Your Business Hours Now Affect Your Google Ranking

Plus: Shein forces Amazon's hand, and Threads adds hashtags — sort of.

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Google Local • Rankings Now Consider Your Hours

Google has reportedly added an interesting new factor to its local ranking algorithm: business hours. This means that businesses that are currently open are now more likely to rank higher in local search results than those that are closed.

Local results are those used in Maps and business boxes in regular Search.

Previously, Google didn't take business hours into account when ranking local results. So, a closed business would rank just as well as an open one. However, according to Joy Hawkins at the local SEO agency Sterling Sky, this was changed some time last month.

A lawyer ranked lower when they were closed at 6 am than they did two hours later when they were open at 9 am:

Image: Sterling Sky

A psychiatrist's ranking dropped significantly on weekends when they were not open compared to weekdays when they were open:

Image: Sterling Sky

So, make sure your business hours are accurate and up-to-date in your Google Business Profile, as this is is more important now than ever.

Do you think business hours SHOULD affect local ranking?

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YouTube • Now You Can ‘Pause’ Comments

This afternoon, YouTube announced it will now let brands and creators ‘pause’ comments on their videos.

This will prevent viewers from adding new comments, without having to go the nuclear option of turning comments off entirely.

This is something you’d probably only do if your video had normal comments for a while, then suddenly you’re getting hit by lots of drive-by comments, as sometimes happen on social media.

Pausing incoming comments will give you time to delete or hide troll comments.

The flip switch is at the video-level, in the upper right-hand corner of the comments panel. If you turn it on, viewers will get a little note on that video’s comments saying that you’ve paused them.

This is something they’ve been testing for a couple of months now.

Amazon • Slashing Fees to Compete with Shein

Amazon is lowering its seller fees for cheap clothing in a bid to compete with fast-fashion giant Shein. The new rates, starting in January, will see fees for apparel under $15 drop from 17% to just 5%.

This appears to be a direct response to Shein's ultra-low prices, with t-shirts costing around $5 and jeans selling for about $15. With a network of roughly 6,000 manufacturers, Shein has become a formidable competitor, even for Amazon.

Shein is said to be preparing for an IPO with an $80 billion to $90 billion valuation.

Amazon isn't the only one worried about Shein's rise. Retailers like Temu, Gap, and Etsy have all named Shein as a major competitor. Shein's aggressive tactics, like recruiting suppliers and offering ultra-low prices, have disrupted the retail landscape.

Threads • Topic Tags Released Globally

Meta’s Threads app is now rolling out its topic tag feature to all users worldwide. 

Think of them as hashtags, but with a twist. Unlike traditional hashtags, topic tags:

  • Limited to one per post: Meta says this will prevent spamming and flooding of trending topics.

  • Allow for multi-word support so posts will have a natural sentence flow without breaking it with # symbols. That said, if you really do want an actual hashtag, then tap the topic tag icon (which, confusingly, is a hashtag) then type an actual hashtag before your topic, and it will show up in the OG format

  • Posts become searchable based on their specific topic.

These aren’t in the API yet because there is no API. And even once platforms do get access to a publishing API, it might take them more time to implement these, since they’re more complicated a workflow, involving searching for and selecting from a predetermined list.

We are on Threads — our username is @TodayInDigitalMarketing, or you can follow my personal account @TodMaffin.

AR • An Easier Way Into Augmented Reality

If you’ve ever wanted your brand to play in the augmented reality space, but didn’t have the energy or budget to commit fully, one company thinks it has a solution.

Blippar, an AR tech company, has unveiled its new AR Units — these are web-based ad units that require no app download and can be accessed directly within webpages.

The ad units:

  • Use both front and rear-facing cameras

  • Have some templates like 3D product previews, mini-games, and virtual try-ons

Blippar says early results have user dwell time at 40-50 seconds.

LinkedIn • Newsletters Get Big Update

LinkedIn this week announced several new updates to its newsletter tools:

Duplicate Draft Templates

Letting you replicate the format of previous newsletters.

Better Analytics

for content performance, audience demographics, and some optimization suggestions.

Simplified Author Switching

Which will let you choose whether to publish as a member or from a Company Page.

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