Coronavirus (COVID-19) has interrupted nearly all aspects of life. People need to make substantial changes to their everyday lives in order to adjust to the “new normal”, while organizations must prop for the negative economic effect that will result from people changing their habits for the predictable future.
For businesses to stand out through this time of uncertainty, it is the right time to re-visiting their 2020 SEO techniques and roadmaps to realize the role of SEO in this rapidly transforming environment. This post outlines SEO considerations as part of your company’s larger response to COVID-19 and how businesses can adapt areas of their SEO strategies to plan effectively against COVID-19’s impact.
Is Your Business “Essential” or “Non-Essential”?
As businesses are closing physical locations all over the world, they need to be conscious of the guidance on what businesses are deemed “essential” and should be open to patrons during a crisis such as Covid-19. What is deemed “non-essential” should be shut to boost social distancing in order to “smoothen the curve”. Companies should follow such directions and immediately make sure that they actively communicate obtainability through messaging on their Google My Business profiles.
Adapting to Instant & Significant Shifts in Search Behaviors
In response to direction on what businesses are considered “essential” and “non-essential”, customer and search behaviour will adjust consequently. Businesses, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, will possibly see a large inflow of search interest for their brand names, as well as their presented products/services, during this time. On the other hand, most brand names, products, and services considered “non-essential” may considerably drop off in search interest as consumers quickly shift primacies during this period. Brands should judiciously monitor organic search sessions and conversion rates for the imaginable future and should plan to update estimating, as well as historical reporting, to factor in the impact of COVID-19.
Carefully monitor Google Trends, Google Search Console, and other keyword tools to comprehend shifts in search interest and behaviour around related keywords/topics for your brand and industry at this time.
Monitor website performance to understand how users are adapting during this time and update projecting and reporting to factor in the impact of COVID-19.
Understanding SEO’s Role in Marketing during Times of Rapid Change
Substantial changes in economic behaviours will result in businesses being watchful of their overall performance and budgets for the next few months. While it is presently tough for businesses to forecast how long COVID-19 will result in substantial economic impact, they should be conscious of how SEO fits into short-term and long-term marketing policies to understand how they can efficiently plan for SEO during this period. Unlike several paid channels, SEO often cannot instantly shift short term primacies within an organic search. Given the present level of economic ambiguity for many companies and industries, the long-term behaviour of SEO should be considered when assessing both paid and organic marketing significances over the next few months.
Estimate paid and organic coverage for the next few months to understand how both can be well-adjusted as part of an overall marketing plan in response to COVID-19’s impact on your business.
Prioritize Top/Mid-Funnel Content Initiatives as Consumer Spending Changes
In terms of economic uncertainty, consumers are less likely to spend on products/services that are not deemed essential. With that in mind, businesses should expect that their typical consumer’s behaviour will shift over the next few months and investment in top/mid-funnel content can pay off in both the short term and long term. As consumers shift away from actively spending on products/services in the short-term, businesses should best prepare themselves through investment in top/mid-funnel content that helps users that will be shifting back to the awareness and consideration stages of their buyer journey. To influence conversions in the future, focus short-term SEO efforts on developing useful, informative content that can reinforce expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) signals to search engines and customers.
With consumer behaviour likely to shift from actively converting over the short term, capture traffic with top-mid funnel content that can benefit future consumer behaviour with information for your business’ product or service.
Develop SEO-informed guides and other informative content around your products and services to build up E-A-T signals.