As we continue our monthly evaluation of local search insights, we have new trends to share from the Google My Business (GMB) Insights of over 200,000 U.S. enterprise locations we monitor on an ongoing basis. The most dramatic movements were in the financial services and hotels industry, each experiencing double-digit changes in search volume and conversion metrics. While hotels enjoyed a resurgence in local online interest, banks and other financial services brands saw a noticeable reduction in every metric. That’s not necessarily bad news for those locations, though. Read on to learn the consumer search behavior trends June presented, across 7 diverse verticals.
Fluctuations in search volume and conversion actions were less stark this month compared to last when total searches were up over 11%. Consultants, professional services providers, IT firms, and others in the sector saw their GMB metrics hold close to steady, with gains and losses mostly under 2%.
The exception is in clicks for directions, which grew again in June. May brought an 11.8% increase in this important local conversion metric and June added another 6.3%. This makes sense in the broader context of the business environment across the US, which continues to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Business services brands can improve customer experience by keeping each location’s GMB profile up to date with special hours, Google Posts, and exterior images that will help visitors recognize the location as they arrive.
The downward trend in search behavior continued through June in financial services. Part of this is almost certainly seasonal, as tax season spikes interest in personal finance each spring. However, as local businesses reopen and return to full capacity, consumers are not having to call ahead or go online as often to inquire about hours of operation, availability of services, etc.
Banks, insurance and mortgage brokerages, and other financial services locations can entice new business in the door with GMB Offers, which enjoy greater visibility in the SERPs. However, it’s particularly important to maintain your collection of GMB Posts as older ones tend to resurface in search. Given the importance of accurate, timely information in finance — not to mention the regulatory requirements for it — you’ll want to stay on top of these and ensure your Posts are not appearing for expired promotions.
See Best Practices for Maintaining and Removing Google Posts to learn more.
Sit Down Restaurants
Search interest and conversion actions were down in all metrics for dine-in establishments in June. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, consumers more often called ahead or went online to find restaurant information and book a table than in previous years.
With increasing vaccination rates and the continued reopening of local businesses, consumers are more apt to go directly to the location than they were a few months ago.
Keeping the context of COVID-19 in mind is essential when reviewing current performance metrics. We recently analyzed the differences in these same metrics between H1 2019 and H1 2021 and found that average local searches for sit-down restaurants were up 128% in 2021. So while month-over-month figures are important, it’s also crucial to consider the bigger picture.
June marks a reversal of the single-digit increases in every metric for quick service restaurants in all but clicks for directions, which gained another 3.1%. Although total searches fell 2.3% this month, we see in our comparison to 2019 that overall, search interest is still 137% higher than before the pandemic.
Enterprise quick-service brands can upload menu data to GMB via the API so that the information available to searchers is accurate. Google aims to provide menus to consumers via GMB whether it’s pulling the information from multiple sources and relying on diners’ input or has access to a single source of truth via the location itself.
See GMB ‘FoodMenus’ Cheat Sheet for Enterprise Brands to learn more about how you can be that single source of truth and enjoy accurate menus displayed on all of your location profiles.
The hospitality industry continues to make great gains in recovering from widespread shutdowns. GMB metrics are up 18-24% month-over-month as consumers regain interest in and the confidence to travel.
However, we also see that the total search volume from H1 2019 to H1 2021 is up a remarkable 181%. This indicates a renewed interest in staycations and vacations by those who may not have had trips top of mind prior to the pandemic. It also suggests that consumers are turning to search more often as they discover and evaluate their hotel options.
Specialty pages offer hotels a method for promoting spa services, on-site restaurants, and other amenities. By creating highly optimized local pages for these services, you give each one its own presence in local search and gain visibility where people are looking for specific amenities and experiences. See how Four Seasons used this tactic to increase spa bookings by 30% for 100 of its locations.
Retail searches and most conversion metrics fell in the single digits from May, although total search volume for the first half of the year still remains 187% higher than in H1 2019. Clicks for directions increased 2.1% on the back of a 5.3% gain the month before.
According to Google, 83% of shoppers who had visited a store in the last week used online search before going in. Retailers can help ensure a smooth conversion from online search to in-store visit by keeping local listings current and accurate, providing a dynamic store locator, and making sure local pages and the website are in keeping with Google’s and consumers’ expectations for a fast, mobile-friendly experience.
Vaccine clinics and increasing COVID-19 cases have kept search interest high and put conversion metrics on an upward trend. Where we saw clicks to call, clicks to website, and clicks for direction all decreased last month, they’re on the rise again.
For healthcare brands, ongoing reputation management is essential in protecting consumer trust and maintaining a robust search presence. Managing and responding to online reviews is part of this, as is avoiding inaccurate listings that can erode patient and search engine trust alike in the brand. Learn more about how Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group better connected to patient needs and built its online brand inside a single platform.
See more local search trends by vertical for previous months: