Recently, on the Local Search Forum, there was a thread from several business owners who were seeing abnormal map pack ranking fluctuations since the November 2023 core algorithm update. They were seeing drastic differences in rankings based on the time of day:
“Rankings significantly dropped overnight. The position dropped from 1 to 10, and further. Then, by the end of the day, it recovered most of the rankings. But now it has dropped again! Can anyone tell me what is going on?”
Through some testing and pouring over ranking reports, we discovered exactly what was going on. As of November 2023, Google appears to be looking at whether a business is currently open as a ranking factor for local pack rankings.
In this example, this is how a lawyer ranked when they were closed vs two hours later when they were open:
This is a psychiatrist’s ranking on the weekend, when they are not open, compared to that same keyword on a week day when they are open:
Yan Gilbert also shared a really awesome visual from Local Falcon that shows the variance by hour for all these restaurants based on who is open and who is closed.
And to clarify, yes this is new. This lawyer had no problems ranking at 7am in October, despite the fact that they were closed.
If you are a business that’s open 24-hours a day, this would benefit you in the evenings when your competitors disappear but you still rank:
I’d suggest checking out this post if you’re wondering if you should change your hours based on this update.