The coronavirus crisis has changed the way businesses work around the world. In lieu of office and fieldwork, we have resorted to working from home and going digital.
Since March 2020, social distancing measures have prevented us from leading normal lives, interacting in person with friends and colleagues, as well as traveling for work or leisure. And with the number of worldwide cases almost touching 35 million, we don’t see the situation changing any time soon.
While all business sectors have been impacted due to COVID-19, the digital marketing space has had to face new unforeseen challenges. Although all work was put on hold for the first couple of months, now we are focused on resuming operations as recovery rates have urged up globally. However, this entire ordeal has changed the picture of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in many ways.
More and more people are staying at home. Many have lost jobs and are searching for new opportunities, and almost all have more time to spend online. This spike in demand has led to many websites scrambling to provide quality service to visitors. Here’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agencies have swooped in with new strategies to deal with the new normal.
Major SEO-Related Changes due to the COVID-19 Crisis
Coronavirus has not only changed our physical behaviour but also modified our online behaviour. Here’s how.
Changes in people’s online behaviour
Online activities, search topics, and preferences have changed after the pandemic hit the world. Worldata Research states that internet traffic has gone up by 24 percent, and inbox activity has also increased.
“People want your emails. They are looking for value, escapism, the ability to be productive.”
In keeping up with the increased online activity, businesses have had to incorporate new strategies to drive up customer interaction. It is also a good idea to add COVID-related information on your website to increase awareness among your site visitors. Another key factor is to monitor user behaviour and make historical reporting, to factor in the pandemic.
Impact on Client’s Businesses
With nationwide lockdowns being enforced in many parts of the world, clients’ businesses have been majorly affected. Initially, all non-essential businesses have had to close down or go completely digital. Transforming a working office setup into a virtual workspace requires smart planning and implementation.
Professional SEO Services companies have had to analyse the risk factors and plan SEO strategies accordingly to sustain steady traffic. To understand current trends, agencies need to analyse bulk data from Google Ads, Google Trends, and the like, to get an idea about the priorities of the audience. Since this situation is extremely new and unresearched, constant re-evaluation needs to be carried out to keep track of behaviour changes.
Changes in Website Development & Technical SEO
Technical SEO has also been impacted due to the current crisis as it is dependent on implementation. Hence, we need to check the businesses’ bandwidth before planning it out. If a business has been affected in a way that hampers its short-term goals and regular services, technical SEO will need to reflect that.
The goal should be maintaining the site health and carrying out regular updates. Your users should have a consistent experience while navigating your site, without crashes or interruptions. If your maintenance and developmental activities suffer due to the unavailability of resources, technical SEO initiatives have to be planned around the shortages.
How SEO Agencies Have Adapted to Deal with the New Normal
SEO agencies have adopted various measures to accommodate changes in market and user behaviour.
Studying Search Behaviour of Users
Studying the search behaviour of users gives a specific idea about how to formulate SEO strategies to evolve with the changing times. This is what SEO agencies have focused on. Since March, the increasing search volumes and shifting user interests have led to changes in trends in almost all industries.
In this scenario, the things to look out for are:
– Checking Google Trends and research trending topics
– Keeping track of the keywords used by competitors and modifying your campaigns accordingly
– Monitoring user behaviour and fixing the bugs they are encountering regularly
– Giving insights on future prospects, like information on how to reopen schools, safety measures while returning to the office, etc.
– Adding certain long-term concerns and prospects to your content, like the impact on the world economy
– Incorporating a section on your website to track coronavirus-related information
Understanding SEO’s Role in Digital Transformation
SEO has an important role to play in both short-term and long-term digital transformation. Presently, it is tough to predict how long COVID-19 will continue hampering the economy. Hence, it is advisable to plan activities in a way that deals with immediate challenges, along with keeping long-term effects in mind.
For SEO, it is more difficult to change strategies frequently, compared to paid campaigns. It will also be more challenging to generate organic search traffic. So, there is a need to evaluate organic and paid campaigns to balance the marketing strategy in the new normal.
Future-proofing Business for the Long Run
While the immediate needs of your business need to be addressed first, the focus should also be on entering a steady phase of operations. After a complete shift to the digital space, many customers may not want to move back to physical interactions. Here, the target of SEO agencies is to successfully digitize the whole business and build an online presence for the company.
Even medical services have moved to teleconferencing and virtual consultations. In this scenario, completely omitting the virtual option in the future will harm your business. Make sure your website is enabled to handle basic operations digitally in the long run. Also, mention your new COVID schema on the website for transparency and better engagement.
Maintaining Site Health & Including COVID-related Content
As mentioned earlier, maintaining your site health is of topmost priority in digitalization. Even if your marketing campaigns are highly successful, a malfunctioning site will reduce viewers and create a bad reputation. Hence, SEO agencies have opted to recognize bugs, keep a maintenance team ready, update software regularly, and make the site more engaging.
Apart from this, it is a good idea to include references to coronavirus in your content. Many websites have created a separate page to display news and measures that may be relevant to users. This assures your audience that you have their best interests in mind during these tough times.
Displaying Socially-aware Marketing Strategies
Your business should not be tone-deaf to the problems of your customers. Keeping in mind the health and economic risks involved, agencies have tweaked their marketing strategies to focus on essential products. It is important to realize that people may not spend money buying non-essential things and market your offerings to reflect the need of the hour.
For example, if you are selling online courses, you might consider focusing on how these skills will help in earning a living by working from home.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to several unforeseen challenges for both online and offline businesses. If you are unsure how to adapt to these changes, consider following these leads or consulting an SEO expert.