Openness Ranking Factor

Understanding Google’s New ‘Openness’ Ranking Factor

Google has recently confirmed that a business’s operating hours now play a more significant role in local search rankings. This ranking signal, known as ‘Openness,’ is particularly influential for non-navigational queries, where users search for services or products rather than specific business names. Google now prefers to prioritize businesses that are operational at the time of a user’s search, assuming they are more likely to address user needs.


non-navigational queries
non-navigational queries

As this update reshapes the SEO landscape, businesses are advised against attempting to manipulate search rankings by falsely claiming 24/7 operating hours. Such practices are likely to backfire, potentially leading to penalties like suspension of your Google Business Profile or a significant drop in rankings​​.

Openness Ranking Factor


Google Search Liaison stated:

To adapt and thrive under this new ranking factor, businesses should:

  • Maintain accurate operating hours: Regularly update your Google Business Profile to reflect current hours, considering changes due to holidays or special events. Accurate hours build trust and reliability with potential customers​​.


  • Monitor your local rankings: Observe any shifts in your rankings after changes have been made and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. If you notice a decline despite accurate operating hours, it may be time to re-evaluate other aspects of your SEO​​.


  • Consult with SEO professionals: If you’re unsure about how to navigate these changes or improve your rankings, consider seeking advice from SEO experts who can provide a customized strategy for your business​​.


Google’s focus on “openness” reflects their commitment to user experience. By prioritizing businesses currently open to meet needs, Google ensures search results are relevant and timely, saving users the frustration of navigating maps for a open business. This shift, while questionable if it really benefits searchers, incentivizes businesses to maintain accurate and up-to-date information, ultimately creating a more reliable and efficient local search landscape for everyone. Remember, keeping your operating hours accurate on your Google Business Profile isn’t just good for SEO, it’s good for your customers too!

While Google’s “Openness” update prioritizes instant gratification, the question remains: does it sacrifice future planning? Researching weekend dinner plans or booking appointments might become a frustrating dance with business hours, leaving users to wonder if “Openness” comes at the cost of convenience. Time will tell if Google tweaks its focus to strike a balance between immediate need and future plans.




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