The coronavirus pandemic has created significant uncertainty and stress, not only in our daily lives but also for businesses. But some things never change, including the importance of SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for all companies, but it has never been more important than it is today. Pulling back or stopping SEO activity now – as some companies may have considered as they reduce marketing and advertising spend - will only hurt your business in the long run.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, your company can benefit from local SEO, updating your website, updating strategies, developing new content, and conducting keyword research. Since many of us are practicing social distancing, the internet is being used more. In fact, Forbes reported at the end of March that internet usage has jumped 50-70 percent. Take advantage of this uptick to increase your business’s online presence.
Here’s where to start:
How to Optimize Your Digital Presence During COVID-19
1. Optimize Your Website
A great place to begin to fine tune your online presence is by optimizing your website design. Here are a few things to focus on:
- Simplify the navigation
- Make sure content is up-to-date
- Provide a banner or a pop-up on the homepage and other highly trafficked pages to inform your visitors of the steps your company is taking to address COVID-19 and how you’re keeping employees and customers safe. Adding alert messaging keeps the lines of communication open and shows you’re on top of the situation.
2. Take Advantage of Local SEO
Local SEO is very effective when marketing your local business online. Many searches have local intent – meaning, the searcher is looking for a business located close to him or her to either go to or buy from. Here are some local SEO tactics you can use to promote products and services locally:
- Regularly update your Google My Business profile to help search engines recognize and understand your business. Be sure to keep your profile up-to-date so Google views your website as trustworthy and continues to serve users relevant content.
- Consider adding posts to your Google My Business page to provide users with updated news and information, such as promotions, delivery options, and changes in business hours.
3. Update or Add Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords
Adding meta descriptions and meta keywords to your web pages helps Google get a better understanding of your website and helps with page indexing. Taking time to do keyword research will benefit your website tremendously. Aim more for long tail keywords – keywords that are longer and more specific that visitors often use when they're closer to making a purchase or are using voice search - for a Q&A approach. This can help your site appear in featured snippets, which are used for voice search results, thereby gaining additional visibility for your brand.
4. Know and Optimize Your Page Speed
A good page speed decreases bounce rates and increases the overall engagement on your site. Page speed is also a ranking factor for Google. Learn more about page speed here .
5. Focus on Link Building
Make sure the links on your site include your target keywords. This is important because Google reads links to decide if the content is relevant. Having quality links and providing backlinks increases the value of your website. Search engines use links to find new web pages and to determine how well a website should rank in search results.
The more high-quality websites that link to your website, the more likely you will rank well in search results.
6. Optimize Your Site’s URL Structure
Optimizing your website’s URL structure prepares your website for search engines and provides a better user experience. Having a solid URL structure gives search engines and users a better understanding of the purpose of a page. Learn all about URL structure.
7. Utilize Email and Social Media Campaigns
Email and social media are a great channels by which to reach out to prospects and current clients. Stay active on both to keep communication flowing. Campaigns are a great way to connect with your clients, which will also set you up for long term success. Be sure to write content to show that you understand the gravity of the current situation. Empathy goes a long way during trying times!
8. Review and Update Website Content
Update your website content regularly to maintain relevance. Regular updates tell Google your website is trustworthy and has authority. This will help with your search rankings, as Google’s goal is to provide users with relevant content. Make sure the content is easy to find within your site structure and navigation and provide fresh photos.
9. Keep Up with Changing SEO Trends
COVID-19 is impacting SEO trends significantly. Stay on top of what people are searching for and how they are searching. Keywords are changing every day. Start monitoring keyword changes more closely than you normally would.
10. Look for Ways to Deliver Content Differently
- Video: Take advantage of new strategies and be in “the know.” With everyone spending more time on the web you should start developing video content. Think outside of the box to get ahead of your competitors and create entertaining content. Since many people are inside and bored, providing fun and exciting content will help your brand stand out.
- Blogs: If you have blog content already, consider increasing how often you post. Having a blog gives you the opportunity to create relevant and educational content. This will also increase the number of clicks throughout your website. Take advantage of linking to other parts of your site in your blog postings.
- Webinars: Webinars are a great way to reach out to clients and prospects and to provide a more personalized approach. Having a real-time conversation helps to build personal relationships. Since people are practicing social distance, seeing a face or hearing a voice can calm the anxiety and stress that many are experiencing.
Don’t Forget to Measure
People are searching online more frequently during COVID-19, which will change Google trends. The way you measure results and data may change, too.
Although you may see an increase in traffic to your website, this traffic may not convert into sales. Instead, consider measuring engagement with heat maps and other tools to better understand your users and to develop content that will resonate with them. Being a valued resource in a user’s time of need will help your brand long-term, even if it doesn’t result in an immediate sale.
The COVID-19 outbreak has created dramatic change for all of us. While the internet is getting more use than ever before, take this time to focus on your SEO efforts. Make updates, do your research, collect data, keep up with the trends, and develop an SEO strategy.
Doubling down on your SEO efforts now will not only help you weather this current challenge but will also prepare you for long term success. We’re here to help if you need us.