The COVID-19 crisis has affected consumer behavior and intent significantly. There's a dramatic difference in budgets, media consumption, search action, and consumer flexibility in terms of movement. With all these changes happening, businesses must change their marketing campaigns and rethink their current SEO campaign strategies to avert risks.
Due to coronavirus news, a recent survey reported that 1 in 3 had changed their shopping habits due to coronavirus news and how impactful it has been compared to previous pandemics. It almost all states, it’s being recommended to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas. With this news, it's no wonder why 47.2% of consumers who use the internet are avoiding malls and shopping centers during the COVID-19 crisis.
And guess what? If consumers are avoiding these in-person shopping venues, where do you think their spending their money? Yep, online. Organic search is seeing a massive increase with Health.com increasing almost 80% in organic visibility.
In addition, during this uncertainty, businesses are hesitant about spending with some even shutting their doors due to dropping revenues. Business spend on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is already seeing a major reduction and Google search ads lost roughly 7% of their impressions over the last few months
This combination and major shift have opened up a huge opportunity for SEO and if you don't have a plan in place, you'll miss out – big time.
The world is coming to terms with a worldwide pandemic and it's forcing people to spend more time at home and online. Which makes it even more important for your business to be visible and one of the first things consumers see when they go search online.
If businesses invest in SEO now, during a recession or economic downturn, it's a smart move that'll reap you significant benefits in the future. One of the biggest perks of SEO is its cost-effectiveness compared to other marketing methods like PPC, traditional media, or working with influencers.
Here are five tips that'll help you build a solid SEO strategy during COVID.
1. Use content strategy to build trust
A report released by Forrester this past month measured the effect of COVID-19 on consumer attitudes. The report established that consumers currently aren't confident that businesses and individuals, in general, will deliver on the commitment they give. It's also to know that consumers are mixed on how to handle the virus. This means they are very critical of what they are reading and it's important that content can be trusted and be free from any sensitivity items that may push consumers away.
A study by Conductor stated that consumers are almost 50% more likely to buy from a brand that publishes educational content. During a crisis such as the current coronavirus pandemic, a brand must first think about their customers and their needs by putting themselves in the consumer's shoes.
2. Manage your web presence
Google is always revising its guidelines and with COVID-19, those guidelines got a little tighter. They now include aspects like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Search engine users are more likely to end up on your site if you build trust among your audience. Your information should never be dated or incorrect.
Here are some helpful ways you can manage your reputation online during the pandemic.
Keep an updated schema
Your schema is what makes sure that Google understands and displays exactly what your business is about. If you sell specific products or services, your customers should know about the availability. This is the schema for your service description and availability. You can have different schemas for different services.
Google my business
If you're a local business, your Google My Business (GMB) page is critical and should always be synced with the exact data that is on other local directories like yellow pages, yelp, etc. Information on BMB pages that are not in line with other directories could cause a loss in rankings and SEO.
Be on the lookout for Google search console
It's essential you know about the highs and lows of your website traffic. This will enable you to figure out what kind of information your customers value more so that you can design appropriate responses.
3. Audit your campaigns
Your content strategy during COVID-19 will be a little different than before it reared it's ugly head. Once you have your relevant content strategy laid out in the pipeline, you'll need to audit the campaigns you plan to implement. During the audit, you'll want to ensure that your campaigns are sensitive to your audience and their needs.
Your content strategy and auditing are vitally important as one piece of content that isn't vetted could result in long term social damage against you or your company.
4. Advance your security
As mentioned before, your customers must trust you and your brand. Unfortunately, during the coronavirus pandemic, hackers will find loopholes to prey on consumers. According to Orlando Tech, a popular loophole was being used to promote discount codes related to the coronavirus. Consumers following these rabbit holes enticed them to download malicious software. For instance, there was a MacBook Air special corona offer for $390. This scam was used for malicious intent to get confidential information from buyers.
Malicious activity is on the rise as cybercriminals increase their workload in order to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. Security for your website should, therefore, be a major priority. Here's what you can do to vamp your site's security.
Monitor log files for crawl errors.
SEO professionals are familiar with log file analysis. These help you to find out how and if search engine crawlers can access your site.
A single sign-on (SSO) allows the users of your website to use designated logins to access different applications. This will make it easier for your IT team to identify potential attacks.
Secure your site with SSL.
In 2014, HTTPS became one of Google's ranking signals. This helps website and business owners to ensure their sites were safe for visitors.
Update plugins or apps you use.
If you have old plugins, you're more open to attacks from hackers. Ensure that you update all the plugins you use regularly.
5. Use backlink outreach
Businesses are staring at the headlights not knowing what exactly to do right now. This should provide great opportunities for outreach in order to build quality links back to your site. Take advantage of this pause and put together an outreach campaign to target websites in your niche. This is an easy win during COVID-19.
COVID-19 isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. So it's a great time to build a solid SEO plan that will have you positioned great in the future. Take the lessons here that many businesses won’t. COVID-19 is shaking up the way businesses operate and if you're looking to stay ahead of the game and play for the long run, follow these steps to ensure long term success. Soon, the world will be back to where it was before coronavirus and you want to make sure you're leading the way.