An analysis of COVID-19’s impact on local search finds Google My Business experienced a sharp performance drop.
A study from Reputation.com of over 80,000 US listings finds that impressions are down an average of 59% across all verticals.
However, there are signs that performance will turn around sooner than many might expect.
Here’s more about the recent downturn of Google My Business, and when the eventual upswing is expected to occur.
All GMB Listings Got “Rocked”
Google My Business listings across all industries were negatively impacted by COVID-19.
As the study puts it, “every industry got rocked.”
Although it appears the worst may be over, as data flattened out at the end of March.
This suggests customers are coming around to seeking out businesses that do remain open.
Clicks Are Down 37%
With impressions being down, clicks on Google My Business listings are down as well.
That includes clicks to driving directions, clicks to websites, and clicks to call a business.
Overall, the amount of clicks are down by a total of 37%.
Clicks to driving directions saw the steepest drop off by far, down 60% across all verticals.
“The steep drop in clicks to driving directions most certainly results from people responding to state-by-state shelter-in-place mandates.”
Clicks to visit a website from a Google My Business listing are down 31%.
Clicks to call a business did not drop off by as much, as they’re only down by 21%.
That shows customers are still engaging with businesses even if they can’t visit the location in person.
“As they shelter in place, they might be calling rather than driving, or it’s possible they want to visit and are calling to verify your hours during COVID-19.”
Recovery Already in Sight
Data suggests that performance of Google My Business listings will improve from here on out.
Automotive and retail, two industries hit hard by the pandemic, are showing signs of recovery already.
“Retail experienced a free fall in March followed by an apparent bottoming out.
Why? It’s possible the data reflects people showing an interest in shopping again after stocking up in March and sheltering in place.”
Google My Business performance for auto and retail is turning a corner, but restaurants are another story.
Impressions for restaurant listings are down but clicks are way up.
Clicks to call restaurants spiked in mid-March as people adapted to ordering online.
“At first, it was not always clear that it was possible to order from a restaurant, or whether restaurants were even open.
As consumers sorted out their options, they began to call restaurants to place food orders.”
Phone clicks began to bottom out around the end of March, but are still up compared to other industries.
Impressions and clicks may be down, but Google My Business listings still play an important role during the pandemic.
People are still using GMB, so it’s crucial that business owners continue to keep their listings updated.
Data shows that people who are searching for a business tend to engage with it either by calling or visiting the website.
So it’s a good idea to keep your website updated as well and ensure calls can still be answered.
For more about COVID-19’s impact on Google My Business listings, download the full report here.
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.