COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has transformed the way we work and live in a matter of weeks. With 2.6 billion people – a third of the global population – on partial or complete lockdown in China, France, New Zealand, the UK, South Africa and Australia (amongst others), we’re all adapting to a new normal.
Daily routines like shopping, working, and going to school have been replaced by new behaviours and routines that are impacting every facet of our lives, including the economy, cultural issues and socialising – and search is no exception. Our SEO team has put together a quick guide to how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting search, and how to re-prioritise your search digital marketing strategy.
Traffic is Reduced
Google Search Console data is showing drops in actual web traffic anywhere between 4-15%, depending on your industry. The nature of the web traffic has also been transformed by the pandemic. For example, the hospitality industry has seen increased in traffic from clients who already have reservations they are unable to fulfil, restaurants are receiving queries about whether they are open and if they can do deliveries, and delivery services have seen increases in traffic queries about whether they are operational and safe to use.
So, traffic is not only reduced, it is also focussed on very specific queries – are you open, how can you help me, and health/safety.
Some Industries Getting a Significant Boost
As the pandemic has forced us all to adjust to a different way of life, so demand from consumers has moved – giving some businesses an impressive boost. This includes career websites, companies providing home office equipment, financial advisers, food and alcohol delivery, home entertainment, and household essentials (pharmacies, groceries, toiletries, cleaning products, wellness products, etc.)
While it is important to adjust your digital marketing strategy to meet the changing demands of the market, it is also important not to profiteer off this transition. For your digital marketing and SEO strategy to succeed, it is important to take the role of the helper during this healthcare crisis, not the sales-driven approach.
PPC Spending is Down – But Organic CTR is Getting a Boost
The pandemic has essentially made all short-term digital marketing strategies and campaigns largely irrelevant and, as businesses close their doors on a temporary basis or limit their services, PPC spending has understandably fallen. This is especially true for industries heavily affected by the restrictions, such as travel businesses and hotels. At this time, many businesses are choosing to reduce their PPC spend as conversion rates drop in order to focus on just their core services or operational capabilities during the crisis.
The bright side is that this has had the effect of boosting organic search in the SERP, which can mean an improved click-through rate, especially for businesses that have a wider reach and don’t just target local pack in their SEO strategy.
What to Prioritise in Your SEO Strategy?
While the pandemic is upon us, it’s important to shift your digital marketing strategy from the long-term to more short-term, tactical goals. Some elements to prioritise in your SEO strategy include:
- Add COVID-19 updates to your website and content – Google Search Console offers a tool to include up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus on your website, helping to support efforts to contain the pandemic and raise awareness to keep your clients safe.
- What your clients want – Analyse your website and engagement with customers to detect shifts in demand. On Google Search Console, you can see this information as top queries in Search Analytics as well as top traffic trends in Site Analytics. Once you know what your customers are asking about your brand and are looking for on your website, you can tailor your content to assist them.
- Provide answers – Create a FAQ answering top questions you are getting from clients and customers relating to your operations through the pandemic. Share this on your home page, social media channels and through email newsletters. Use Google’s Special Announcement Schema to make everyday updates to your clients.
- Make special offers – It’s essential that your business holds on to loyal clients and is able to support employees and suppliers through this crisis. One way to do this is to offer free trials, discounted specials and discounted vouchers for future use. Other companies donate to reputable causes assisting through the pandemic for every sale. If you are operating, you can offer free or discounted shipping, show how you are supporting your employees, suppliers and community, and make donations to organisations providing relief or healthcare supplies.
Expert Digital Marketing Assistance and Guidance to Steer Your Business Through the Pandemic
Our digital marketing agency is doing all we can to assist clients and local businesses through the challenges of the novel coronavirus pandemic, helping them to stay connected with customers and share new opportunities to provide their products and services safely to the community. If you would like professional guidance to develop an SEO strategy or digital marketing strategy through this challenging time, please contact us today and speak to our friendly search team. Stay safe and stay well!