As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to prompt store closures and adjustments to business operations, the business world overall has made great strides in understanding its impact on consumer behavior. Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and other platforms continue to add new features and attributes to help businesses better communicate key service and operations information to customers (see our list of COVID-19 features for enterprise brands by platform here).
In addition to these attributes that feature prominently on your locations’ local listings, brands have an opportunity to demonstrate relevance and improve rankings on specific consumer needs by using current trending keywords. We recommend you use these in your website’s copy, on local landing pages, in your business description on GMB and elsewhere, in Google Posts, and in social media content.
We researched trending marketing keywords in mid-May and found that terms describing physical/social distancing practices were all the rage. What’s changed since then? Here are the trending keywords Americans are using now to find local businesses that meet their needs.
Customers Looking to BOPIS – Buy Online Pickup In-Store
“Buy online pick up in-store” and related terms (BOPIS, buy online pick up, etc.) typically trend seasonally around the holiday shopping season. However, COVID-19 has these service-related keywords trending again as consumers look for ways to stay out of indoor retail spaces.
Make sure that all local listings link to your preferred online ordering URL. Include clear information and instructions on pickup protocol to ease consumer anxieties and proactively answer questions about the BOPIS process. As you can see, consumers are using different variations of this term—you will want to, as well.
Contactless Payment, Pickup & Delivery All Trending
Consumers are seeking ways to avoid close contact and interaction as the pandemic continues. “Contactless payment” was an emerging technology period to COVID-19 that has rapidly gained in popularity and adoption as a result of social distancing recommendations.
The meteoric rise in searches for breakout term “contactless delivery” suggests consumers are even more interested in having goods brought to them, negating the need to visit a store at all.
How Restaurant & Quick-Service Keywords are Trending
“Food delivery” has become an increasingly popular search trend since Coronavirus surfaced in the US in late February. Customers hungry for information about their restaurant options are using descriptive terms including “dine in” and “takeout” far more than prior to COVID-19 to describe their needs.
Consumers are using “outdoor dining” and “patio dining” to find options for enjoying a meal out while remaining out of enclosed spaces. In addition to including these marketing keywords in your local listings and local pages, you can create Google Posts and add photos to GMB and Yelp, showcasing what these spaces actually look like. Help customers envision themselves utilizing these services.
Popular Retail Search Terms Underscore Importance of Accurate Store Hours
As we researched various retail keyword terms, it became clear that the information consumers need most is hours of operation. Shopping while maintaining social distance, learning various stores’ protocol, and coordinating care at home while out shopping means that retail requires more planning on the part of the shopper.
Keeping your hours of operation and other key local listings data up-to-date is critical, both for search visibility and customer experience. If a store will be closed for two weeks or longer, we recommend marking it as Temporarily Closed as opposed to using Special Hours. For holidays, confirm store hours even if they are the same as a regular day. Google wants to know that they are giving shoppers the most accurate, current information possible.
Customers in Finance Seeking Service-Related Information
As shelter-in-place guidelines went into effect, customers began seeking out ways to do their banking and have insurance or investment appointments without having to go into a branch or office. As America Reopens, searches for “drive-thru bank,” “bank online,” and other service-related queries are falling.
However, brands should expect these trends to swing upwards again as the Coronavirus pandemic impacts businesses in various regions. Make sure you have the ability to publish important service-related information across all of your brand’s local listings and local pages or to select subsets as required.
Adapting Your Local Marketing Strategy in Times of Crisis
This is not a comparison of one keyword’s popularity against the others; your brand should investigate the marketing keywords that matter most to your customers as you pivot and adapt your local strategy to constantly shifting conditions. Remember that your local search insights are a rich source of information and are, in fact, as close a representation of real-time customer voice as you’ll find in your business intelligence arsenal.
Want to learn more?
- Read Opening Up America: Expert Local Marketing Guidance For Enterprise Brands
- Claim your seat now for our next local marketing expert webinar
- Take advantage of a free local search audit and discover new opportunities to improve your brand’s online visibility and local search rankings.
Note: in the above illustrations for retail, finance, restaurant, hospitality and healthcare marketing keywords, the y-axis represents search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time for that search term only. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A value of 0 means there was not enough search data. This representation is designed to show the trajectory of each individual term and should not be mistaken for a comparison between the search volume of terms.