Imagine the scenario.
You’re a dog owner—your good boy needs treatos. You check the pet store’s Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) listing, which says it’s open. You drive across town for treats, but find that the pet store is CLOSED.
Now imagine you’re the pet store owner. You just made a dog sad. What’s more, you made a pet owner angry. They just wrote you a 1* review on Google and now you’ve lost their ongoing custom.
Something as seemingly simple as store opening times can have less-than-simple consequences for both customers and business owners. So it’s imperative to keep your opening hours updated and correct!
The ‘Open Now Near Me’ Opportunity
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that having incorrect opening times advertised online is bad news. This can easily affect a businesses chances of attracting, converting, and keeping customers.
But is there a business argument to be made for making your opening hours as long as possible? Search volume for phrases that include ‘open now near me’ has grown steadily since 2013:
Source: Google Trends
Google gives users the ability to filter search results according to opening times, and this is another reason why a business must make sure the listed business hours are correct.
The ‘hours’ filter (on desktop) and the ‘open now’ button (on mobile) both reflect the ‘open now’ search trend:
In our age of serious smartphone usage, we’re pretty used to instant gratification and impulse purchases. So depending on your vertical, make sure that you understand the ‘open now near me’ opportunity in your specific niche.
‘Open now near me’ searches are on the rise for a variety of user needs:
Source: Think With Google
Google Business Profile (GBP) listings should only be created for businesses that either have a physical location that customers can visit, or for those that travel to visit customers where they are.
What are ‘opening hours’?
Your opening hours should be your regular customer-facing hours of operation. These are times when a customer or potential customer can visit your location in person.
For a service-area business, the opening hours would be the times you would expect someone to answer the phone.
Google recommends that certain business types shouldn’t provide opening hours information—such as those with varied hours or that operate by appointment only.
Read more here about Google’s guidelines for indoor lodging, schools and universities, cinemas, transportation, event venues, and natural features.
Where do opening times show?
Your Google business hours will show in your GBP listing in the search engine results page (SERP):
Your Google business hours at the time of search will affect whether your business is marked open or closed (see 1 in the image above). There’s also a dedicated section for your regular opening hours (see 2 in the image above).
Users can click on ‘More hours’ (if the business has multiple types of hours set), or the small arrow (if the business only has regular hours set) to see the full details of week-long opening hours for a business:
In the Google Local Finder and in Google Maps, businesses can show as open or closed, and the hours of operation for that day will also show.
Opening times in the Local Finder:
Opening times in Google Maps on desktop:
When you’ve updated your business hours, Google will often flag this in the Business Profile listing. I imagine this sends a ‘trust signal’ to customers and potential customers that the business is engaged in making sure that the details are correct:
How to Change Business Hours on Google
You can add and update your day-to-day Google business hours from a range of places.
What is direct edit? In 2017, Google began making changes to the ways in which businesses can update and edit their Business Profiles. It became possible to make these alterations directly in Google Search, simply by searching for the business name.
The benefit of this is that profile owners do not have to use the GBP app or web interface in order to access their profiles. Initially called New Merchant Xperience (NMX) by Google, it is also commonly referred to as direct edit.
You’ll be adding hours separately for each day of the week, and you can mark a break in opening hours by creating multiple entries on the same day.
Via Direct Edit Experience
Search for your business name in Google search and then click ‘Edit profile’:
Next, click on the ‘hours row’ to see Monday to Sunday. Here you can add your regular opening hours accordingly.
If you operate on a ‘split hours’ basis—for example, if your business closes for lunch and/or dinner—then you can add multiple entries for each day. In this case, click on the little plus sign next to the day(s) in question and add your second or third set of hours.
Via Google Business Profile Manager
Select the ‘Info’ tab and click the pencil to edit your opening hours:
Special hours allow businesses to mark specific dates—such as public holidays or special events—with an opening schedule that is different to the regular opening hours.
You can only add Google business special hours once you’ve set your regular opening hours. Also, you should only use the special hours function to close your business for up to six days in a row.
If you need to close your business for seven days or more in a row, you’ll need to mark your business as temporarily closed.
Where do Google business special hours show?
Your special hours will populate your opening hours according to the dates you’ve set and these will show directly in the Local Pack, the Local Finder, Google Maps and Business Profile.
In the example below, ‘special hours’ is used to mark a specific day the following week when the business was due to be closed.
When the week that includes the date in question is reached, the business is shown as ‘closed’ on the relevant date:
Adding and Updating Your Google Business ‘Special Hours’
Special hours aren’t currently shown in the direct edit interface. To update Google business special hours, you’ll need to head over to the GBP dashboard.
Click on the ‘Info’ tab and then click ‘Add special hours’:
Google has a list of holidays by region and will often prompt businesses via notifications to check and update their special hours for these holidays:
To edit Google business holiday hours, click on ‘Add new date’ at the bottom of the ‘Special hours’ page, select your dates from the calendar, and add the open and close times for those dates.
‘More hours’ gives a business a chance to add a subset of hours for specific services.
Google states that “generally, you should set ‘more hours’ as a subset of your primary hours”, but I’ve seen businesses adding additional hours for things such as ‘online operating hours’ outside of their regular opening hours.
These are the options for ‘more hours’:
- Happy hour
- Hours for the elderly
- Online operating hours
- Pick up
Where do ‘more hours’ show?
This option shows when you click on ‘more hours’ in your Google Business Profile:
It’s important to note that using any of the ‘more hours’ categories outside of your regular operating hours won’t affect your business opening time in the SERP, which draws purely from your regular opening hours.
For example, if you state that you offer ‘online operating hours’ of 7 am to 9 am, but your regular operating hours are 9 am to 3 pm, if someone checks your business listing at 2.45 pm, they’ll see you marked as ‘Closes soon’ and due to open at 9 am:
Adding and Updating More Hours
Like ‘special hours’, ‘more hours’ won’t show unless you have set regular opening hours. You can do this via direct edit, as well as in Google Business Profile Manager.
Via Direct Edit
To add ‘more hours’ via direct edit, navigate to the ‘hours’ section in the direct edit interface. You can then select the type of hours that you want to add by clicking the relevant button:
You’ll then be able to add the hours relevant to that service:
You can add as many ‘more hours’ types as are relevant to your business.
Via Google Business Profile Manager
Select the ‘Info’ tab and click on ‘More hours’:
From here, you’ll go through the same process as with the direct edit experience.
How do I temporarily close my business?
If you’re going to be closed for more than six days, then you’ll need to mark your business as ‘temporarily closed’. You can do this through the direct edit interface or through Google Business Profile Manager.
Via Direct Edit
Simply search your business name, click ‘Edit profile’, select ‘Hours’, and then choose ‘Temporarily closed’:
Via Google Business Profile Manager
Go to the ‘Info’ tab and look for the section where you can choose to mark the business as closed:
The Business Profile listing of a business that’s temporarily closed looks like this:
In the Map Pack, it looks like this:
What if my business is ‘appointment only’?
If your business premise is open by appointment only, Google doesn’t have a specific option for this.
In these guidelines, Google suggests that appointment-only businesses shouldn’t provide hours on their GBP.
You can mark this within the direct edit interface via the ‘Business information’ section:
In Google Business Profile Manager, there isn’t the equivalent option—you’ll need to go into your opening hours and mark yourself as closed:
When you do this, opening hours will stop showing on your GBP listing:
Help—Someone Keeps Changing My Business Hours!
Like many elements of a Google Business Profile, opening hours are subject to third-party edits:
It’s possible that a Google user is making edits to your business hours. You can sometimes see this if you make a search for your business using incognito mode:
But it’s also possible that Google is pulling data from a third-party website—so check your business listings in places like Yelp and Facebook to see if incorrect opening times are being scraped from those sources.
If Google accepts any third-party edits, then—if you’ve signed up for notifications—you’ll get an email from Google saying that your opening times have changed based on those edits:
If you need to go in and update your hours you can do so via the direct edit experience. Google will warn you that it can take up to three days to check and publish your edits, so make sure you make any changes ASAP!
So there we have it. If you weren’t already aware of the importance of keeping your hours correct and up-to-date, then you are now.
As you can see, hours are pretty easily updated via the direct experience. However, at this point, you’ll still need to head over to the Google Business Profile dashboard to add special hours.