In the short-term, as well as in the future, the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on every aspect of our lives. There are tons of posts that outline what people think is happening, and we’re seeing a lot of the same thing – it’s all over the place.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been here. Many brands cut budgets during the Great Recession, which ultimately hurt them months later. On the other hand, some brands brainstormed how to reach out to new consumers and where opportunities existed. In terms of the effectiveness of layoffs, budget cuts, and changes in directions, there are a lot of studies out there that provide significant statistics:
- Typically, companies that cut investment by 50% for one year before returning to normal budgets, take up to two years to regain lost market share.
- Those who increase exposure during a downturn can gain up to three times more share in the first two years after a recovery.
In summary, these studies show that pullbacks cause more damage. Keeping your financial war chest safe and maximizing cash flow is fine, but if everyone is cutting budgets, those who don’t, automatically win a share of the vote. In the next month, quarter, or half year, SEO will not be the same as it was two weeks ago. Slack’s most recent S-1 filing states: “This environment requires an ever-greater ability to adapt and respond.” In an increasingly dynamic world, organizational agility is the key to success.
With all that’s going on, we need to be contextual and empathic. Our resources are limited, and we’re all adapting to new ways of working and communicating.
Here are some tips to help boost SEO during this period:
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
CRO is simple – evaluate your signup/checkout/goal processes from a customer’s perspective, noting any pain points along the way. Are there that many steps? Can you reduce the amount of information a customer must wade through to create an account or make a purchase? This process often reveals A/B testing opportunities. CRO impacts all channels, so ROI goes beyond SEO.
Push Forward Development Resources
When was the last time you thought: I wish I had some time to devote to X? Now is the time! Clients are deprioritizing some large projects, which allows developers to focus on development. While other daily responsibilities have been put on hold, you may find it beneficial to fix technical SEO issues, pursue projects that were pushed to the back burner, or improve your automation or reporting. As a result, SEO during this pandemic is less about clawing back lost traffic and more about positioning the brand to earn a larger share of voice when the market returns.
Republish and Promote Content
Reoptimizing, updating, and republishing content you already have has always been a good idea. These times are no different, and the opportunity is probably greater considering more people are surfing the internet for longer periods of time. The best way to build user trust is through organic content.
With some research, there are no bad investments when it comes to creating new content. It’s evident that video consumption has grown and testing it doesn’t require a huge production. People who haven’t watched a lot of video content in the past will change their behavior in the long run.
Customers are asking a lot of questions about your brand and this virus, but it’s not fun and glamorous. Answer them, even if it means responding with uncertainty. Do not leave them hanging. By focusing on content around product delivery, returns, size guides, and lookbooks, consumers will still be able to browse. Many brands are creating FAQ pages to help answer multiple COVID-related questions; this can be useful for customers whose inboxes are overflowing with emails and news. Reviewing your keyword reports for terms around “ok Google” and “what matches…” will validate your lookbooks, size guides, and FAQs, which will pay off in the future. Another area to experiment with is updating title tags and meta descriptions to highlight policy changes. Google My Business shouldn’t be overlooked either, as there are a number of COVID-19-specific updates to consider.
Schema, Schema, Schema
There has been an increase in the Schema trend over the last few years, and Schema.org even released a special markup for COVID-19. Schema isn’t going anywhere, and it’s probably the building block of what’s next. You should focus on improving your Schema strategy or prioritizing implementation, even if you don’t have one. By using Schema, you can better compete on SERPs you already own, while growing your share of voice (SOV) and owning more space.
Accelerated Mobile Pages are nothing new. They’re stored locally on Google’s servers and load fast. Due to the fact that it’s a Google product, they prioritize these pages in the index, and they receive an immediate ranking boost. AMP is great for news and content, local pages, and even eCommerce. PMG has developed and refined a process that maximizes ROI, so the development lift isn’t as big as many brands think. While AMP might be considered an aggressive strategy, we’ve found it pays off every time. It would be a good idea to at least test how the technology can be applied to your brand at this point.
As further change continues, it will remain difficult to stem the losses in most industries. Slower ROI from SEO activities provides an opportunity to level up the user experience, improve technical website health, and leave this pandemic in a better position to compete.
With the pandemic, the world is moving more and more towards the digital side. Take advantage of generating more traffic to your website and converting leads into customers by improving your SEO.
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