The interconnectedness of the world is slowly moving things toward an economy where instantaneous information can catch buyers in the moment, and help sway their decision making process.

Think of Google’s micro-moments – a split-second time frame where consumers expect brands to address their real-time needs. This has drastically increased the need for locally-focused and comprehensive mobile SEO. Now Google Maps is showing the average time spent in a location, another interesting development that will affect small business’ bottom lines. Let’s learn more:

How long do I have to wait?

Imagine yourself as a busy professional in downtown Toronto; time is short, breaks are shorter, and you can’t possibly get through the day without your coffee. When you type in coffee into your Google Maps application, not only will you be given the location, photos, and information about the place, you will also be shown the busiest times of day and the average time spent at the location. Now when you see that the average waiting time at Starbucks is 15 minutes during peak times, it could sway your decision in another direction.

How is the information collected?

Google uses freely-given, crowd-sourced information to determine the average waiting time. People who have volunteered to store their location data with Google are analysed by the search giant, and the average waiting time for the last few weeks is given.

Local SEO implications

As with any major development affecting the availability of information to a user, the average waiting time will certainly affect customer behavior. Imagine given the choice between two similarly located shops–would you rather wait 5 minutes or 20? The more information given to a customer, the better it is for your SEO and prospects. What we mean is that the more info about you that a customer has access to, the more likely they are to visit (people don’t like uncertainty). Being visible on the map and in the Google snack pack is even more important.

It should also serve as a warning sign to business owners. Google wants consumers to know everything about you. If you aren’t providing good service, people will know. Make sure to do everything you can to avoid long wait times.

This new Google Maps development will help people plan their workdays, their travel itineraries, and their dinner dates. Making sure this information is visible to customers will help you draw more people through your doors.