorithmLocal SEO


In December 2021, Google rolled out its most significant local algorithm update in the last five years, massively impacting the local and hyperlocal SEO world. Focused on the proximity factor, filtering businesses to highlight those nearest to the user.

However, many companies had figured out ways to rank better, even if their offices were further away. As a consequence, the Google vicinity update was designed to focus on small businesses for local search ranking that were previously overshadowed by larger businesses located at a distance, bringing them to the forefront of local SERPs.

Google recently updated its local search ranking algorithm to strengthen its ‘openness’ signal for non-navigational queries. In this article, we will walk you through the ‘openness’ ranking factor, how it affects local search results, its impact on business, and more to help you confidently navigate this update.

‘Openness’ Ranking Factor

Understanding The ‘Openness’ Ranking Factor

In the context of Google search updates, ‘Openness’ refers to a relatively new dimension in Google’s local SEO packages. This concept extends beyond merely indicating whether a business is open or closed.

It encompasses the clarity, accuracy, and accessibility of operational information a business provides to its potential customers online.

What Does ‘Openness’ Mean In Google's Context?

When we talk about ‘Openness’ in relation to Local Search Ranking Factor, we are referring to how well a business communicates its operational status. This includes not just hours of operation but also details about services offered, temporary closures, and any special operating conditions (such as changes due to public health guidelines).

A key aspect of ‘Openness’ is how this information is presented on Google’s platforms, particularly Google Business listings. The more accurate and comprehensive this information is, the easier for Google’s algorithms to understand and accurately represent a business in local search results.

How ‘Openness’ Affects Local Search Results?

The impact of ‘Openness’ as a Local Search Ranking Factor is significant in determining the visibility of businesses in Google local ranking. A business that regularly updates its operational details and provides clear, accurate information is more likely to be favored by Google’s algorithms. This is because Google aims to provide the most useful and relevant information to its users.

For instance, a restaurant that updates its Google Business listing with current opening hours, menu changes, and safety measures for dining during a pandemic is likely to rank higher in local search results than a similar restaurant that does not provide such detailed information.

A recent study highlighted that businesses with complete and optimized Google Business listings saw an increase in their visibility by up to 70% in local search results. This emphasizes the importance of ‘Openness’ in Google’s local search algorithms.

Moreover, businesses that respond promptly to customer reviews and queries on their Google Business profiles also demonstrate ‘Openness.’ This responsiveness is viewed favorably by Google’s algorithm, potentially leading to better rankings in local searches.

Manipulating Search Rankings With False Business Hours

Now, Google has officially announced that the operating hours of a business are more important for ranking in local search results. This means that your business’s opening hours can affect how visible it is online.

This change emphasizes the importance of accurate operating hours for businesses in local searches. It means businesses must stay current with Google search updates to maintain or augment their visibility in local searches.

With the latest update focusing on business operating hours as a ranking factor, there’s a valid worry that some businesses might try to game the system by falsely claiming to be open every day (24X7) to bolster their search rankings.

Moreover, this update reflects Google’s commitment to enhancing local search accuracy, which is particularly relevant for businesses optimizing their online presence.

Nonetheless, with these Google search updates, businesses must adapt their local SEO packages to align with the new criteria. Accurate and updated information, especially concerning operating hours, has become more crucial in determining Google local ranking.

Best Practices To Implement For New Local Search Engine Ranking Factor

In this section, we will walk you through the best practices to implement in your SEO strategy to seamlessly adapt to the ‘openness’ local search engine ranking factor.

Avoid False 24/7 Operating Hours Manipulation

It’s important not to attempt manipulating search algorithms by listing 24/7 operating hours unless your business genuinely operates around the clock.

Google’s updates are designed to enhance accuracy in search results, and misrepresenting operating hours could lead to negative consequences for your business’s online credibility and search rankings.

Authenticity in listing accurate operating hours is key to maintaining trust with Google and your customers.

Update Operating Hours Regularly In Google Business Profile

Search Ranking Factor

Maintaining up-to-date operating hours in your Google Business Profile (GBP) is crucial, not just for adhering to Google’s local ranking guidelines but also for establishing trust with your customers. When potential clients use Google search updates to plan their visits, they rely on the accuracy of your listed hours.

Any discrepancy, such as finding your business closed when it’s supposed to be open, can lead to negative reviews and a loss of customer trust. This is particularly relevant with Google vicinity update emphasizing accurate local information.

Furthermore, regularly updating your GB Profile for any changes in operating hours, be it due to holidays or special events, reflects positively on your business.

It demonstrates attentiveness and consideration for your customers’ convenience, which is vital for a strong online presence. Consistency in your operating hours across all listings is key to effective local SEO packages.

So, regardless of whether you operate 24/7, maintaining accurate business hours ensures a solid standing in Google’s local ranking, enhancing online visibility and offline customer satisfaction.

Analyzing Variations In Google Local Search Positions

Following Google’s recent update, you may have noticed shifts in your local search rankings. It’s crucial to understand these changes to refine your SEO strategy.

Should your local rankings improve, it might be tied to your operational hours, especially compared to your competitors. Your business could gain more visibility due to being open when others aren’t, underscoring the recent focus on business hours in Google’s ranking factors.

Conversely, a drop in rankings, even with accurate operating hours, suggests it’s time to review your broader SEO strategy. This decline could indicate areas needing improvement, such as on-page optimization or local citations.

As an experienced SEO agency, we can analyze and address the factors impacting your rankings. Hence, we invite you to schedule a consultation where we can examine your current local SEO packages in light of the latest Google search updates and Google local ranking trends, pinpoint any shortcomings, and devise a strategy to enhance your local online presence.

The unique aspect of navigational searches lies in their specific intent. When users perform these searches, they typically have a clear objective or a particular brand in mind, seeking quick and direct access to the information they need.

For businesses, featuring prominently in navigational search results can significantly boost brand recognition, attract potential customers, and solidify a strong online presence.

For businesses operating around the clock, the latest updates to Google’s algorithm, especially the increased focus on “openness” signals for non-navigational queries, present challenges and opportunities.

The advantages are particularly notable when competitors are closed. In such scenarios, a 24/7 business can gain a competitive edge by appearing at the top of local search results, remaining highly visible even when others are not.

Concerns Over Business Responses To 'Openness' Factor In SEO

Concerns about an update that could prompt some businesses to falsely list 24/7 operating hours for the purpose of improving their local search visibility. This could lead to a poor user experience for searchers, who may arrive at the business during non-operating hours.

Hence, quickly address these concerns, advising against manipulating business hours because the ranking signal for openness is subject to ongoing adjustments.


Google’s recent algorithm update has placed a greater emphasis on ‘openness’, which has reshaped the landscape of local searches. For non-navigational queries, precisely listing business hours has become increasingly important.

This focus on accuracy and warnings against manipulating business hours underscores Google’s dedication to delivering trustworthy search results. This shift significantly affects how businesses are seen online and the trust users place in search outcomes.

Looking to navigate these changes effectively? Partner with ZealousWeb and bank on our expertise in adapting to Google’s evolving search landscape, ensuring your business stays visible and credible in local searches.

Contact us today at hello@zealousweb.com for a consultation and any questions regarding the ‘openness’ local search ranking factor.


What Is Google's New Local Ranking Factor?

How Does Business 'Openness' Affect Local SEO?

What Is The Impact Of 'Openness' On Non-Navigational Searches?

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