Rio SEO Publishes Original Research Revealing COVID-19’s Impact On the Local Search Landscape for Multi-Location Brands

Rio SEO, the leading local marketing platform provider for enterprise brands, agencies and retailers, has published original research which details the impact of COVID-19 on the local search landscape for multi-location brands.

The study primarily focuses on Google My Business (GMB) metrics, such as search, views and conversions from the period of January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The industries looked at in this whitepaper include: business services, financial services, hospitality, healthcare, retail, and restaurants. The data, drawn from a sample of more than 200,000 international business locations, revealed key insights into consumer search behavior and actions taken across the aforementioned verticals.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly caused massive disruptions to our global economy, and no industry was unaffected. This was reflected in consumer behavior as discretionary shopping lessened and in-person services were often avoided,” said Mick Wilson, Vice President of Client Success at Rio SEO.”

Some of the key highlights and takeaways from Rio SEO’s “COVID-19’s Impact on the Local Search Landscape” whitepaper include:

  • All verticals experienced a substantial dip in total views of their GMB listings at the start of the pandemic. While all metrics saw declines, the greatest decline was in total views, which dropped 40% overall in March when compared to the month prior.
  • As the pandemic wore on and even routine outings became fraught with questions about store closures and safety measures, consumers’ informational needs grew. This was reflected in relatively high total click actions from May 2020 onward.
  • Without question, sit-down restaurants were among those hardest hit by the fallout from COVID-19. Overall, they saw a 53% decrease in total views of their listings and a 21% decrease in total searches.
  • Overall, retailers showed the most consistent performance in 2020, with limited drops and gains in many metrics. In fact they saw an overall 117% increase in clicks to their websites.
  • The healthcare industry, unsurprisingly, had one of its strongest years in terms of local marketing metrics. Overall, the healthcare industry saw a 19% increase in total clicks on their listings, a 48% increase in clicks to phone calls, and a 39% increase in clicks to their websites.

The report serves as a resource for multi-location brands to benchmark and review how their local marketing metrics aligned with others in their vertical amid a challenging year for most industries. Additionally, businesses can gain more understanding of what to expect as the pandemic continues to affect the local search landscape globally.

*Rio SEO analyzed data from 400 global enterprise organizations with more than 200,000+ business locations. Our methodology calculates monthly percentage changes by comparing consumer search and conversion volume within a specific industry, month over month from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

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