How Coronavirus Is Impacting Local Search | Vicinus.ai
With the advent of store closures, social distancing, and ‘stay at home’ guidelines, Coronavirus is expected to reduce the number of ‘near me’ searches. However, this is not the case, rather local search is evolving alongside this situation.
How is Local Search Changing because of Coronavirus?
Searches like ‘stores open near me’, ‘opening hours’, and ‘grocery delivery’ have spiked in volume. These types of searches are becoming more and more relevant during this time as a result of the unpredictability of shop openings in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
Although unfortunately, the searches for ‘restaurants near me’ have reduced, food delivery services, fitness equipment, grocery, and pharmacies are up.
- Gyms: site visits are up, calls are up, driving directions are way down
- Grocery stores: visits, calls and directions are up
- Hotels: calls, directions, and site visits are way down
What this suggests is that customers are still using local and ‘near me’ searches heavily, even during the coronavirus crisis. However, it’s just customer behaviours that are evolving as a result of how the virus, and the restrictions which go along with it, are changing our daily lives.
GMB Updates because of Coronavirus
Updated in March, Google once had a restriction on posts for only multi-location businesses, however, this is now available for all businesses.
This is critical in the days of coronavirus as sharing timely updates and local posts are necessary to inform potential customers. These are opening times, safety precautions, and other services that have been dramatically changed as a result of the virus.
GMB’s API Announcement suggests that:
‘To help Chain businesses share timely updates at scale, Local Posts via the GMB API will be available for a limited time. Local Posts made by Chains may only be used to report updates relevant to COVID-19’ : 27-03-2020
Vicinus can help with posting in bulk on business listings with real-time management of all your locations from one easy-to-use platform. Vicinus can help your customers find only up-to-date and consistent information about your brand via managing business listings from a central platform.
What can businesses do to help their customers during Coronavirus?
Although reduced changing hours and shop closures are a major problem for many businesses. However, there are still things you can do to help keep your customers informed and happy during this crisis.
Some strategies are:
- Keeping hours updated
- Showing current services/products still available
- Closures/new opening hours
- Using Google posts for direct engagement with customers
Utilising updates on business listings not only provides your customers with the relevant information they need about your business. But, it also builds trust and engagement with them during temporary closures or restricted business hours and/or services.