Last night while conducting a local search, I encountered something strange: Business hours were served within Google’s Instant Search drop-down results (see screenshot).
After polling a few peers in local search and SEO worlds, it appears this is a new development (see post-script update). It’s likely a test or limited rollout, as Google does, so its fate or wide-scale launch isn’t conclusive.
Either way, it has some notable implications. For one, it’s another step towards prioritizing answers (a la knowledge graph) over traditional “results,” and SERPS (a la “ten blue links”). Google Now has the same principle.
Small screens and mobile user intent/immediacy have compelled this shift. In this latest case, it brings local knowledge graph-like results (from GMB) even closer to your fingertips and earlier in the process (pre SERP).
Another implication is that it’s an additional reason to make sure business attributes are accurate and updated. This continues to be a battle cry in the local SEO world, along with location accuracy as we covered yesterday.
If attributes-in-dropdown see the light of day on a wider or official scale, this issue will receive even greater — and likely deserved — attention and volume. I’ll continue to investigate and update on developments.
Update 6am PDT: Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz informs me he’s seen this before, so it is not likely new. The implications stated in the post still apply, if yesterday’s discovery is a sign that it will roll out more widely.