Is Covid-19 impacting SEO?
One facet of business that has been hit hard by Covid-19 is marketing. Advertising budgets have been slashed, consumers are watching their spending, and companies aren't sure how to maintain engagement amid the current circumstances.
5 June 2020 · 8 min read
Fortunately, there is still an effective and affordable way to maintain your online presence: search engine optimization. In this article, we’ll discuss how Covid-19 is changing SEO and what you can do to respond.
Covid-19’s effect on SEO
In short, yes, Covid-19 is having a major impact on SEO. This is less so a direct result of COVID-19 and more so an indirect result of people using their internet-enabled devices more during the pandemic. According to Comscore, mobile device usage is up 50% in 2020 from 2019.
Additionally, the way people are using the internet is dramatically different from the way they were using it pre-Covid. For many, online shopping has switched from an activity to a necessity. Digital-first businesses are profiting big time, and businesses that have never had a digital presence are desperate to adapt.
And in the background of all of these changes is the news. People are looking for answers, information, reason, and advice. Naturally, COVID-19 has been a trending topic on Google for months now and likely will be for the foreseeable future.
7 tips for creating an SEO strategy right now
Since it appears that Covid-19 is, unfortunately, going to be a part of our lives for quite some time, businesses need to use alternative tactics to build their online presence and maintain enough revenue to survive.
One of the most cost-effective ways to boost your online success is through SEO. SEO is more affordable than many other means of advertising and has a better ROI in the long run.
Below we’ve gathered some of our favorite tips and platforms for improving your SEO performance. These tips are tailored to the pandemic so that you can build a relevant strategy.
1. Do your research
This is one of those tactics that never goes out of style. When trying to boost your SEO performance, research is key. You need to know which keywords are ranking and why. It’s also important to research competitors to get an idea of what’s working and what isn’t.
Near the end of this article, we’ve included a few platforms for tracking SEO trends (most of them free) that should prove useful. The most important thing with research is that you view it as an ongoing process, not a one-and-done trick.
It’s important that your SEO research is always ongoing because trends are just that: trends. They change and shift and eventually fall away to be replaced by something else. It’s essential that you not only understand which SEO keywords are trending but also which strategies are the most effective at any given time. We’ll cover a few of these current strategies below.
2. Covid-19 content is trending
Creating Covid-centric content is a smart plan for generating online traffic throughout the pandemic. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve likely been affected by it, which means you have a perspective to share on your blog, social media, YouTube channel, etc.
You can use COVID-19 to explore the pandemic from your industry’s unique angle and create content relevant to our current times. You can also update existing content to make it more in line with current events. It’s also important to remember that this is a changing situation, which means you’re going to need to keep things up to date. A Covid-19 article written in April is not going to look the same as one written in June. Be proactive!
3. Polish your existing content
If you’re looking for a cost-effective route to SEO success, this is a must. Polishing existing content is something you should easily do yourself without the help of an SEO professional. It simply involves revisiting old content and applying current SEO strategies to it.
You might initially think this is a waste, as this content is already old. Why bother trying to get it to rank higher if it’s already irrelevant? Because it isn’t irrelevant. A study by Ahrefs found that less than 1% of the first page results on Google were under a year old.
Put another way, older content actually has a better chance of ranking highly on Google than new content. By reinvigorating existing pages on your website, you can boost your SEO without investing in any new content on your site.
4. Target long-tail queries
Long-tail queries or keywords are search terms that are longer than three words in length. For example, “how to lose weight” is a long-tail query, while “lose weight” is a short-tail query. This example actually proves the point that long-tail queries are often more effective, which you can read more about here.
These types of queries tend to get less general traffic than their shorter cousins, but this works to your advantage. They are less competitive than short-tail queries, which allows you to capitalize on them. Additionally, long-tail queries usually point to a direct answer that the user is looking for. This means you can create a shorter piece of content to satisfy these queries rather than a full article, saving you time and money.
5. Keep your website updated
Keeping your website information updated is important all the time, but now it’s more important than ever. Customers want to know if, when, and how your business is open, and if it’s not operating normally, what operations are still underway.
Keeping this information updated on your website as well as on services like Google My Business will not only make it easier for customers to find information about your business, it’ll also improve the performance of your website on Google’s search results.
6. Don’t ignore evergreen content
Though it’s tempting to pour all of your energy into Covid content, this content won’t always be relevant. And while it seems like the virus will be in the news for a while, things will eventually return to normal and the discussion will change.
If all of the content you produce over the next year is related to Covid-19, then your website’s SEO is liable to drop once Covid-19 searches start to die down. To ensure that doesn’t happen to your website, make sure to focus on evergreen content as well, or content that won’t get left behind when trends change. Consider a 60/40 split when coming up with a content plan.
7. Use analytics to monitor customer behavior
As we’ve covered throughout this article, customer behavior is rapidly evolving throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. As such, it’s important to remember that the way your customers are acting one month is not necessarily an indicator of how they will act the next month. Right now, adaptability is the name of the game.
To stay on your feet during these times, you’re going to need to employ strong analytical tools. If you use a website platform like B12, then you’ll already have access to built-in SEO and the analytics that you need to be proactive. Pay attention to how customers are using your website and use their behavior to target conversions and sales as well as maintain customer loyalty.
Platforms for improving your SEO during Covid-19
The B12 Editor is our unique alternative to traditional website builders and agencies. We stand out by combining a DIY-friendly editing experience with artificial intelligence and a team of design experts who are ready to help you build.
One of the tools available on our platform is B12 SEO, which is seamlessly built into your website and designed to help grow your traffic organically and strategically. Whether you’re trying to maintain sales through the pandemic or just trying to get more eyes on your website, B12 SEO will help you make progress toward your goals.
Google Trends is one of the most useful and also most underutilized SEO tools on the internet. It’s a completely free resource that allows you to see how popular certain search terms are on the internet. For example, you could search “Covid-19” on Google Trends and see how it exploded in popularity over the last few months.
This gives you an idea of how popular a specific keyword is, but it doesn’t stop there. You can scroll down the page for even more insights, like related keywords that are trending and queries that include the keyword you searched for. It’s one of the simplest ways to quickly sharpen your SEO strategy.
Exploding Topics is a relatively new tool that tracks trending topics across the internet. As the name suggests, it curates topics that are quickly gaining traction so that you can create content that rides the wave of that trend. The site is still pretty simple for now; you can only filter topics by period of time and where they’re at in their trending lifecycle. There are currently no search features for the site.
If you’re looking to catch onto an SEO trend before it gets big, it’s definitely helpful for increasing your chances of finding the right trend through trial and error. While this is great for short-term growth, just keep in mind that you still need content that can support your website in the long-term.
Ahrefs is one of the more robust tools for beefing up your SEO strategy. Its primary feature is its backlink checker, which essentially scans your entire website the same way that a search engine like Google does. It then rates your performance accordingly. It comes with several other features as well, making it a great all-in-one tool for SEO.
Read more from B12
For more advice on how to market your business online during and after Covid-19, check out the rest of the B12 Resource Center.