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Opinion

COVID-19 and SEO: Why it matters

There is a wealth of information online at the moment about COVID-19 measures, what to do and whether to pause, stop or continue marketing your business. Here at Verkeer, we hope to illuminate the way, and to make it easier for business owners to figure out their next steps.

The important thing to remember during an unprecedented time like this is that, if anything, personal internet usage will increase during this time, and panic-switching your marketing off is not the way to go. In this article, we explore why SEO still matters during this global pandemic.

SEO is a long-term channel

Right now, turning off your Google Ads and Facebook Pixel might seem appealing – but letting your SEO strategy slide is a bad move. As we always say, SEO is a long-term strategy, which rarely delivers overnight results. As well as keeping things going *during* this outbreak, you will want your organic rankings to be maintained and improved in time for the inevitable recovery period.

While you may not see an immediate impact to putting SEO efforts on hold now, the impact will be felt in the mid to long term when things pick back up; you’ll certainly see the negative effects of a lacklustre SEO effort now in the coming months.

Similarly, with many other companies choosing to scale back their efforts, it’s the perfect time for you and your business to jump ahead of the competition, taking advantage of the situation.

Knowing and understanding your audience

One of the great outputs of SEO is the data it creates. Now is the perfect time to be honing your organic data, looking at search terms, keywords and search queries on your own website to figure out where the focus of your audience is, and then to maximise these opportunities.

Similarly, it’s a good time to review how people are accessing your website. Are there bottlenecks? Are people moving away from mobile to desktop to access your website? Make the most of this time by developing data-driven decisions to improve the user experience and technical aspects of your website.

SEO is a long term strategy and a card to play during covid-19 crisis

The market is always changing

The market hasn’t changed as rapidly as it has the past few weeks for a while now. Unfortunately, there’s no ‘Idiot’s Guide To…’ marketing in a pandemic, and many companies will find themselves strapped for cash and scaling back.

During this period, SEO can help you anticipate and find opportunities. Look at your competitors, changes in your sector, manufacturing, your products and services. How can they adapt during a pandemic? How are they adapting? Are your competitors scaling back or pushing forward?

As well as using this information to figure out your next steps right now, it’s the perfect time to put a contingency plan in place for this happening in the future. By understanding what your competitors, industry and market are doing now, this can help inform your own short-term decisions, and inform a rough guide to what to do in the future, should something like this happen again.

SEO is more than keywords and rankings

It’s not all about appearing first in the SERP. Okay, overall it might be. But some major aspects of SEO include user experience (UX), navigation and technical improvements.

There is almost always something to improve on your website. As an e-commerce store, can you make your transactions easier? Shorter? SEO has different ways to drive revenue to your e-commerce, just make sure you are taking advantage of your tools and data. For companies offering a service, has your website been updated recently? Are you showing your latest offers, the latest in technology, some up-to-date case studies?

Identifying and fixing these things now will pay dividends in the medium term when things pick back up. Any improvements to user experience and user journey will support your SEO strategy going forward, and will help you to outperform the competition both now and in the long-term.

SEO importance in Pandemic situation

Online Marketing and SEO will be more important than never before

With COVID-19, many ‘offline’ businesses have noted the importance of online marketing. While some have adapted by offering therapies or lessons online, some have slowed things down or chosen not to market online at all.

While your services may no longer be available, think of ways to engage and grow your audience remotely in the meantime. Use social media to highlight some of your best bits, share knowledge and expertise. Social media usage and engagement adds credibility, backlinks and authority to your website; some more boosts to your SEO.

Some businesses post COVID-19 (if we can imagine such a time!) may choose to work remotely or in a flexible way permanently. How would this affect your business, service and offerings?

Also, think about what you can do to generate revenue remotely in the meantime. With everyone staying inside, there will be an enormous demand for certain goods, services and experiences once lockdowns are suspended. For hairdressers, restaurants, hotels, holidays and more, not only do you need to make sure you’re more visible locally, (hello, Google My Business) but look at how you can generate revenue in the interim. Gift vouchers, discounts and competitions are great ways to spread the word about your business in an engaging way, while generating revenue and continuing to build your audience.

With more people working from home than ever, personal internet usage will be on the increase. Think about how this affects your business, your operating hours, your operations and the goods and services that you offer. You now have the time and space to review your entire working methods and business model; so maximise this!

Here at Verkeer, we have worked in SEO for longer than we care to acknowledge. We are working closely with all of our clients to ensure their success both during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. Let us work with you to analyse your competitors, identify gaps, maintain and grow your business once things ‘return to normal’. We’re a friendly bunch who are happy to help, so get in touch with us today to get started!

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