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Businesses have been greatly impacted as the economy has taken a hit because of COVID-19. But Google will continue to enhance the performance of search result ranking even during the epidemic situation. Decipher the traffic patterns and do all that you can to mitigate losses.
According to McKinsey’s COVID-19: Implications for business report, “Large-scale quarantines, travel restrictions, and social-distancing measures drive a sharp fall in consumer and business spending...”
While this may seem like adding more gloom to an already dark situation, there is a ray of light - an opportunity to build your SEO in this season and prepare for an eventual rebound. In this article, we explore the reasons why you need to keep boosting your SEO during COVID-19.
1. Your brand needs to stay visible and credible
This data from Google Trends shows a sharp increase in searches relates to COVID-19 and SEO over the last 3 months, worldwide.
It goes without saying that businesses need to find a way to weather the Corona storm. Staying relevant, visible, and reputable is, therefore, more important than ever.
Boosting your SEO is a great way to ensure that your business and brand stay visible in front of your customers and potential new customers.
You can provide relevant and helpful content for your audience or customers that is in line with your brand’s values.
For example, if you are a software company and one of your brand values is ‘providing value for your customer’, creating content like demos on how to clean and disinfect devices will not only communicate to your customer that you care about their safety, but will showcase your brand as one that lives up to its brand promise.
You need to strive to ensure that your ranking in search engines does not tank
Depending on the industry that you are in, it might be harder to rank or a little simpler. For example, if you are in the healthcare industry, it might be more difficult to rank, since there is a lot of content from highly credible sites with strong page authority that is currently being published.
On the other hand, if you are in an industry like travel, it might be easier to rank as there could be lesser competition.
However, despite the side of the spectrum that you may find yourself on, getting a little creative will cushion you against seeing lower ranking in search engine results.
For example, a quick Google search on the keyword ‘travel industry’ shows the following results:
As you can see, content like ‘Imagining the future of the Travel Industry’ is highly likely to get you ranking as it is not only relevant but it also has a different perspective.
2. You can leverage on local SEO
Since there are restrictions on travel and unnecessary movement, you can leverage on local SEO. Consumers need to use services and products within their vicinity. For example, people working from home are likely to order food from local restaurants who can deliver it to their homes or that allow for a drive-thru.
This means that if your restaurant offers these two services, you can increase brand awareness. You can create content around these two services, add them to your site and social media pages, as well as on your Google My Business Listing.
You can also take advantage of keywords that are related to your business or brand and that incorporate ‘near me’, for example, ‘restaurants near me’.
3. People’s search behavior is changing fast
We are beginning to see quite interesting behavior during this pandemic period. More people than ever are spending time indoors. Google Trends has created a Coronavirus hub which breaks down search trends based on COVID-19.
The hub shows that people’s priorities are leaning towards survival. For example, top searches in the United States include how to pay bills during an emergency, tips to curb Corona at the workplace, and access to services like banking and post office.
What does this mean for brands and SEO? That it is important to ensure that your content leans towards the current intent that we can see rising - survival. For example, if you are in the insurance industry, you need to create content around whether your policy covers Coronavirus related complications or whether employees on ‘compulsory leave’ still have access to their policies.
Another interesting trend is the decrease in mobile traffic. Wordstream has reported a decline in mobile Google ad traffic over the last few weeks, to the tunes of 24% when compared to the ad traffic in February’s last week. Desktop ad traffic seems to have a lower decline (17%).
While this may be data from only one site, and from ad traffic, it points to a decrease in mobile traffic overall. This may be as a result of people no longer need to do things ‘on the go’ as they are now at home. What this means for your SEO is that you need to ensure that your desktop site is well optimized.
4. There are new opportunities to explore
You need to check your site’s data on Google Analytics and Search Console. You may be surprised to find new audiences that you may never have anticipated. If this is the case, then you need to start engaging with them, for example via creating new content to reach and engage with them or creating a new community.
5. You still need leads and revenue
If you sell any products or services through your site, you still need revenue. Even if you may already have an existing customer base, you need to keep connecting and engaging with them.
Ensuring that your SEO is on point gives you a chance to do so. You may even sign up new customers, even if you are in an industry that is affected the most by the pandemic, especially if you explore creative options like drive-thrus or food deliveries for restaurants.
6. It will help you to prepare for a rebound
A boost to your SEO, whether that’s ensuring that your site uses meta descriptions, creating content that meets search intent, or link building could be a great way for you to prepare for a rebound once we sail through COVID-19.
As a webmaster or even entrepreneur, you may not have had time to scrutinize your SEO and marketing in general. If you have some extra time, it is now time to analyze your marketing strategy, SEO and content.
You can talk to your marketing department, agency or an SEO expert. Better still, you could take up a free marketing course and get to understand SEO better. A lot of major companies are offering their courses for free or for highly discounted prices.
We are only a few weeks into the pandemic. There is a lot of uncertainty, and we do not know for sure, how long the pandemic will be or when a vaccine will be found. The global economy will take a hit, and we also do not know for sure how long it will take for things to return back to normal.
You are better off keeping your best SEO foot forward, as we just don’t know how long this will last.
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