It is clear to see that COVID-19 has disrupted all aspects of life. People and businesses have had to make significant changes to adapt to this new situation. For businesses to best position themselves through this time of uncertainty, it is worth re-visiting their 2020 SEO strategies. Our guide outlines both short and long term SEO considerations as part of your business’s larger response to COVID-19. We want to help you adapt areas of your SEO strategies to plan effectively against COVID-19’s impact.
In this new situation, there are several things you must remember.
Don’t exploit the situation: Many businesses are trying to capitalize on fear and this is not a good strategy. People are buying and reselling necessities at unfair prices because they know people will have to buy. This is not marketing, this is exploiting the situation to make quick money. And it will not last. You are better off investing in a long-term approach to the COVID-19 situation.
Business will struggle for a while: Even as virus numbers go down, business will be slow to ramp up again to normal levels. Businesses that have had to close will need to make up for the money lost and this takes time. Shutting down stores and services to reduce the spread was a necessity, but financially it created a big hole. Companies are losing money as well as online traffic and conversions too.
Organic traffic is down for most businesses: Businesses from all industries have taken a hit. Financially and in terms of online activity. Studies show that organic traffic is down across most industries so it is important to remember that you are not alone.
Adapting to the New “Normal”
You need to be aware of how COVID-19 specifically impacts you. While all businesses are affected, the impact on you will be unique and what you need to focus on. The following areas are where you want to consider focusing in terms of adapting to the new normal.
Consider Having a Dedicated Coronavirus Page: If your business is considered essential or is significantly impacted by COVID-19, consider creating a dedicated page to capture all relevant traffic. You can effectively link to key areas of your website.
Develop More Video Content: People are expected to spend more time at home viewing YouTube and other streaming services, so consider developing more relevant video content to get in front of users. Leverage SEO insights to help inform video topics and be mindful of the top/mid-funnel topics that you can create videos on.
Ensure FAQ Content is Updated: Evaluate your customer service and FAQ pages to determine if specific language should be updated. You may also need to add new FAQs related to Coronavirus.
Factor in Isolation and Social Distancing in Messaging: When you are writing any content during this time, be mindful of the overall idea of social distancing. Consider some DIY topics around your product or service so that users can learn value during this isolating time.
Include Cleaning and Care Instructions for Products: If relevant, you should include cleaning and care instructions on the product detail page. This will capture search traffic as people actively search for ways to clean during this period.
Short Term Considerations
Is your business essential? As businesses are closing, they need to be aware of what is deemed essential and needing to stay open. What is deemed “non-essential” should be closed to encourage social distancing and to support efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19. Determine the essential nature of your business and immediately update your website with other digital assets to accurately indicate the status of your physical location. You also want to update how your business will be available for the foreseeable future.
You also need to adapt to immediate shifts in search behaviors. Consumer and search behavior has changed as certain businesses are deemed essential or non-essential. Businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, will likely see a large influx in search interest for their offered products/services. On the contrary , most brand names, products, and services deemed “non-essential” may significantly drop off with regards to search interest. Brands should closely monitor organic search sessions and conversion numbers for the foreseeable future and should plan to update forecasting, to factor in the impact of COVID-19.
You need to prioritize top-funnel content initiatives in light of consumer spending changes. Consumers are less likely to spend on anything that is not deemed to be essential. Businesses should expect that their customer’s behavior will change so investing in the top funnel content can pay off. In the short term prepare to invest in the top funnel content to help users shift back to the awareness stages of their buying journey. Develop SEO-informed guides and other informative content around your products and services to build up Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness signals.
Finally, you want to consider the role SEO plays in marketing during these changes. The significant changes in economic behaviors will result in businesses being mindful of their overall performance and budgets. Nobody can say for sure how long COVID-19 will result in significant economic impact so businesses should be aware of how SEO fits into short-term and long-term marketing strategies. This way you can plan more effectively during this time, regardless of how long it lasts. Given the current level of economic uncertainty for many businesses and industries, the long-term nature of SEO should be considered when evaluating both paid and organic marketing.
Long Term Considerations
Take the time now to start planning and executing your Q4 Initiatives. You should be actively planning for future initiatives to ensure that your business is best prepared when the economic outlook begins to improve. Consumer spending is limited now, but businesses should leverage the long-term nature of SEO to ensure that their brands are well optimized.
You can do the work now to have your business positioned well before periods of increased consumer spending once the pandemic has passed. Planning and executing your future SEO strategies now will ensure that your business can make up for potential short term losses.
You also need to plan large scale digital transformation to future proof your business. The impact of COVID-19 around the world is huge for individuals and businesses. Physical locations are closed, people are stuck indoors, supply chains are slowed. Another potential impact from COVID-19 will be the hastening of businesses evaluating the digital transformation of their products and services. The result is that meetings have moved to digital videos, movies are streaming on-demand, and customer contact is all virtual and digital.
Brands need to prepare and should see the impact of COVID-19 to be an opportunity to expedite their digital transformation. This is a great way to ensure long-term business health.
We are all hoping the COVID-19 pandemic will pass as it has had a significant impact on our way of life. Individuals and businesses have felt the impact and times have been tough. Things may not be normal right now, but they will return to normal in time. You want your business to be prepared and ready for this. Planning ahead for your long-term SEO as well as updating short-term strategies will keep your business going. Use this opportunity to keep your business alive and for the best in SEP strategies during times of COVID-19, we are here for you.