COVID’s Impact On SEO : What Can You Do To Stay On Track?

The world seems to be upside down right now, with COVID being at the center of everything. Businesses are in a state of panic, confusion, and uncertainty. With an economic slowdown looming ahead as a reality, there are good reasons to be apprehensive about your marketing investments. And in fact, it is natural for businesses to contemplate cutting on their marketing budgets. But one thing which is clear is that SEO is going nowhere. In fact, it is going to be the future of marketing, is an effective, sustainable, and affordable strategy as compared to the conventional tactics.

However, it would be wise to think ahead and be aware of COVID’s impact on SEO so that you handle it well enough to get the desired benefits. The impact really depends on your business domain. For example, things are going to get bigger for e-commerce stores that will experience sales booms in the current scenario. On the other hand, travel companies may not find SEO to be a great investment considering that bookings are bound to decline in any case. Strategic planning, coupled with a visionary approach, will enable your business to weather this downturn and come back strong. Here are some measures you can take now to keep improving your SEO strategy and keep it on track to beat the blues of the current situation.

Consider having a dedicated COVID-19 page on your website

COVID-19 is a global crisis and there is hardly anyone who has not suffered the implications of this crisis. Having a dedicated page about the virus on your website is the first thing to do. Obviously, it becomes all the more important for essential businesses and the ones that are significantly impacted by COVD-19. But everyone should have one because the page can go a long way in helping you sustain some traffic loss.

You need not worry about reporting the updated statistics on the disease or even sharing scientific updates on it. Rather, you can focus on showcasing what your company is doing. Maybe, you could include content about safety initiatives for your team or a portion of your sales going towards relief efforts in your area. If you are running a retail store, talk about contactless delivery or curbside pickup facilities that you may have started. Similarly, catering companies may mention the precautions they are taking for the preparation and delivery of food to maintain customer trust.

Stay ahead of Google search trends

Apart from having a dedicated website page, you can also post content pieces around COVID-19. From research studies to personal stories, economic impact, business implications, and more, these pieces could cover a diverse range of topics. While coming up with content, ensure that you are ahead of Google search trends. Since people are home now, they are likely to spend a lot of time searching online. Posting anything and everything they want to read is a good idea. Better still, you should post it before anyone else does.

Having the right piece of content at the right time is an opportunity to attract the audience and leave your competitors behind. If you have pieces that cover all the latest trending topics and searches, you are bound to fetch more traffic for your website. While they can get you more engagement right now, you can expect more sales once the business gets back normal. Consider churning out long-form informative pieces because they can serve as long-term branding resources.

Assess and consolidate your backlink profile

Since there is bound to be a downtime for your business, it is best to utilize it for assessing and consolidating your backlink profile. There will probably be hundreds of thousands of them to assess because you may have accumulated them over time. You can retain the ones that are delivering true value, disavow those which are causing damage to your profile, and reclaim the broken links as well. Since there is a lot to monitor and manage, you can easily do it now when the focus is a lot less on creating and running new initiatives.

Grooming your current backlink strategy is equally important and you can do it right now for sustained benefits. Check to understand how you can go the extra mile with the home page SEO and anchor text optimization. Further, it also gives you a fair idea about ramping up your content strategy, which is something that will help with the aforementioned points.

Test and work on conversions

While a makeover for your backlink profile during the COVID season makes sense, it is also the right time to test and work on your conversion optimization strategy.  Consider the traffic you currently have and work on your website’s ability to convert visitors into customers. Perform A/B testing to get an insight into what really works. Identify the keywords that the audience is using to locate your website and the pages that are getting maximum traffic. Also, find out the ones experiencing the largest declines and the highest bounce rates.

Assess the possible reasons why customers seem to bounce off or not complete the conversions. Think about how you need to adjust your keyword strategy or rework on the on-page copy to align the relevance with audience search intent. Setting up heatmap tracking is a good way to get useful insights for understanding consumer behavior and identifying the potential user experience issues. Also, you can identify the friction points hampering the conversion process and improve them. This is the best time to invest in conversion optimization so that you are all geared up once the crisis is over and customers start coming back in huge numbers.

Be mindful of potential changes in Google Algorithms

Even though the world is at a standstill, search engines are still evolving and you can expect changes in Google algorithms as well. Business domains regarded as YMYL (Your Money, Your Life), such as financial and healthcare companies, may witness major changes in the organic results and SERPs during this phase. Keeping pace with the changes should be your top priority because you wouldn’t want to lose on rankings at such a critical juncture.

If your brand comes in these domains, you need to be extra attentive about these changes and stay one step ahead of them. For instance, you have to be conscious while creating content and monitoring the performance of your website to ensure that it does not take a plunge due to algorithmic changes. At the same time, foreseeing the changes can actually help you to surge ahead and leave the competitors far behind in the post-COVID era.

Keep a close track of website health

Considering that there will be a lot of stress for businesses these days, it is easy to ignore your website’s health. However, it becomes all the more important to keep a close track on on-page and off-page SEO parameters. When things are this bad, even a small glitch can have far-reaching impacts. Imagine an online user accessing your site and finding that it is too slow to load. This can be a killer for your brand, all the more now because you lose a potential customer who might have been back later.

Closely monitoring your website and fixing bugs and issues should be your prime concern right now. Prioritize fixing bugs that are directly related to website performance rather than implementing new features right now. Keep close track of aspects such as crawling, indexing, and ranking by search engines to detect issues and resolve them sooner rather than later. Check the latest security updates and patches and implement them sooner rather than later.

Think long-term

No one knows how long the crisis will last but it will definitely take a few months for businesses to run normally. Moreover, it is hard to deny the economic aftermath of the current situation because almost every business will have to bear the brunt of the situation. So long-term planning should be on top of your mind, whether it is about SEO or any other strategy for your company.

Think more in terms of Q3 and Q4 and plan to cover up the current losses in the second half of the year. There are good chances that you will be able to do so if you have things in place. Planning for the holiday season right now can actually be a good idea though it seems too far away right now. This is where smart business owners can pin their hopes to get their companies back on their feet.

Keeping one step ahead and making the best of this downtime is the wisest thing you can do with your business. Clean up your SEO backlinks and build your content bank right now so that you can run full throttle once things get normal. Going slack today, on the other hand, can ruin the chances of coming back strong in the long run. So the last thing you should do is give up on SEO because it is the most reliable strategy for saving your online presence through the crisis.

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