What is Google My Business?
Formerly known as Google Places, Google My Business (aka GMB) is Google's free-to-use solution for managing your business' appearance in Google search results.
The majority of local businesses are eligible to use it and, when it's used well, it's hugely impactful.
Some of its key features include:
- Keep your brand, contact details, and opening hours up to date
- Manage your appearance in Google search results and Google maps
- Receive messages and post photos and updates
- List your products and services
Setting Your Opening Hours
Your opening hours are prominent on your GMB profile and therefore in Google search results.
Given that around 20% of people that search for a local business intend to visit/contact it that same day, it's vital that your details are kept up to date.
Following a June 2020 update to Google My Business, there are now three types of opening hours available for you to configure:
Here's how to find them:
These are the standard hours that your business is open. These can range from 24 x 7 (although we'd rarely recommend doing that) to more complicated combinations with multiple opening and closing times in a single day, varying throughout the week.
It's important that these are accurate, and match any opening hours you've specified on other sites, e.g. a Facebook page or a Tripadvisor profile.
You must also set standard hours if you want to be able to set 'more' or 'special' hours.
This is a relatively new feature, added in June 2020. It's been added to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, but we suspect it'll be a permanent feature.
They allow you to specify a full set of opening hours that relate to one or more special services; here are a few practical examples:
- Takeaway-only service is available every day from 18:00-21:30
- Online operating hours are 24/7
- Elderly visitors only, every day from 09:00-10:00
- Happy hour is Monday-Friday, 18:00-19:00 (we like this one!)
You can see the full list of services below, or in your GMB profile.
With the introduction of 'more hours' in June 2020, 'special hours' are best used to manage the opening hours you show on national holidays.
For example, you can mark yourself as 'closed' on Christmas day, or open for a reduced number of hours on the August bank holiday. The choice is yours - they'll only appear if you set them, though.
Google will suggest that you enter special hours for any closely impending bank holidays; alternatively, you can add custom dates and hours to suit your business.
It's worth noting that 'special' hours always override 'standard' and 'more' hours.
Other Ways to Update Your Customers Using GMB
In addition to keeping your opening hours accurate, we'd recommend considering a few other GMB features:
- If you've been forced to shut temporarily, either as a result of coronavirus or maybe a refurbishment, then you can mark your business as temporarily closed.
- You can also post updates from within your GMB profile. These are an under-utilised feature, shown to customers that see your business profile. To help us through COVID-19, Google has introduced a COVID-specific post category recently, allowing you to communicate your most important changes.
- Restaurants and shops, in particular, can benefit quickly from updating their attributes - an easy way to let your customers know that a dine-in service isn't available, or you don't accept American Express.
Need Any Help?
As a local business, your GMB profile is one of the most important tools you have to help new and existing customers find you, and information about your product or service.
If you need help with anything related to GMB, please send us a message. We can help you with every aspect, including setup, profile optimisation, ongoing management, and more.
About Tom Irving
With a background in FinTech, Tom has 15 years of experience taking ideas from concept to reality. Having originally honed his skills as a Business Analyst, he went on to lead successful Product Management and Marketing teams. He's always enjoyed taking products to market, spanning a wide range of companies, from NASDAQ-listed enterprises to London tech startups.