The pandemic brought many changes to our lives – including the amount of time we spend on the internet, as well as our buying habits. Subsequently, many businesses have realized how SEO can help drive their sales during the pandemic. As more people turn to the internet in search of resources and online shops, SEO optimization helps ensure businesses appear on a search engine’s first page.
How the Pandemic Affected Search Traffic
Stay-at-home orders drove more people to the internet for online shopping as well as a source of entertainment and information; search trends eventually revealed themselves. First, people began to search for qualified medical information, as well as up-to-date laws and regulations. Then, they began to look for at home entertainment, as well as advice on health and prevention. And as stay-at-home orders are being lifted throughout the United States, searches for “near me” have begun to rise in numbers again.
According to Marfeel, people go through two phases when searching for information: first, they ask, “what?” Then, they ask, “how?” And while “what-type” queries with regards to COVID-19 blossomed at the beginning of the pandemic, people eventually began to search “how-type” queries as it progressed.
Once people understood “what,” they started looking for practical advice on how to deal with it. While COVID-19-specific searches are a trend and will decrease in prominence over time, this pattern reveals a greater trend: how people intake and process information.
However, the increase in ecommerce activity should endure post-pandemic. According to Datareportal, roughly half of shoppers plan to make more frequent online purchases even after the pandemic subsides. Furthermore, ecommerce transactions have even increased across the board – especially in the sports brand and supermarket categories.
How SEO Will Help During the Pandemic
It is vital not to ignore SEO’s importance during the pandemic. While relevant businesses have seen an uptick in search traffic, many have also seen a decrease in search traffic. However, try not to get discouraged; it’s important to remember that COVID-19-related searches are a trend and that SEO best practices are sound. When strategizing SEO during the pandemic, stockpiling evergreen and long-form content, taking advantage of local SEO practices and revitalizing old content will help your business gain qualified traffic.
Create content that targets on-trend themes. According to Wordstream, if pandemic-related topics are too competitive or are not relevant to your business, broaden the lens with themes such as “DIY,” “work-from-home” and “virtual,” notes. Which themes gained more interest because of stay-at-home orders?
However, while producing on-trend content can help increase traffic during the pandemic, it won’t be as helpful long term. This is why creating and stockpiling evergreen content is just as important as producing relevant work. People are looking for educational resources. Creating evergreen content that fills this void now will serve you in both the present and future.
Take advantage of the fact that people have more time now that they are not commuting by creating and stockpiling long-form content. According to Backlinko, the average word count of the top 10 results on Google is around 1,447 words. This is especially helpful in SEO since longer content contains more backlinks than shorter content.
Local SEO and Content Revitalization
Businesses are reopening across the globe. Take this opportunity to optimize local SEO – especially since many are trying to support small local businesses that may have suffered in 2020. According to MailChimp, Google uses a proximity factor in its local search algorithm. This means that the algorithm considers location when a local keyword is searched, such as “near me.”
Optimizing local SEO can be done by creating landing pages for each business location and including addresses and phone numbers. Businesses listed in Google My Business are also considered in local SEO rankings. These efforts will help your business appear when someone searches “near me” (or another related term).
However, while creating new content is vital to expanding your SEO strategies, it should not be your sole focus. Pay attention to old content as well (whether evergreen or not) and look at anything that might have become newly relevant. Tweak the keywords, update backlinks, add new, relevant information and republish. Consider drawing connections to COVID-19 when you reshare.
SEO During the Pandemic
Understanding the ways that SEO can help your business – even during a pandemic – is critical, because SEO builds brand visibility. As people are turning to online shopping more frequently than ever, looking to support small businesses and seeking out more information online, optimizing SEO to rank higher on Google makes sure that people find your business before others.
By creating relevant content, building your supply of evergreen content, optimizing local SEO and revitalizing old content to make it current, more people can discover you amidst a sea of competitors. SEO can give small businesses an edge – the pandemic is no reason to stop or refuse to adapt.