Are you CLOSED NOW on Google? Business Hours as a Conversion Rate Factor


Linda Buquet

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Is your business open during times the majority of customers are looking for your service?

With Google's emphasis on showing business hours AND hanging a big red "Closed Now" sign on your listing after hours, it's super important to make sure your hours are correct. And when she's showing that "Closed Now" label, have you ever wondered how much potential business you are losing?

If I had an emergency at 10PM, who am I going to call in the pack above! The one that's open right? Note that one at the bottom of the pack has the least amount of reviews - but if a consumer is in need, they'll call whoever looks open. (So in this case "Open" trumps both ranking and reviews.)

I read an interesting post By Dan Paradee Energy Circle last week.

<a href="http://www.energycircle.com/blog/2015/08/24/avoid-being-%E2%80%9Cclosed-now%E2%80%9D-google">Avoid Being “Closed Now” on Google! | Energy Circle PRO | Energy Circle PRO</a>

Most companies are open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, so what happens when a customer is using Google at 5:30 pm? As of August 7th, Google has taken to hanging the ‘Closed Now’ sign shamefully around the neck of businesses after hours. Ouch.

A five month study of a successful home performance companies phone data found that 13.2% of calls occur outside the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00pm, while an incredible 19.8% of calls occur outside the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. If you have made the mistake of opening at 9:00 am instead of 8:00 am, you could be missing out on major call volume.
Above is just a partial snippet, click through to read the rest.

But Dan basically goes on to say everyone should set their hours to 24 hours a day as long as they have an answering machine taking calls, rather than lose business.

While I'm all for boosting sales, I would never recommend fudging hours. Google wants them accurate!. PLUS if I was the consumer with a leak & called you because your listing said you were open... I would be ticked that you weren't and I only got voice mail and a return call the next day.

However I would bring this up to clients, show them a screenshot like the one above for their business, when it's closed. And ask to be sure they have the longest possible hours set up on GMB when the phone can really be answered and service can be provided. Possibly encourage them to track how early and late most calls come in via voicemail and change staff hours so someone answers phone 2 hours earlier and 2 hours later, or whatever their call times dictate.

Most consultants think of hours as far as just making sure they are accurate. Depending on the type of business call times could be critical. So given the red "Closed Now" sign and how it could cost leads and sales - maybe it's time to think of hours as just one more small way to boost conversion rates.

Just one more thing to talk to clients about to ensure they know you have their back and are always looking for every opportunity to increase sales - not just ranking! :)

What do you think?

Have you ever looked at hours as a conversion rate factor???

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Conor Treacy

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Any thoughts on how it should be done for a business that is 24x7, but their actual walk-in store is only open until 6pm?

Particularly, the company is a Carpet Cleaning company, but they also do water extraction. They have staff 24x7, but their physical location closes at night - so no more walk ins.

How should the Maps be set? As 24x7, or by the hours, since in theory, the map is telling people how to find the actual location?
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Conor,

If it's a walk in location like a store, then the hours need to reflect when it's actually open for walk in traffic.
 

Conor Treacy

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What a bummer. I guess this is further encouragement for the client to abandon his physical location (which rarely receives walk-in traffic) and define his business as a mobile only business.

Frustrating at times to say the least :)
 

Linda Buquet

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I was going to suggest that. Google would normally classify carpet cleaners as service area and would think address should be hidden anyway. Even if commercial location, if they don't really get walkins and are mainly servicing on-site, that's what I would do. Then I think you can change hours to when phone is answered.

Changing to service area and hiding address WON'T hurt ranking but expanding hours could potentially increase business. :)
 

JoyHawkins

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However I would bring this up to clients, show them a screenshot like the one above for their business, when it's closed. And ask to be sure they have the longest possible hours set up on GMB when the phone can really be answered and service can be provided. Possibly encourage them to track how early and late most calls come in via voicemail and change staff hours so someone answers phone 2 hours earlier and 2 hours later, or whatever their call times dictate.
Great advice Linda. I definitely want to do this with clients.
 

Louis Nava

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What a bummer. I guess this is further encouragement for the client to abandon his physical location (which rarely receives walk-in traffic) and define his business as a mobile only business.

Frustrating at times to say the least :)
Not to get totally off subject of hours but...

I found it interesting that Linda would say "Google would normally classify carpet cleaners as service area and would think address should be hidden anyway."

Only because I stumbled upon the notion earlier this year that Google may pre-classify businesses based on what she sees in the rest of the industry and have some expectations.

The scenario was with pest control and hiding the address. As soon as I turned on the radius feature on the profile and hid the address the profile went up in ranking 3 positions shortly afterward. It was the sole edit I had done on that business within 6 months.

Just thought I'd share that in case it can help anyone out there.
 

Tim Colling

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Not to get totally off subject of hours but...

I found it interesting that Linda would say "Google would normally classify carpet cleaners as service area and would think address should be hidden anyway."

Only because I stumbled upon the notion earlier this year that Google may pre-classify businesses based on what she sees in the rest of the industry and have some expectations.

The scenario was with pest control and hiding the address. As soon as I turned on the radius feature on the profile and hid the address the profile went up in ranking 3 positions shortly afterward. It was the sole edit I had done on that business within 6 months.

Just thought I'd share that in case it can help anyone out there.
I am intrigued enough by this that I'm going to try it on my own in-home caregiving agency's website. We'll see what happens!
 

Linda Buquet

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Not to get totally off subject of hours but...

I found it interesting that Linda would say "Google would normally classify carpet cleaners as service area and would think address should be hidden anyway."

Only because I stumbled upon the notion earlier this year that Google may pre-classify businesses based on what she sees in the rest of the industry and have some expectations.

The scenario was with pest control and hiding the address. As soon as I turned on the radius feature on the profile and hid the address the profile went up in ranking 3 positions shortly afterward. It was the sole edit I had done on that business within 6 months.

Just thought I'd share that in case it can help anyone out there.

Totally agree with you Louis! I think there is classification, almost like stereotyping. Certain industries always go out to see clients, therefore they should be service area businesses - in the eyes of the algo.

On the other hand, I've done consulting for attorneys that set up a service area, thinking they'd rank in all the cities they set up. I think that hurt them because then they were non-standard, since most attys are not service area businesses. So it broke the mold and set them apart - and not in a good way. (Pure supposition on my part, just knowing how the algo thinks and how it likes to standardize and generalize and how it is not very forgiving for business models that are outside the norm.)
 

Linda Buquet

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I am intrigued enough by this that I'm going to try it on my own in-home caregiving agency's website. We'll see what happens!
Your industry is tricky and not clear cut I would think Tim IF you have an office where clients come in to talk to you about care for a family member. So if you do have a walk in office for meetings BUT obviously with in-home care, you are doing all the work on-site then I would think in Google's eyes you could go either way.

Now if on the other hand you don't have an office and do all work from home and have meetings at the client's home, then you def should be hiding address.
 

Tim Colling

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Your industry is tricky and not clear cut I would think Tim IF you have an office where clients come in to talk to you about care for a family member. So if you do have a walk in office for meetings BUT obviously with in-home care, you are doing all the work on-site then I would think in Google's eyes you could go either way.

Now if on the other hand you don't have an office and do all work from home and have meetings at the client's home, then you def should be hiding address.
We DO have an office (and the rent expense to go with it - $2500 a month!) but we only meet infrequently with clients' family members there. We do have all our administrative staff there and we also conduct employee continuing education there.

It was set up as a SMB for a long time and we rank pretty well for some local-intent searches, but since our service area is a 17-mile radius, I think it's worth a try for a while as a SAB. I'll keep watch over the results for a while and change it back if it looks like it had no effect or hurt us.
 

Tim Colling

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Maybe I haven't waited long enough, but after changing the listing to a SAB, our ranking in local results has not improved for nearby areas outside our office's city.

I'm nervous about this so I just changed it back to a SMB listing ("we also serve clients at our location").

I know. I flinched. I admit it. Maybe I didn't wait long enough. Ya think?
 

Linda Buquet

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Maybe I haven't waited long enough, but after changing the listing to a SAB, our ranking in local results has not improved for nearby areas outside our office's city.

I'm nervous about this so I just changed it back to a SMB listing ("we also serve clients at our location").

I know. I flinched. I admit it. Maybe I didn't wait long enough. Ya think?
I didn't realize you were doing it to boost ranking in other areas Tim. Thought you were doing it to see if it would boost ranking in the city the listing is located in.

I've talked about it a lot for years, but the service area settings have absolutely no effect on ranking for outside areas. You can set the radius as wide as you want and it's not going to help you rank in cities you don't already rank in.

That setting is just a visual representation of your service areas for potential clients. However my guess is not that many consumers really know about or look at service areas anyway.
 

Tim Colling

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I didn't realize you were doing it to boost ranking in other areas Tim. Thought you were doing it to see if it would boost ranking in the city the listing is located in.

I've talked about it a lot for years, but the service area settings have absolutely no effect on ranking for outside areas. You can set the radius as wide as you want and it's not going to help you rank in cities you don't already rank in. ...
I was experimenting with it because of this assertion, earlier in this thread:

Not to get totally off subject of hours but...

I found it interesting that Linda would say "Google would normally classify carpet cleaners as service area and would think address should be hidden anyway."

Only because I stumbled upon the notion earlier this year that Google may pre-classify businesses based on what she sees in the rest of the industry and have some expectations.

The scenario was with pest control and hiding the address. As soon as I turned on the radius feature on the profile and hid the address the profile went up in ranking 3 positions shortly afterward. It was the sole edit I had done on that business within 6 months.

Just thought I'd share that in case it can help anyone out there.
I may have misunderstood Louis' point. We already rank pretty well for searches right here in San Marcos, where our office is located (and where you are too!)
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes I assume he was talking rankings for the city they were in.

But more to his point I think was the issue of making the listing consistent with other listings in that industry which is more clear cut than yours. Normally would be SAB with address hidden.

Ya your market is challenging because San Marcos is so small and close to other communities that obviously you'd want to rank those towns too.
 

Tim Colling

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Yes I assume he was talking rankings for the city they were in.

But more to his point I think was the issue of making the listing consistent with other listings in that industry which is more clear cut than yours. Normally would be SAB with address hidden.

Ya your market is challenging because San Marcos is so small and close to other communities that obviously you'd want to rank those towns too.
This is one area where Google is clearly not delivering the best results for users. It's one thing to ask about a skilled nursing facility in a specific town. It's quite another thing to ask about who is the best in-home caregiving agency that serves the town that your parents are in, whether or not it's in the next city over from the best company that serves that town...


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