Coronavirus and SEO: What does the pandemic mean for search?

Coronavirus has exposed just about every industry and vertical around us to volatility. And these sudden shifts in trends and behaviours have left small businesses worried about plummeting website traffic.

But here is the catch: internet usage is higher than it has ever been.

An increasing number of people are accessing and purchasing essential services online. Meanwhile, industries catering to non-essential products and services are witnessing a major dip in their search traffic. 

Does this trend make you wonder whether SEO is still relevant for your small business? For many, the answer will be ‘yes’.

SEO not only increases website traffic but also helps to generate leads.

A great way to address the effects of coronavirus on search engine optimisation is to amplify the value proposition and work around search engine optimisation to make your business appear online for shifting trends. 

Here are different ways COVID-19 is affecting SEO and whether or not continue your SEO efforts despite the pandemic.

How COVID-19 is affecting SEO

As COVID-19 continues to hit countries and individuals across the globe, each industry is reacting differently.

Amid the crisis, search behaviour is rapidly changing. There are three SEO trends you should be aware of. 

1. Increased search traffic for e-commerce stores

Businesses selling essential products and services are observing a spike in both online and local search traffic.

Specifically, e-commerce store owners have been reporting a jump in online sales and traffic since March 2020.

This increase highlights consumers are shifting their buying activity towards online channels.

A recent survey by the Power Retail Advisory Board shows that more than 20% of retailers are experiencing a 20% spike in sales.

2. More users looking for health and wellness information

Websites offering information related to health and wellness are experiencing a massive surge in their traffic.

More and more people are looking for prevention methods, home remedies and information about coronavirus symptoms, to stay safe and create a safe living environment for their families. 

3. Steady stream of impressions for news websites

News websites around the globe are catering to the continuous need of staying updated with the latest coronavirus news and regulations.

Some of them are offering free content, while others are using a paywall to leverage the situation.

Now that you are aware of the effect of coronavirus on search engine optimisation, it is time to decide whether or not to continue your SEO efforts. 

Reasons to continue SEO efforts despite COVID-19

As consumers are turning to the internet to address their needs and queries, organisations with an online presence, search visibility and engaging content will succeed in the crisis.

An online presence, driven by SEO is capable of maximising your sales and increasing conversions. 

Here are three powerful reasons why you should still be optimising your website for search engines. After all, you don’t want to be the one misinterpreting this rather delicate equation between COVID-19 and online traffic.

1. Topics related to COVID-19

Every single day, people are searching for answers to COVID-19 queries and looking for updates. 

Answers to evergreen customer questions about coronavirus-related search terms and general topics will be relevant now and when the crisis subsides.

2. Leads over traffic

In these uncertain times, what should matter for your business is the number of qualified leads visiting your website, as opposed to the web traffic figures.

Visitors who find your website in the pursuit of discovering relevant information are likely to stay around.

You can convert them into paying customers in future, if not right away. 

3. Long-term gains

As an entrepreneur, you ought to think of long-term gains from an investment. The SEO efforts you put in today will get you the desired results a few months down the line.

SEO strategies, when done right, bring compounding results in the form of recurring traffic even years later.

In all ways, SEO is worth your time, effort and investment. 

Should SEO be a priority for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The shift in consumer behaviour during COVID-19 puts up a strong case in favour of continuing efforts for online marketing strategies.

Starting SEO efforts right now will help you to nail local SEO, build trust and save money down the line.

1. ‘Open now’ and ‘near me’ searches

Most probably, you cannot visit your favourite bricks-and-mortar stores in person. And it’s the same for most people around you.

This becomes a ripe opportunity for your business to nail local SEO. Optimise and update your online store’s Google My Business listing to generate business with ‘open now’ and ‘near me’ searches.

2. Building trust and familiarity 

There will never be a better time than now to build trust among your potential customers.

If they discover your small business while searching for useful and relevant information, you have an increased chance of being visited by them in future.

Now is the time indeed to build top-of-mind awareness.

3. Doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket

As long as you know the SEO strategies to rank organically and produce content regularly, search engine optimisation efforts are not going to cost you heavily. 

Small businesses should revamp their SEO strategy by working towards creating an improved online presence and generating qualified leads.

SEO extends to making your brand more visible on the searches being performed on Google.

With regular incoming traffic, you can set up your small business for success.


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