The value of search has been highlighted in 2020, providing easy, instant access to information, products and services throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first half of 2020 saw consumers and brands leveraging the power of SEO to overcome daily challenges, stay safe, and keep businesses operating in tough conditions.
Search engine optimisation strategies had to pivot dramatically as consumers changed their behaviour almost overnight and businesses raced against the competition to meet these new needs, find new ways of accomplishing entirely new goals and objectives. The way we used search reveals a detailed map of what society was going through that shows in detail how our lives and businesses transformed. So, as we all learn to survive and thrive in this challenging new normal, what should we expect from SEO and search strategies in the second half of 2020?
Providing New Answers to New Questions
No matter how well-researched your SEO plan was in January 2020, the pandemic made all that research irrelevant. And that’s not a slight on the quality of your plan – it simply shows the dramatic change in consumer needs. For a search optimisation plan to work, specialists match consumer behaviour (the questions they’re putting into Google and the keywords they’re using) with your relevant products and services.
In 2020, both of those elements changed dramatically – not only were people looking for very different products and services (for example, surges in all kinds of DIY products, home office products, meal services, etc.), but businesses suddenly found themselves restricted in what they could sell. With this shift, SEO in the second half of the year will focus on providing new answers to new questions, building a strong search base for businesses expanding into different products and services to meet the changing needs of consumers. They’re online asking questions – your business needs to be there providing answers.
Here, Google Trends has become an invaluable resource for search optimisation strategies, helping businesses discover where their customer base is and what they are now looking for. Rising Retail Categories is another useful resource from Google, giving week-to-week and month-to-month data on growing retail sectors. Once your SEO strategy has been realigned, you can also use Keyword Planner or Answer the Public to help research relevant keywords.
Local Search is More Crucial Than Ever
Local search was an important SEO factor before COVID-19, but the pandemic has created an environment where people are more reliant on local businesses, and where there has been an upswell in support to keep local businesses open like the #supportsmallbusiness movement. While Australia has felt relatively mild effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, recent events in Melbourne have shown that it’s not over yet – and it’s important to accept that restrictions may return nationally. Consumers also feel more hesitant about returning back to regular life, and this is where local SEO really pays off.
Local SEO allows businesses to capitalise on “open now” and “near me” searches as well as searches that focus on local area names. These types of searches have been on the increase since the second quarter of 2020, and have not showed signs of slowing down even as restrictions are lowered. You can use Google Trends to see how local searches are performing in your area and industry using keywords related to your products and services.
Building Trust in Your Community
SEO content is ultimately about turning people browsing the Internet into loyal customers. While keyword research often seems tactical and cold, it’s important not to forget that it’s simply about making your brand and services as visible as possible by putting out relevant, original content that assists consumers.
2020 has highlighted a lot of things, including the fact that people are looking for someone they can trust – a sense of security and consistency in an uncertain world. Through the second half of the year, it is critical that business use their SEO strategy and content to work for that trust, providing professional, quality interactions with customers that build a relationship they can rely on.
And it works too – according to research by HubSpot, sending out 16 blogs or pieces of content per month gives businesses access to 4.5x more leads than those who post four blogs or less.Studies by Conductor also show that brands that deliver informative, educational content are seen as more trustworthy than those that don’t. People are looking for information – make sure your brand is supplying it.
Prepare for Success with the Right SEO Strategy
In the second half of 2020, it is key for businesses to start preparing for post-COVID success. While keeping an eye on the effects of the pandemic, businesses can work to make their search optimisation and content strategies more agile, allowing you to keep evolving as the environment changes, and ensuring you can move quickly when new opportunities arise.
For expert assistance on positioning your brand, building trust with your target market, and protecting your reputation, speak to our talented digital marketing and search strategy team. With extensive experience assisting small, medium and large size businesses and helping them navigate a path to success through the pandemic and turmoil of 2020 with digital marketing, we have the resources and skill to set your business on the right track. Contact us today for expert search engine optimisation strategies.