The coronavirus has increased Internet usage to an all-new high, but that usage is heavier on global and local news sites, social media, gaming, video streaming, virtual meetings, health sites, and the like. This is causing a lot of nonessential business websites to see a decline in traffic from both organic and paid traffic. This in turn has caused some to wonder if investing in SEO is still important for their business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Many of our Hawaii web design and marketing clients in the real estate and tourist industries have been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vacation rentals were closed for a while and are now currently only open to local island-hopping vacationers. Island tours and transportation companies are at a near stand-still. Real estate open houses were banned, and many property listings were pulled, bringing sales to an all-new low. But does that make SEO nonessential for business websites such as these? In short, no.
Many businesses are having to make some very difficult decisions on what makes sense to focus on in regards to their online presence while this coronavirus runs its course. For example, Facebook has taken a fair size hit for their ad revenue while Google has seen unprecedented drops. Running paid ads (with an exception or two) may not be the right place to invest a lot of money at this time.
So, what types of SEO can be most worthwhile spending your money, time, and/or energy on?
Here are our top SEO tips and strategies you may want to consider focusing on during the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Target Coronavirus-Related Keywords
While more of a short-term SEO tactic keyword-wise, you will still want to keep your customers in the know during the pandemic. People are searching for specific companies and services along with COVID-19 related keywords to see what they can expect. Do you allow in-store/office visits? Are you doing virtual meetings? Have the hours changed? Do you have proper sanitizing policies in place? Are there restrictions in place customers should know about? Do you offer curbside pick up or delivery? The more people know, the better prepared they are, and the more comfortable they feel.
Build Out Your Website Content or Blog
Writing on topics within your niche helps you stay relevant and will help build traffic over time. Try and stay away from trending topics, news, stats, fads, holiday, or event-specific events that will go out of date and lose its freshness. You want content that is relevant long past its publication so traffic will continue to grow of time.
Blogs or website content formats you may consider:
- Top Tips
- How-to Tutorials
The sooner you start, the better! Although there are many variables to contend with, in a recent study by Ahrefs, How long does it take to rank in Google, the average top 10 ranking pages are 2+ years old and only 22% of the top 10 were created within a year.
Fatten Up Your Email List
Running an email newsletter is the perfect way to reach the people you know are already interested in your products or services and keeps your customers connected and engaged. It’s great for reputation management and branding in that it reminds people that you are still there and what you are up to. Plus, if done correctly, it can drive more sales.
Email marketing may not affect SEO rankings directly, however it can increase external links and user engagement which can build your cred with the search engines. And definitely consider having a newsletter archive. It does double duty as content for your website and an increased chance of repeat interaction by visitors to your website.
Ways to build your newsletter contact list:
- Make sure you have the newsletter signup somewhere prominently located on your business website.
- Run a lead generation ad on Facebook or Google. For fairly cheap, you can build your newsletter mailing list with a clever ad and by targeting the right audience.
- Create an online contest.
- Encourage subscribers to share your email newsletters.
- Add a link to signup to employee email signatures.
Clean up and Optimize Your Website
It’s a good time to do some summertime clean up! First, you’re going to need to do a little research. Find out what content is not ranking well by running some analytic traffic stats reports and see what you can do to make those pages better including adding a better title, an enticing meta description to pull them in, and adding more content that is helpful to the end-user.
As for content that is already doing well by bringing in a fair amount of traffic? Why not give them a little TLC. From adding updated information, or creating a more compelling title to adding new images with alt tags, to including high-quality outbound links, there are several ways to spruce up a page. A few updates and you may see it move from page 2 to page 1.
Local SEO has always been an effective and worthwhile pursuit. From maps to local search queries, now that people are staying closer to home, Local SEO has become even more important. So take some time to make sure your company is listed in local business directories and citation sites.
Be sure to keep your Google My Business listing updated with the latest COVID-19 info! GMB offers some pandemic-specific attributes that you can add to your business profile. If they don’t have a specific attribute that you would like to have mentioned, add it to your about section.
Learn more with our post on Local SEO Tips: Citations & Local Business Directories.
The COVID-19 pandemic may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. SEO is about gaining trust from the search engines and can provide long-term gain. That’s why it makes sense to make SEO a priority during these trying times and up your game now while you have a little extra time on your hands.