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Coronavirus

What Coronavirus [COVID-19] Means for Your SEO

In the space of a few weeks, the world has been turned upside down by the Coronavirus. Businesses are closing, people are on lockdown in their homes. People are, understandably, concerned for the future.

As a business owner, you’re probably worried about how exactly you’re going to get through this and what the short and long term impact will be on your company.

We’ve put together a resource explaining why focusing on your marketing efforts is now more important than ever. And how SEO can help. Read on to learn more.

The current impact

Markets and economic growth are slowing. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently downgraded its 2020 growth predictions across the majority of global economies.

Online, we’re already seeing a decline in organic traffic for certain industries, with lower conversion rates.

That being said, in some industries, there has been a noticeable jump.

Consumer behaviour is changing. With brick and mortar stores, restaurants and social spaces closing, people are turning more towards the online marketplace. Many e-commerce businesses have reported spikes in traffic and leads. One of our clients saw their organic revenue skyrocket 71% in the last week alone compared to this time last month.

Businesses who once avoided marketing themselves online are rapidly realising the need to adapt to change and venture out further into the digital marketplace. Meaning certain industries are going to find themselves with increased online competition as companies innovate to come up with new ways to gain a competitive edge.

Why SEO is still important

Understandably, there has been some uncertainty, particularly from SMEs, about the future and marketing budgets are being scrutinised.

But, despite the uncertain future and current climate, SEO is still important for businesses. And here’s why…

Google hasn’t stopped…and neither should we

In fact, quite the opposite. Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that Google will continue to update its algorithms. Meaning companies need to stay on top of the latest updates to ensure their website isn’t negatively impacted by any sudden changes.
It’s an SEO’s primary job to stay current on the latest updates and ensure our client’s sites can ride the wave and thrive in the digital landscape.

People are still searching

Even in times of crisis, people are still turning to Google to get their questions answered.

Many people assume that users aren’t searching for products or services when times are uncertain or money gets tighter.

Actually, many of us are noticing the opposite effect.

When budgets are constricted, such as in times of economic downturn, it’s common to see lower conversion rates or average order values, yes. But when it comes to search, marketers often notice a spur in the number of searches.

That’s because people are more savvy. They’re budgeting carefully and shopping smarter. Instead of picking the first result they see, they’ll look around more, seeking out the best deals and discounts. They’re more cautious about purchasing, so they look for reassurance in reviews, case studies and testimonials.

Consumers haven’t stopped consuming. They just need more convincing.

Show them your deals, discounts and USP. Make reviews easy to find.

Even if they aren’t buying now, they’re still out there window shopping. Now is the time to gain brand exposure for later down the line when things start to pick up.

Consider this: if there is still search volume for your business keywords, then you still have potential customers. Good SEO delivers qualified traffic. And if you’re determined to make it through this season of trials, you’ll need to capture and capitalise on as much of it as you can.

Survival is about getting leads and making sales. SEO will help get you there.

Visit the DNRG

Resilience Resource Centre

on how busineses can cope with
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Pushing past the competition

Sadly, some companies are most likely not going to survive the economic impact of COVID-19. This means that competition will decrease. More and more people will be taking their foot off the accelerator, leaving others with the opportunity to push ahead and take up more space in the marketplace.

With less competition, you’ll find that it is much easier and quicker to get results, particularly in those areas that were previously so hard to crack.

SEO professionals can help you identify those areas and opportunities to outrank your competition, creating a clear path ahead for success.

Good news, SEO is flexible

The good news is that SEO is adaptable to change. Companies can adapt their SEO strategies to weather the storm in times of difficulty, rather than abandoning ship.

As other companies will inevitably begin to step back, spaces that were too crowded or competitive for your business in the past will start to open up. Strategies can be expanded to push further into these spaces, with long term gains to be had.

SEO doesn’t depend on circumstances to succeed. It is an ongoing strategy that delivers reliable growth. And with strategic planning in times such as this, you can still find rewards.

Show that you’re still there

For local companies, sticking with your SEO strategy and producing fresh content while staying visible in SERPs is a key sign to your customers that your company is alive and well.

SEO builds brand trust and credibility. By sticking around, you’re showing your customers that you’re there and can still be relied upon. Whether you’re an established company or new to the marketplace, you have an opportunity to show customers that you’re here to help during this time.

Build relationships with them, provide value and secure their trust for the future. This will make you more resilient throughout this season of change. A strong customer base is a solid foundation for any business. Focus on developing this, not just in tough times, but all the time.

What stopping SEO could mean for your business

Well, for starters, putting a pause on your SEO means losing track and focus on how your website is performing.

Not keeping track of your online performance leaves you blindfolded and unable to make effective decisions around moving your business forward.

Is halting growth really something you can afford to do?

While it’s true that some companies are putting the brakes on, you can be sure there will be plenty who are just getting started. Your competition hasn’t stopped, so why should you? In a few months’ time, they’ll be far out ahead of the rest, in a much better position to bounce back and capitalise on all that renewed traffic.

We already mentioned that Google isn’t stopping. Which means it’s not going to stop crawling and reviewing your website.

Now, we all know that Google loves fresh, relevant content. And it loves to reward sites that deliver. Without updated, fresh content, Google is going to lose trust in your website. Without great, relevant content, you’re going to struggle to retain those coveted top spots in the search results.

And if you drop out of those top positions, you’re going to lose brand exposure. In a time where brand trust and awareness is perhaps more vital than ever. You need to make sure yours is a name that won’t be forgotten.

Like we said, SEO is a marathon. It’s a slog. Putting it on hiatus will eventually lead to a drop in rankings, traffic and leads. And by then, should you decide to restart, it’ll be another good few months before your website can crawl its way back up to the top.

SEO is not like a lightswitch. You can’t just turn it on and off. It doesn’t work that way.

That being said, there are a few reasons SEO might not be right for you, right now…

  • There is no search demand for your product or service.

If no one knows anything about your product or service, for example if it’s an entirely new concept, there simply won’t be the search volume. The key here is building awareness. In which case, you’re better off with targeted paid advertising and exposure campaigns. Once the demand is there, that’s where SEO comes in.

  • You’re looking for rapid results.

If you’ve got an event to promote or a one time offer, SEO probably isn’t the right fit. Paid advertising is far more effective for these short term campaigns as it delivers immediate results and exposure.

So what should you do?

If you’re serious about seeing your business come out the other end of this crisis intact. And not only intact, but thriving, then you’ve got to make long term oriented decisions.

Ultimately, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in times such as these is to make short sighted decisions based on fear, that inevitably have far reaching consequences for your business.

Speak to your marketing team or account manager. Set smart goals and agree what success will look like during this period.

It might not be 200% month on month growth. It might just be breaking even. For now.

Work together to adapt your strategy. To seek out new opportunities and ways to push ahead when others are falling behind. Circumstances will always change. It’s staying on top of them that will see you through.

Invest in the future of your business. And eventually, when things get back to normal (whenever that may be), you’ll be glad you did.

For tailored advice and support during this time, check out some of our other resources for businesses. Or give us a call to chat through your bespoke strategy.

So, in summary:

  • Competitors may fall away, and opportunities will develop in your industry – what short-term and long-term strategies can be implemented so you take advantage for your business?
  • Consumer behaviour is changing. Can all, or part, of your business be replicated online? This could be a full e-commerce platform or a simple online appointment booking service. Can you make it easier for people to do business with you?
  • People are still using the internet and that means they are using Google, keeping (or gaining) good rankings means you will get these people on your website at the research stage and when ready to buy.
  • SEO builds trust and credibility. Consumers will be looking for this now and in the future more than they ever have before.
  • Businesses that wont survive will because of short-term decisions based on (albeit understandable) fear. Smart business owners will be thinking about the opportunities that are available and long-term planning.
  • Help is available. If you are an existing client speak with your SEO Executive or Account Manager. New clients, please call in and we will allocate an SEO Executive with experience in your industry. Now, is the time to act.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/03/20/why-companies-turn-to-digital-marketing-to-survive-covid-19/#2cd10a5b2425

https://neilpatel.com/blog/coronavirus/

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-impact-on-global-economy-financial-markets-in-6-charts.html

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/dont-stop-seo-during-pandemic/354772/

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-marketing-combat-coronavirus-impact/354780/

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Why Choose Digital NRG As Your SEO Agency in Bristol?

Based in Bristol, with clients throughout the UK, USA and the Middle East, our team of SEO specialists have a passion for increasing keyword rankings, growing website visitors and generating enquiries for their business clients.

With regular contact and updates, Digital NRG become a natural part of your business or marketing team as your outsourced, but heavily involved, website optimisation team and SEO experts.

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