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Search Discovery, Online Reputation, and Customer Experience Insights

Rio SEO recently conducted our second annual Local Consumer Search Behavior study to bring fresh local marketing insights to enterprise and multi-location brands.

Rio SEO’s second annual local search consumer behavior study sheds light on how consumers conduct online searches, the impact of reviews and ratings on their decision-making processes, and which platforms are most frequently used as part of their local shopping journey.

As we look toward the future, it’s critical for brands to understand the impacts of these behavioral shifts and rethink local marketing strategies.

Below we’ll share a few key takeaways from our research. Download the full report for more in-depth exploration and analysis of how local consumer search behavior has shifted in 2022.

Download The Full Study

Join Us For The Companion Webinar

Each year Rio SEO conducts an annual survey to better understand how customers are using search engines to discover businesses, what drives a customer to choose a business, and online reputation’s role in the overall customer experience.

Marketers can use these findings to identify opportunities to evolve their current strategy and enhance their customer’s journey with their brand.

Join us as we share the most impactful findings from the study and expert recommendations for how to apply the insights to your local marketing strategy to enhance customer experience and drive sales.

 Webinar Duration: 60 minutes

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Study Methodology

The research was conducted among a random sample of 1,002 respondents, with demographics broken out as follows.

Age Group

  • 18 to 25 (4%)
  • 26 to 41 (52%)
  • 42 to 57 (28%)
  • 58 to 78 (12%)
  • 77 and up (5%)

Gender

  • 53% female
  • 47% male

Region

  • Midwest – 20%
  • Northeast – 30%
  • Southeast – 18%
  • Southwest – 8%
  • West – 24%

Residential Environment

  • 58% live in urban areas
  • 25% live in suburban areas
  • 17% live in rural areas

Verticals Represented

  • Service Businesses
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Restaurants
  • Retail

Areas of Focus

  • iPhone (64%)
  • Samsung (60%)
  • Pixel (39%)

Search Discovery Insights

Local search is a massive opportunity for multi-location brands, where customers can be engaged at every stage of their journey. The need for brands to prioritize and focus on providing a comprehensive customer experience – from initial search and beyond the sale – aligns with the following key insights gleaned.

  • 74% of consumers said they frequently use Google Search/Maps to find information about businesses in their area.
  • 65% of the most frequently searched information on local business listings is the business address/directions.
  • 50% of respondents look at every single one of the main business listing areas when searching for information.
  • 66% of consumers are looking to travel ten miles or less for a product or a service.
Download the Full Study

Online Reputation Insights

Local consumers rely heavily on the experiences and opinions of others to guide their local purchasing decisions. From start to finish, your online reputation management strategy is a key aspect of the consumer’s local experience.

  • The average person reads six reviews before visiting a business.
  • 63% of consumers said first-party reviews (reviews displayed on a brand’s website) are likely to influence their purchasing decision.
  • 35% of local consumers said they trust online review somewhat or much more than personal recommendations.
  • 31% of local consumers agree that Google is the most trusted platform for evaluating businesses.
Download the Full Study

Customer Experience Insights

Customers look for far more than a commercial transaction in their local business relationships. They want to have a two-way conversation with brands and expect to engage seamlessly across devices and physical/virtual boundaries – and they expect all of this functionality and interaction to happen within the local search experience.

  • 19% of consumers prefer writing online reviews to communicate with brands when they require support, more than any other method.
  • 77% of local consumers expect a response within 48 hours when they reach out to a brand through a business listing or their website.
  • 48% of consumers have posted a photo within the past week on an online business profile (Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.), on a business’s social media, or in a review.
  • 20% of local consumers are unlikely to visit a business with incorrect or missing listing information.
Download the Full Study

Key Takeaways

This year, we found that local consumers conduct online searches more frequently. Eighty-three percent said they conduct searches every day. This is up from 76% in our 2021 survey.

Local searchers are most often looking for a business address or directions to that location (65%), local reviews (56%), current hours of operation (54%), and the website address (54%).

Consumers have little patience for incomplete results and are unlikely to continue searching elsewhere to fill in the gaps. Forty-five percent of local consumers said they are unlikely to visit a business with missing or incorrect information in its local business listing. Surprisingly, more consumers trust the business information they see on Google than the company website. Two times as many respondents indicated they expect Google to have the most accurate brand information, compared to 21% of those who said the brand website.

Whether reaching out to the brand through a local business listing or its website, 57% of consumers expect a timely response, within a day or two of reaching out.

Our findings also reveal that after two years of grappling with the repercussions of COVID-19, consumers are ready to revisit stores and locations in person. Over two-fifths of consumers (42%) prefer a mixture of shopping in-person and online, while just 18% opted for online only.

To dive deeper into the insights we discovered, download the full study and save your seat for the companion webinar where our team will break down the study’s top findings and insights for multi-location brands.

Download the Full Study

Is your local strategy in need of a tune-up?

Request a free local marketing audit today for a detailed analysis of your brand’s local search performance and growth recommendations.

Request a Local Audit