Confirmed: Google Local Search Algorithm "Openness" Now Stronger Signal

Dec 18, 2023 - 7:51 am 4 by
Filed Under Google Maps

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Earlier this month we covered a report from Sterling Sky that said the Google Local search ranking algorithm now uses if a location is open as part of its local ranking system. Google's Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, confirmed the change late on Friday saying, "we've long used "openness" as part of our local ranking systems, and it recently became a stronger signal for non-navigational queries."

Danny Sullivan confirmed the report where if you search for a query that triggers a local pack, Google is more likely to show locations that are currently open, as opposed to locations that are closed.

Sullivan wrote on X, "The team tells me we've long used "openness" as part of our local ranking systems, and it recently became a stronger signal for non-navigational queries. This might change in various ways, as we continue to evaluate the usefulness of it, however."

So "openness" as he called it, has always been part of the Google local ranking system. But now Google made it a "stronger signal for non-navigational queries." So when you search for lawyers, web design companies, etc - as opposed to searching for a specific brand name, like CVS or a specific store.

Non navigational means, as Danny expanded, "If you were searching for a name of a business, that would generally be that you wanted to navigate / find that particular business. If you were searching for a general topic, that's non-navigational."

Google is aware of some businesses considering to label their businesses as open 24-hours. Sullivan responded to that saying, "Yes, I've passed that feedback on to the team already. I wouldn't recommend businesses do this, given the ranking signal may continue to be adjusted."

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