What does the re-opening mean for local SEO?

 COVID has sped up the shift to digital, and that shift is here to stay.

Through the pandemic, e-commerce has seen big gains, while brick-and-mortar retailers have had it rough. Physical stores have had to reduce their hours – or close – to meet local restrictions. And even while open, stores have seen less foot traffic as customers have limited their in-store shopping for safety reasons.


Against this backdrop, it’s easy to understand why some location marketers are tempted to see the re-opening of physical retail stores as a battle against e-commerce. 

But location marketing post-pandemic will be less about offline versus online, and more about how brands can get their offline and online working together.

As vaccinations are administered and restrictions are lifted, Google data shows that customers are increasingly going online to find their way to offline businesses.


Searches for “local” + “business(es)”
have grown by more than 80% year over year (Google, 2021)


At PinMeTo, we’re seeing that increased search volume translating into increased search results appearances for the brands who use our tool. One of these brands, a Polish home furnishing retailer with approximately 170 locations, has seen gains in their maps search results as lockdown restrictions have loosened, surpassing even pre-pandemic levels:


As the graph shows, when COVID reached Europe and regions started enforcing lockdowns, the ratio of maps searches (searches done on a mapping service, with high local intent) dropped in comparison to web searches. But the ratio has been moving steadily back to pre-pandemic levels, as restrictions are lifted and vaccinations are administered.

What this means for brands is that it’s more important than ever to keep location info updated and accurate across all locations and all the platforms they’re listed on, so they can turn that surge in searches into a surge in foot traffic.

If you aren’t already using PinMeTo to make managing your locations easy, book a demo to see how we can help.

Key takeaways:

  • COVID drove a shift to digital that’s here to stay

  • As vaccinations continue & restrictions end, the demand for in-store shopping has returned

  • Offline store visits often begin online, and to capture this increased demand, brands will need to ensure their online listings are complete and accurate


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