The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on consumer mobility, search behavior, and supply chains. Search has always been a vital indicator of customer behavior and intent. With the coronavirus crisis, however, it has taken on a whole new level of importance, with significant implications for Search Engine Optimization.
In a recent study, 33% of consumers reported that the news of the coronavirus pandemic has already altered their shopping preferences. In the United States, nearly 50% of internet users said that they avoided malls and shopping centers. Marketing channels, such as pay per click, have already seen a decline. Google search ads, for instance, lost about 7 % of its impressions in the period between January and March 2020. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, has seen a dramatic rise in popularity, with the companies that employ the strategy reporting a sharp increase in organic search visibility.
These changes present a viable opportunity for SEO strategists and content marketing professionals. They can capitalize on the power of search engine optimization by developing content that drives conversions now and promotes their brands long term. Marketing strategists have already made changes in their approach, and are now investing more in SEO. In fact, on Google trends, “SEO” and other naturally related terms are drawing increasing interest from internet users.
Due to the restrictions precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, more people are using the internet to find information than ever before. While this situation is quite unfortunate, it comes with a silver lining – the opportunity for you to keep your brand on top of searchers’ minds when they are making purchasing decisions.
SEO is a particularly vital investment during periods of economic turmoil. This is mostly because it is cost-effective and requires a minimal initial investment. Also, it doesn’t stop working when you can’t make the subscription for a particular service. It is a strategy that keeps on bringing results long after the initial investment.
How to improve your SEO strategy
Studies that have assessed the effect of COVID 19 on consumer sentiment suggest that consumers are less hopeful that people and brands will keep the promises they make.” so, how does this affect social media strategy. It is vital to counter consumers’ feelings of skepticism, loneliness, and powerlessness with integrity and competency. Sales pitches are essential, but you may want to avoid them for now and focus more on a message of hope and comfort.
Brands that offer helpful, informative content are trusted more than the brands that do not. In times of crisis, educational, early-stage content reinforces brand loyalty, conversions, and trust. With so much uncertainty, consumers are actively looking for information. They want useful, relevant solutions to their questions from trustworthy brands. The companies that create content that addresses these questions stand to make significant gains. Customers need to be earned, not coerced. And the only way to do that is to build trust through content that offers relevant, actionable knowledge.
Manage your web presence
Google recently updated their SEO guidelines to include E.A.T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). The key focus here is trustworthiness. Again, the more trust you create with your content, the higher the chances that users will want to read it. That is why managing your online presence is so vital during this period. Inaccurate or outdated information can confuse or negatively affect consumers’ lives.
- Update your structured data (schema). This is to ensure that Google shows accurate information about your company. If you run an e-commerce platform, you can help customers by updating product availability to give them real-time information about what’s in stock. You can also utilize status schema to inform customers on exclusive announcements and event changes.
- Update your Google my business details. Let customers know about changes to your business’s operations such as changes in working hours by updating the details on your “Google my business” page.
- Review your Google search console account. Website traffic, especially when it’s coming from organic search, is a remarkably accurate indicator of where the demand for your services and products lies. Rapid increases or declines in traffic will help you identify which kind of information your audience wants.
- Monitor your social media mentions and search demand. You can monitor popular topics related to your industry and use search data to evaluate audiences and their search intent. Social data will enable you to assess content tone, audience sentiment, and audience demographics.
Update your content calendar and campaigns
If you have a long-term content schedule in place, now is the best time to edit your upcoming campaigns for the other quarters of the year. You don’t want your content and advertising campaigns to appear insensitive to the crises that your customers have gone through. You should show compassion and empathy. During this time, your SEO strategies should extend beyond the technical and embrace customer sentiment.
As previously mentioned, trust is imperative for success in periods as turbulent as these. Unfortunately, hackers have taken advantage of the current health crisis to spread malware through coronavirus specials and discount codes. Cybercriminals are also masquerading as trusted brands to spread phishing scams. Here are a few ways to improve your website’s security.
- Check your log files for crawling errors. If you’re familiar with SEO, then you already know log file analysis helps improve your website. The analysis has the added benefit of revealing whether spam bots are trying to get into your site.
- Implement SSO. Single sign-on, also known as SSO, allows users to enter different applications using a unique set of login credentials. The strategy is more secure than having separate credentials for several related applications.
- Secure your website with SSL. In 2014, Google announced it would consider HTTPS as a rank factor to encourage site administrators to improve site security for internet users. Implementing https protects vital customer data, such as browsing history and credit card numbers.
Search engine optimization has always been a critical part of effective digital marketing, and in light of recent consumer trends, it has gained even more relevance. That said, it can be a daunting task, especially for the inexperienced. If you are not sure how to improve your current SEO strategy, there’s no need to worry. There are several digital marketing companies in Uganda that will help you conduct an SEO analysis of your website. The review will help you the most appropriate topics for your target audience, correct any technical issues, and improve your website for the best performance.