New research from RIO SEO shows dramatic effects on Local Search and offers insights into how to be more effective in monitoring search habits at the local level and leverage those changes for better economic performance.

RIO SEO tracked consumer trends across over 200,000 locations in a range of verticals.

The report covers these categories.

  • Business Services
  • Financial services
  • Sit-down restaurants
  • Quick Service Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Massive Impact


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It’s widely known that the impact on business was massive. But this new research shows how the pandemic affected website clicks, click to call, and driving direction clicks.

According to RIO SEO:

“Without question, COVID-19 had a massive impact on the local search landscape in 2020. Across the over 200,000 locations in all verticals that Rio SEO tracks, local searches were volatile, with initial drops, recovery, more volatility, and a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels.

The verticals that were able to pivot to respond to the uncertain economic climate weathered the pandemic storm better, but no sector was left untouched and unaffected.”


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Total Views

All verticals experienced drops in total views from February through April. Other metrics also reported declines but it was total views that had the biggest declines. Recovery began in May and by the fourth quarter all metrics stabilized at similar percentages of growth and decline.

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