Since October 2020, Rio SEO has been analyzing anonymized Google My Business data for over 200,000 locations across the United States to bring you a monthly trends report to serve as a benchmark for local performance across seven different industries. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into the local consumer search behavior trends February presented.
In February 2021, we found near-universal declines in GMB metrics including search views, searches, and clicks to various types of conversion. The only exception was in the hotel sector, where the recovery in search interest and conversion actions that began to pick up in December 2020 continues trending upward at a rapid clip. This comes as a welcome relief for the hospitality industry, which reported record lows in occupancy and revenue per available room for the year 2020, according to STR.
It is important to note that declining GMB metrics do not indicate declining interest in shopping at or otherwise frequenting local businesses. In fact, in our analysis of search metrics over 2020 as a whole (in research that is being released soon), we found that the year closed out with higher local search volume than the previous new year.
COVID-19 has a dramatic impact on local consumers’ need for timely, accurate local business information and that has been reflected in these month-over-month trends. Let’s explore what February’s local landscape brought businesses in different verticals.
Interest in business services took a slight dip across most metrics this month, similar to what we saw in January.
Clicks to phone calls were the one outlier and saw a minor increase. Though metrics were down across the board for business service brands, they weren’t as severe as a few other verticals such as financial services and retail.
Interest in financial services picked up slightly in January only to take a sharp dip last month. Financial services brands continue to feel the lingering effects of COVID-19 and saw large declines across every metric in February.
Sit Down Restaurant
Local marketing search and conversion metrics for the sit-down restaurant industry saw a promising start at the beginning of 2021, only to see minor decreases in February. As more sit-down restaurants are able to reopen, we expect to see this industry slowly recover with time.
Quick Service Restaurant
Quick-service restaurants, similar to their sit-down restaurant counterparts, experienced a challenging year in 2020 in terms of local marketing metrics.
This continues to be the case in 2021, with continued closures and safety concerns. This vertical did see a slight increase in clicks to phone calls, suggesting consumers are still interested in quick-service food options.
Interest in hotels continues to spike, as we have sees in GMB metrics for the first few months of 2021. February was no different, as the hospitality industry continued to see improvements across every local marketing metric.
The retail industry continues to struggle in every local marketing metric and this month’s declines are similar to January’s figures. While understandably disheartening for retailers to see, this seems to align with historic post-holiday shopping habits.
While January was promising in terms of local search metrics, the healthcare industry saw a stark difference in February.
Nearly every metric saw double-digit declines with the exception of total views, indicating that consumers are still interested in finding more information about healthcare facilities. Even so, they may be continuing to leverage telehealth options rather than in-person visits.
See more local search trends by vertical for previous months: