Adapting Your SEO Strategy for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions in economic activity, tapering growth prospects around the world. As some institutions close and consumer behavior...

Fiona Gurtiza
Fiona Gurtiza April 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions in economic activity, tapering growth prospects around the world. As some institutions close and consumer behavior changes with each passing day, businesses have been forced to adapt to the rapidly shifting economic landscape.

But getting a clear picture of how the market is changing in real-time can be rather difficult to pin down. There are numerous headlines about the state of business today, but it doesn’t really tell you about how your business can stay afloat in the current pandemic. 

At the end of the day, there’s a burning question that seems to be left sorely unaddressed: What now?

At Growth Rocket, we’ve asked ourselves the same question. And even though it may seem too soon to make predictions about what the future holds, we’ve established some useful benchmarks to help measure your business against.

We hope that it can help you create short- and long-term adjustments to your SEO strategy so you can continue to thrive in spite of the current climate.

Identifying Shifts in Consumer Behavior 

Countries around the world have been forced to implement strict lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. A study conducted by Coresight Research in February reveals that of the participants, 47.2% shared that they were currently avoiding shopping centers and malls. If the outbreak gets worse, 74.6% of the participants said they would avoid shopping centers altogether.

But even though customers are spending more time at home, data from Hubspot shows that buyers are interacting with businesses even more than before the pandemic. As a result, it has led to three notable shifts in consumer buying behavior:

otable shifts in consumer buying behavior

Check out Google Search Trends for more insights on what people are searching these days.

Business closures and stay-at-home orders have prompted consumers to move their transactions online. But more importantly, it shows us that customers are still looking to engage with brands.

So how can you refine your SEO strategy to maintain relevance and address audience needs?

Building on Sales Outreach & Engagement

A great place to start would be to move your content efforts toward crafting educational content that establishes trust for your brand.

If the current changes in buying behavior teach us anything, it’s that your website is an important source of info right now.

Customers are doing more research online, and they’re also initiating more interactions with businesses. That provides the opportunity for you to improve outreach and connect with your audience.

A great place to start would be to move your content efforts toward crafting educational content that establishes trust for your brand.

SEO: The Road to Post-Pandemic Success

Some of you may ask what possible difference could it make to focus on SEO now than before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Refining your SEO strategy is a direct and cost-effective way to maintain your business during economic downtimes. After all, it requires a lower investment, and doesn’t call for the same hands-on management needed for traditional paid media campaigns. This makes it a more sustainable approach to business recovery in the long run.

The benefits that SEO provides are even more relevant in spite of the demand fluctuation and volatility we’re experiencing today.

SEO Provides Long-Term Traffic Equity

Earned search rankings can provide your website with greater traffic over the long term. Even the content you create and publish now can be re-optimized to reflect the current conditions and drive greater traffic to your website.

Optimizing for SEO Enhances UX

Applying the best SEO practices can help organize your website to streamline UX. Consider evaluating your site from a UX perspective and doubling down on how you can push visitors further down the conversion funnel. 

Relevance Translates to Higher Rankings

If you want to achieve your SEO goals, you’ll need to keep your brand relevant and provide your readers with useful, up-to-date info. Crafting content that provides value can launch you to the top of the search engine results. That gives you the opportunity to appear in front of SERPs for search terms related to your business.

SEO Expands Your Local & Global Reach

As explained in the previous point, a well-oiled SEO strategy positions your brand to appear in response to relevant search queries. As more buyers search for products and services online, you can take advantage of SEO to expand your local and global reach.

Search Data Offers Relevant Customer Insights

Search data puts you right into the shoes of your target audience. Without SEO, you’ll fail to obtain relevant insights about your customers. But apart from telling you what your customers need, search data also tells you why your customers need it. This can help you get a clearer picture of their motivations and pain points, for instance. 

As the world struggles to maintain social distancing, e-commerce and curbside delivery and pick-up have become the new normal.

Crafting a COVID-Proof SEO Strategy

As the world struggles to maintain social distancing, e-commerce and curbside delivery and pick-up have become the new normal.

Consumers are spending more time online as they evaluate their buying options, adapt to working from home, and read up about COVID-19 restrictions. 

As a result, there is no better time than now to evaluate your search and content creation strategies. The trick to optimizing your business for SEO lies in providing guidance with the info you’re putting out and staying connected with your target audience.

So where do you start?

Prioritize Education Over Promotion

Despite the current lockdown, there has been a notable increase in website traffic, customer-initiated conversations, and email marketing open rates. This suggests that your audience is interested in learning new things about your brand.

So instead of dialing up on promotions, consider nurturing your relationship with customers in the long term by turning your website into a reliable source of info. The best way to start is by planning what type of educational content you’ll put out and keeping your blog up-to-date.

Refresh Your Sales Pipeline

Maybe your company has a strong sales process and you haven’t been hit hard by the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This doesn’t mean that it won’t affect your profit and loss statement a few months down the line.

If you want to bolster your long-term pipeline, you’ll need to rethink what prospecting looks like. This means keeping tabs on your sales projections to reflect potential cycles or forecasts. This can help you get a clearer picture of your business over time.

Create a Dedicated COVID-19 Page

If you’re a restaurant, for example, you may want to shed light on the precautions your team is taking to ensure food safety.

No industry has been left untouched by COVID-19. That’s why it’s important to have a page or section of your website that covers the coronavirus. 

Rather than update visitors about the current ongoings for COVID-19, focus on what your business is doing to combat the pandemic and how it’s contributing to COVID-19 prevention. For instance, you might want to explain how a portion of your sales is going to relief efforts.

More importantly, creating coronavirus-specific content can help instill trust in your brand.

If you’re a restaurant, for example, you may want to shed light on the precautions your team is taking to ensure food safety.

Use Chatbots

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unexpected boom in conversational marketing. This feedback-oriented approach to marketing is the easiest way to drive engagement, develop customer loyalty, and boost revenue. After all, conversational marketing aims to build trust through meaningful conversations.

Over the last two months, chat volume has gone off the charts. Chatbots are one way for you to engage in meaningful dialogue with your customers. 

Investing in chatbots lets you address customer queries in real time. It also automates lead routing processes so you can continue serving clients even when you’re out of the office.

Stay in the Know

The trick to capturing traffic for new search demand lies in finding new and emerging topics to write about. 

One of the first places you can search for content ideas is Google Trends. Right from the home page, you’ll see what people are searching for by region and what topics are currently trending. You might also want to check Exploding Topics. The platform gathers data across search engines to identify emerging topics and lists them into an easy-to-digest format.

Proactively Manage Your Web Presence

In August 2018, Google updated its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines by including Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The change prompted marketers to rethink their approach in crafting quality content.

Two years later and these three factors still remain important—even more so in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, outdated or inaccurate info could confuse or hurt your customers. 

Here are a few tips that can help you manage your online reputation:

tips that can help you manage your online reputation

Double Down on Security

Establishing trust is the key to customer retention. Hackers are taking advantage of the current situation, however, by using malicious software to lull customers into a false sense of security. 

One way they do this is by promoting COVID-related discounts and promo codes or conducting phishing attacks. Online scammers may post “corona special offer” ads to pull sensitive info from buyers, for instance.

Stay on top of your website’s security by conducting regular log file analysis, implementing SSO, and upgrading the plug-ins you use. By securing your digital assets, you can safeguard your online reputation. 

Optimize Your Business for SEO Today

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced business owners to stay indoors and practice social distancing. But from a marketing and business perspective, it’s still possible to make a change.

With more time on your hands, you can put forth the effort to grow your business and show off the best side of your brand. With a solid SEO strategy in place, you can win the hearts and minds of your target audience until the pandemic blows over.

Optimize your SEO strategy and partner with Growth Rocket. Get in touch with us today.