by Colan Nielsen
We often get asked if it’s ok to list your Google Business Profile (GBP) hours as 24/7 if you aren’t physically open 24 hours/day. While we always recommend following the GBP guidelines and watching what Google does, we think it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the real world and what the pros and cons are of engaging in any tactic you are considering.
Note: This article is about brick and mortar businesses. If you run a home-based business with no publicly listed address, you can list business hours as 24 hours if you answer the phone and provide service 24 hours/day.
Something we see happening in several verticals, but mainly with law firms, is the use of 24 hours as the Google Business Profile hours. As of this last year, Google has started to ramp up the number of automated phone calls they make to businesses asking them to confirm their business hours. I have yet to hear a case where Google penalized a business for incorrectly listing their hours as 24 hours if they aren’t physically available 24/7 at the office. However, I have heard of a case where incorrect hours can prevent a bulk upload verification as well as preventing a business from being reinstated after a suspension unrelated to the hours.
We get a lot of questions at the Local Search Forum related to GBP hours. For example, on this thread, Jason asks:
I’ve seen a lot of plumbing companies list their Google My Business hours as 24/7. They technically have customer support answering the phones 24/7 The same holds true for personal injury lawyers. Yet their actual office is open 9 AM – 5 PM.
According to Google, it states the following for hours: “Provide your regular customer-facing hours of operation.”
This seems like a bit of grey area as to whether a business is allowed to put 24/7 for their hours.
On this thread, Ashley asks:
I manage listings for some pest control companies and am unsure about how to represent the business hours. We only do service for a set number of hours per day, but we take calls 24/7. After hours, the calls go to a call center.
Managers of the businesses think we should be able to list our hours as 24/7, but is this misrepresenting fact?
Here’s what Google says about how you should list your business hours:
Provide your regular customer-facing hours of operation. If applicable, you may use your current seasonal hours as your regular hours.
Reasons to List Business Hours as 24/7
Here is why law firms are choosing to set the hours as 24 hours. When 5 pm rolls around it makes a huge difference in how you display in the local pack.
Also, potential customers can filter the search results by businesses that are “open now” or “open 24 hours”, which automatically removes you from the search results if you are currently closed.
As tempting as it may be to take advantage of the extra visibility, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of listing your business as open 24 hours when you aren’t physically open 24 hours. Will doing so in and of itself lead to a suspension? Maybe. But unlikely. However, here are the pros and cons you need to consider.
- Increased after-hours visibility
- Increased overall activity on your GBP profile
- Bulk verification issues. You can’t get verified if you’re hours aren’t accurate
- GBP support won’t help you. If you have an issue that you need help with, GBP will likely make you correct the hours before they will help you
Have you ever considered changing your hours to 24 hours? Has a client ever asked about it? How did you handle it?