Business owners have encountered a perplexing phenomenon following Google’s November 2023 core algorithm update for their online visibility. A thread on a local forum by Joy Hawkins revealed a series of abnormal map pack ranking fluctuations experienced by several business owners. These fluctuations, particularly noticeable since the update, were tied to the time of day, leaving business owners questioning the reasons behind these perplexing changes.

The Enigma of Map Pack Ranking Fluctuations:

Business owners participating in the discussion described scenarios where their rankings experienced significant drops overnight, only to recover most of the positions by the end of the day. However, the roller-coaster ride didn’t end there, as the rankings dropped once again. The confusion and concern led them to seek insights into the underlying reasons for these drastic fluctuations.

Cracking the Code:

After meticulous testing and scrutiny of ranking reports, a revelation emerged. It appears that, since the November 2023 update, Google has incorporated whether a business is currently open as a crucial ranking factor for local pack rankings. This revelation sheds light on the unpredictable nature of the fluctuations experienced by business owners in different industries.

Visualizing the Impact:

To illustrate the impact of this new ranking factor, consider the example of a lawyer whose ranking significantly varied when their business was closed compared to two hours later when they were open. Similarly, a psychiatrist’s ranking showed notable differences on the weekend, when they were closed, versus weekdays when their practice was open.

Yan Gilbert shared a compelling visual from Local Falcon, revealing the hourly variance for various restaurants based on their open or closed status. This visual representation highlighted the dynamic nature of local pack rankings influenced by business hours.

A Paradigm Shift:

It’s important to note that this development is indeed new. A lawyer who had no issues ranking at 7 am in October, despite being closed, now experiences fluctuations in ranking based on their business hours. This paradigm shift in Google’s algorithm emphasizes the significance of real-time business status in determining local pack rankings.

Strategic Considerations for Business Owners:

For businesses operating 24 hours a day, this update can be advantageous during the evenings when competitors may disappear, yet your business still maintains a prominent ranking. However, for those with specific operating hours, understanding and adapting to this change becomes imperative.

The unveiling of Google’s new ranking factor, considering the real-time open status of businesses, has added a layer of complexity to local pack rankings. Business owners are advised to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly. If you are contemplating whether to adjust your business hours based on this update, it is recommended to explore further insights and guidance from industry experts. The evolving nature of search algorithms underscores the need for businesses to stay agile and responsive to maintain optimal online visibility.

Let’s score a high ranking!