The COVID-19 pandemic has had pervasive impacts on nearly every aspect of life and business. There are still plenty of opportunities in SEO in fact, some businesses are seeing rapid increases in sales over this period.
Given all that is going on right now in the world, it is undoubtedly interesting – and important – to consider the implications that the novel coronavirus have had, and will continue to have, on search engine optimization, and how to adjust your SEO strategy in a Covid-19 environment.
SEO is a long term investment and their is plenty that can be done to prepare for the anticipated bounce back later down the line.
First we discuss the industries that have had a decrease in organic search traffic as a result of the virus, as well as understand some opportunities that exist for those of you wondering if you should increase or decrease your SEO & marketing spending during the covid outbreak
- Essential e-commerce stores: If you’ve been to a grocery store or supermarket in the last few weeks, this should come as no shock to you. Shelves of canned goods and bathroom essentials are often wiped clean. It’s been quite scary, and that lack of ability to find things in stores have led to people searching for products online.
- Health and wellness information: This is also fairly unsurprising given what is going on in the world right now. People have genuine reasons to be concerned about their health and safety and are constantly searching for COVID-19 symptoms, home remedies, prevention methods, handwashing techniques, antiviral herbs and foods, and ways to make homemade masks.
- News and entertainment mediums: This is a byproducts of people wanting to stay informed and people also having more time on their hands to seek entertainment. In fact, news publishers are seeing the most significant gains in search traffic at the moment.
- Recipes and food ideas: As people find that they are trying to save money and a trip outside by cooking at home, they have searched for new and exciting recipes to make at home. While searches for restaurants still exists, as people try to see which restaurants around them are still open, searches for food courts and coffee shops have dipped down significantly.
Even when our day-to-day lives return to normal in a number of months, some of the businesses that you have grown to love and patronize over the years will likely remain shuttered as a result of the severe economic downturn. That being said, online shopping and e-commerce has spiked and remains on the rise as people look to purchase the things they want and need without having to leave the safety of their own homes.
- Travel: The travel industry has all but stopped as people are being told to stay at home as much as possible. Some of the most common searches related to travel has been people looking for refunds from hotels, airlines, cruise lines and more.
- Recreation and fitness: While gyms and exercise classes have closed down, people have taken to working out at home and jogging in their neighborhoods. While searching for places to work out have gone down, searching for in-home exercise classes have gone up significantly.
That’s just a quick breakdown of some of the most noticeable trend chances since the coronavirus pandemic spread worldwide. While these examples may not have anything to do with your specific industry, chances are very good that you already know how COVID-19 is impacting your site’s activity as of late.
Regardless of how your market is performing given the current pandemic and global disruption, there are definite ways in which you can improve your site’s SEO. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind when it comes to your SEO.
Tip 1: Create content that builds trust
One of the things that a lot of companies are doing right now is making promises about helping their customers and clients through this crisis. This is especially true for things like insurance companies, loan lenders, and more. That being said, a lot of people are not yet trusting that these companies are actually going to follow through on their promises.
One of the best ways to take advantage of the unfortunate moment is to try to build trust to future sales. Instead of encouraging people to buy right now, consider building content that proves to your past and current customers that you care about them. Say your product or service requires monthly payments, you may even want to consider offering a delay on payments or a waiving of any late fees.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and try to understand what they want and need to hear right now.
Tip 2: Be proactive about your web presence
One of the most important things to focus on right now is to continue to build trust with your potential customers even if they are not currently purchasing from you. While your sales may very likely be suffering at the moment, keep in mind that everyone is feeling the hit. While you may feel inclined to try to get an increase in leads to improve your sales, it is actually the perfect time to improve your overall web presence. Here are some of the best ways to do just that:
- Update your schema so that Google is showing accurate information about your company and products.
- Update your Google My Business Console. Organic traffic coming from searches is a very important indicator of where the demand for your product or services is shifting. Consider looking at improvements or declines in traffic to see what kind of information most is connecting with your customers.
- Add monitoring of search demands and social media mentions so that you can monitor COVID-19 related topics that are relevant to your site and business.
Tip 3: Audit your upcoming content and campaigns
With the economy struggling across the board, now may not be the time to unveil new content or campaigns. In fact, if you think you can afford it, it might be best to delay these kinds of rollouts until the novel coronavirus has been better contained and excitement about life starts the return. The reason why is because that will likely lead to a steep incline in the economy and increased buying.
To make the most out of those better days ahead, it might behoove you to take the extra time to more comprehensively audit the content and campaigns that you have prepared to make sure that they perform their very best.
Focus on adapting in the short-term reality in order to give yourself and your business the best chance to build long-term brand success and equity.
Tip 4: Put an emphasis on security
As previously touched on, building trust is one of the most impactful factors to success at the moment.
Unfortunately, hackers and scammers are operating at a very high level right now as people who are desperate for materials and income are searching all corners of the internet to find it.
For example, some people are pretending to sell and deliver surgical masks for a quick buck. Another scam offered a “corona special offer” for a MacBook Air that only cost $390. In reality, it was just a scam to try to get sensitive information from unsuspecting victims.
Cybercriminals are using the brands of “trusted” companies when it comes to phishing attacks. Even international companies such as the WHO and the CDC are being exploited. It’s a troubling time indeed.
In order to keep your business and your customers safe, you should be making security a top priority at the moment. Here are some of the best ways to do so:
- Monitor log files for crawl errors to try to reveal is spambots are trying to break into your site.
- Implement SSO (single sign on) which authorizes users to use one set of login credentials in order to enter separate applications. It’s more secure and will make your IT team’s job far easier.
- Secure your site with SSL. As you likely already known, implementing HTTPS protects important information such as credit card numbers, browing history and more.
- Update the plugins or apps that you use because hackers often look for old plugins or tools for vulnerabilities. Updates will make your site that much more difficult for them to gain access.
Tip 5: Catch new trends before they happen
The global pandemic has made a lot of people search specific things on a daily basis such as masks, gloves, toilet paper, and more. SEO practitioners who have the ability to see a trend continuing even after COVID-19 will help improve your success at SEO.
The COVID-19 will cause more and more people to be frequently conscious of what they touch, how much they clean and disinfect, how many strangers they are in contact with every day of their life. The interest people have in such topics will not die down after the world is free of the corona virus.
The new trends that will develop and the continuous interest people will have after the pandemic and the global news about the virus will help to prepare you and the SEO practitioner for all the products and key words that multiple people will be looking for.
Tip 6: Expand and promote your brand
With the global pandemic happening all over the world, people are spending time searching for ways to stay safe, to save money, look for extra work, how they are going to pay their mortgage and the daily new rules and all kind of news about the outbreak.
It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the number of hours people are spending online and looking up topics related to COVID-19. These topics aren’t always about the actual news, but it’s also activities that you can do at home and ways to improve the usage of your time.
If you are selling a product that won’t be interesting to people at this moment or can be quite costly, you can still use the pandemic to promote your brand and have it be visible when topics are being searched.
For example, a parent might find it very difficult to keep their kids engaged and interested in continuing their education with the schools being shut down. Building an SEO strategy to target such audience that isn’t directly looking for your product will help to catch their attention with blogging and gaining more traffic and visitors on your website.
Expanding your brand during the pandemic will continue even after all of it is over. Think of it as an investment for the future of your business and a way to find new customers during the hard times.
It’s important to remember to stay compassionate through this time and remain professional until the unknown future has become clear. Avoid being involved in comedic blogs that are trying to make light of the situation or have controversial topics regarding COVID-19 to receive more clicks. Such content could damage your business in the long run and might make your current customers offer their loyalty to another business instead.
Tip 7: Think outside of the box when it comes to SEO strategies
Many other business and competitions are putting a pause on their SEO strategies due to the shutdown of everything in the world at the moment. Remember that people are spending a lot of their time at home and optimizing the usage of Google.
Stay ahead of your competition by constantly pushing for new SEO strategies and finding new ways improve your ranking on Google.
Many people are in need of masks and essential products that can’t be found easily. Even if you are not in the business of such essential products, you can still offer it by finding ways to incorporate it with your current products.
For example, if you are in the business of selling clothing or beautiful printed material that is used to make bandanas for dogs you can start making masks made of the material that has your personal products’ unique prints or turning some of the t-shirts you are selling into masks that people can use to stay safe during the pandemic as well as offering to donate them if people would love to buy them for hospital workers.
You can also use SEO analytics tools that is offered for you to do research about current trends and how long it is lasting to help beat the competition by knowing what the people really want during COVID-19.
At the start of the pandemic, many individuals had interest in luxuries that they were able to afford, as they didn’t expect the potential of being out of a job and struggling with making money. Those luxuries may include buying electronics to keep them entertained while staying at home or subscribing to online services that offers endless choices to binge watch their favorite movies and TV shows.
Learning how fast people’s interest in certain popular products declines after two weeks will help you predict the future and stay on top of improving your SEO strategies.