The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we work, the way we shop, and how we communicate online with each other and brands. One avenue that has seen a greater demand for many sectors is organic search, impacting the SEO strategies of many companies around the world.
Re-evaluating your SEO strategy will help your business grow as we emerge from the lockdown and improve your place in the search results for the keywords and key phrases that really matter to you in your quest to keep generating revenue a still very uncertain world.
The key question here though is what should you be doing right now in terms of SEO? While the answer varies for every business – and seeking the advice of a good SEO agency will help you formulate a successful SEO strategy for your unique business concern during COVID-19 – here are some basic tips to get you started.
Monitor Trends for Spikes in Searches
Overall, more people are searching online. Hardly a surprise as people have been spending more and more time not only just at home but away from their larger social circles.
However, there has been – and will likely continue to be – greater demand – and therefore more Google searches – for some products and services than historically there perhaps were.
Restaurants, retail, other in-person businesses with a heavy physical presence – all have been hit by the pandemic and SEO will play a pivotal part in their recovery going forwards.
Restaurants, for example, need to rethink how and where they want to appear in search. Whereas in the past they based their SEO efforts on attracting those people looking for in-person experiences, perhaps now offering delivery, or alternative dining like outdoor dining, will be more important and establishments will need to work out how they can make use of SEO to rank highly for those terms and searches.
Even if your business primarily operates online, then the chances are good that the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has brought with it to the way we live and work will have affected the keywords and key phrases people are using to search for offerings like yours.
As online searches are going up in volume in general, it’s worth investing in SEO to make the most of it. SEO has long been a vital channel for businesses to invest in – but now more than ever, it will be critical for the survival of many more.
Rethink Your Keywords and Keyphrases
SEO without effective keyword research is pretty pointless – but in an unprecedented time, there are new keywords to target (such as COVID, lockdown, coronavirus, corona, COVID-19 and other variants) so research your existing keywords/products/services along with any new terms where they may be affected.
As we touched on earlier, people may be searching for delivery options – not just from restaurants but also from shops in general and other providers. They will almost certainly be searching for safety-specific terms which may relate to what you offer—online courses, online training, online house viewings, and so on. You may need to tweak your existing pages, or create new ones, to reflect the new ways people interact online.
Create New Content
If you haven’t already made it a part of your overall marketing strategy, content marketing is a good channel to begin investing in a post COVID world.
By creating and adding content on your site that people want to read and are actively searching for, you can find new audiences, build your brands’ reputation, establish it as a source of expert information, attract new customers and help them with their needs. As well as add those keywords and key terms that are increasingly attracting search volume.
If you have already been creating content that’s a wonderful thing, but does your old content reflect a post-lockdown and new-normal society? Does it still remain relevant?
If not, think about how your audience mindset may have changed, and create content that may address these issues or answer questions about new problems or struggles they face.
Not sure what those questions might be? Research and the help of a few analytics tools is called for here if you don’t. One great one to try – and for basic searches, it’s free – is Answer the Public.
This tool shows you the most searched for queries for almost any keyword as well as a lot of other useful information and can, at the very least, provide excellent inspiration for content that your target audience is actively looking for right now.
Remember to Stay Classy
When optimising or rewriting your pages, remember not to make it appear that you are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation, or making any jokes which may be considered inappropriate or insensitive in this admittedly very sensitive time. What people once found amusing may not be right now, and as cancel culture is a very real thing, the wrong statements and content can do serious damage to your brand’s reputation.
While many marketers have used “fear” in their marketing – it’s a tactic that’s been taught to marketers for decades – now may not be the best time to do so. Creating negativity in your content or website copy won’t come across well during this time. Using a positive, comforting tone will be received much better.
Reconsider your Calls-to-Action
Staying on the subject of post-COVID appropriate content, what CTAs are you using on your key pages and landing pages? Do these need to be changed to suit the time we are living in?
The pressurised, negative tone of some CTAs are, on the whole, not appropriate right now. Remain positive, helpful and keep your audience interested and give them a reason to convert on your website via content – and offers – that reflect that.
Use Analytics to Monitor Customer Behavior
As we’ve covered throughout this piece, consumer behavior – including their search behavior – is rapidly evolving throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. As such, it’s important to remember that the way your customers are acting one month is not necessarily an indicator of how they will act the next month. Right now, adaptability is the name of the game.
To stay on your feet during these times, you’re going to need to employ strong analytical tools and monitor your content and SEO efforts with greater frequency – and more attention to detail – than you might have done before. Working with a great SEO agency can help with this admittedly tedious stuff, or you can try the DIY route using an SAAS offering SEMrush or Moz.
Check Your Google My Business Page
While you may not know it, Google made some big changes to their Google My Business offering over the last several months in response to COVID-19. Not only did they temporarily halt the ability to leave a customer review, but they also began listing, right in search, what responses businesses were reporting too. For example, businesses that offer delivery, have updated their hours etc.
GMB is an important SEO tool for all kinds of businesses, but especially for those with a strong local presence. However, it’s often been a ‘set it and forget it’ thing in the past, something that is optimised for SEO once and then largely forgotten.
However, consumers are increasingly looking online for up-to-date information about local businesses’ status, and their first stop is often the Google My Business Profile for the business.
Fortunately, GMB provides lots of excellent features – some of them new – that can be leveraged to communicate changes, special offers, updates and more to your customers. There are several sections in GMB that you can use, including:
- Temporarily Closed & Business Hours
- More Hours (New!)
- Contact Number
- Website Links
- Support Links (New!)
- Business Name
- Questions and Answers
- Google Posts
Make use of these features often, and keep your information up to date at all times. If you have never really bothered with your profile on Google My Business at all in the past, that’s something you need to change now.
Need extra help getting your SEO plans in post-pandemic shape? Contact the Pearl Lemon SEO experts here; we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help you ensure that your business makes the most of SEO not only survive but to thrive in this ‘new normal’.