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3 minute read

Google has recently confirmed that a business’s operating hours are now a crucial factor in determining its visibility in local search results.

This change, noticed after the November 2023 core update to Google’s algorithm, means that agencies open on Saturdays or even Sundays could gain a competitive edge in online searches.

SEO expert Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky observed that businesses not open during certain hours seem to disappear from local search results entirely. This was particularly evident after the recent update. Google’s Search Liaison has acknowledged this, stating that the “openness” of a business now plays a more substantial role in how it ranks in local searches.

However, this mainly affects searches that aren’t looking for a specific business name but are more general, like someone searching for “real estate agents near me”.

Concerns About Business Response To ‘Openness’ Factor

Some experts are already expressing 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, as they may arrive at the business during non-operating hours.

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

Plus, you could end up with a newly designed suspension email from Google.

Best Practice: Keep Operational Hours Up-To-Date In Google Business Profiles

For real estate agents, this means that keeping your Google Business Profile updated with accurate operating hours is more important than ever. This is especially true during the holiday season and weekends. Accurate hours ensure that potential clients don’t experience frustration due to incorrect information, and it also increases the likelihood of your business appearing in local searches when competitors might be closed.

In conclusion, for real estate agents looking to maximise their visibility in local Google searches, it’s crucial to consider extending or updating your operating hours, particularly for weekends. This approach not only improves your chances of being found in searches but also caters to potential clients who might be searching outside of traditional business hours.

For businesses already open on Saturday’s and even Sunday’s, you may find yourself being rewarded by Google with more prominence in Google search results for profitable phrases such as “best real estate agents near me”.

Opening hours aren’t the only factor

While your opening hours are one of most recently confirmed Google ranking factors, there are many other ranking factors you need to consider, including (but certainly not limited to):

  1. The configuration and speed of your website
  2. How many other authoritative websites are linking to yours
  3. The rating and volume of your Google reviews (not reviews on other platforms – they don’t count)
  4. Your content strategy
  5. And much more

Best Practice: Keep Operational Hours Up-To-Date In Google Business Profiles

For real estate agents, this means that keeping your Google Business Profile updated with accurate operating hours is more important than ever. This is especially true during the holiday season and weekends. Accurate hours ensure that potential clients don’t experience frustration due to incorrect information, and it also increases the likelihood of your business appearing in local searches when competitors might be closed.

Why Choose Stepps?

At Stepps, we are not just aware of these changes; we stay ahead of them. Our team is constantly updated with the latest SEO trends and Google’s algorithm updates. We specialise in helping real estate organisations like yours optimise their online presence, ensuring that your website is not only found but also stands out in local searches.

Tailored Strategies for Real Estate Success

Our approach is not one-size-fits-all. We understand that every real estate agency has unique needs and goals. That’s why we offer customised digital marketing strategies, all tailored to the real estate market.

Thinking of a building a new website in 2024?

Our digital marketing services are provided exclusively to our website clients. If you are tired of your old outdated website, or you have a templated website that is holding your business back from its full potential, contact Stepps today to see if we’re fit.

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