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Teck Wong - 03.19.2020

COVID-19 SEO Preparedness

In the new age of social distancing, users are leveraging the internet more than ever for information gathering and making purchases. Ensuring your SEO and overall digital marketing content is buttoned up can help position your brand as the go-to option for their needs during this time.

Below are some considerations related to SEO and coping with COVID-19

Local Data Accuracy

If your business has a brick and mortar presence, customers are wanting to know if:

  • Store hours are changed (if at all) or if branches are temporarily closed 

  • What safety precautions are they taking to deal with COVID-19

  • Are the events your brand is hosting/attending still taking place and/or being rescheduled?

    • Additionally, how will that impact their wallet?

Food provider tip: Emphasize that takeout and food delivery available options are available.

Ensuring this information is up-to-date on your Google My Business, Facebook, Apple Maps, Yelp, Yahoo, etc. along with on-site local landing page optimizations are important to be able to fully leverage any changes to business operations. Consider leveraging platforms such as Yext, Yodle or ReachLocal to more easily manage your listings across search engines, virtual digital assistants (Alexa, Siri) and your social media platforms. Bonus: Yext is currently offering a free 90-day trial of Yext Answers. Get started.

And if you don’t have some of these listings for your business, what are you waiting for? Ensure you are where your audience is looking for your business. To get started you’ll need to claim your Google My Business listing (GMB). If you have multiple locations, leverage a third-party option like RioSEO for scalability. 

Anticipate Customer Information Needs

Depending on your business, current customers will want to know what options are available to them in this time of crisis. Does your website currently have the information available to meet their information needs? 

For example, if you are a bank, there will be increasing concerns over the ability to pay bills such as car notes, mortgages, business loans. 

  • For those customers that typically conduct business in person, do you have tutorials, FAQs or support to access their accounts online? Do you have information on your website to guide users on how to do this digitally for users who have never used those services
  •  Others may be seeking information on payment options and payment due date extensions. Do you have information, resources or guidance for those needing assistance?

If you have clear communication on what can/cannot be done with answers, solutions, and resources, your brand will be their primary option to help ease concerns regarding everyday needs and what your company is doing to help elevate those during these times. 

Leverage your Website Data 

Analytics Platforms such as On-site Search and Google Search Console can be utilized to identify and audit search behavior and content performance onsite. Comparing this information across several months can help you identify potential net new content opportunities. These 4 sources for data are readily available on just about every site.

  1. Analytics - Referencing your business’ analytics platform will inform you what landing pages users are visiting. Using behavioral KPIs such as time on page and bounce rates will inform you if users are finding the information they are searching for. 

    Prioritize your analysis on pages with high bounce rates first - focusing copy improvements and redirecting users to other relevant pages to ensure they are provided the information they ultimately want.
  2. On-site Search - On-site Search capability (where available) is the functionality that allows users to retrieve results from a website by typing queries into a search bar.  This will tell you exactly what users are looking for when they are searching on your site. 

    Using those search queries as blog post topics and intertwining them within on-page copy is a great way to make updates and ensure you show up for those queries.

  3. Google Search Console - Google Search Console has a Performance report to show how important data points such as search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and what search queries are being used to drive organic traffic to your site, click-through rates (CTRs) and their average keyword rank.

    This data will help you understand what your top traffic drivers are and opportunities to enhance lower-performing drives such as paid search, social media, and email marketing.

    Not all content should be treated the same; some content might perform better for organic/direct traffic whereas other content might be better suited for paid media and email. Use the data to determine how to best optimize and test content through the various channels.

  4. Google Trends - In terms of identifying trends, Google Trends is a very useful tool to help identify particular searches related to your business & vertical. It also provides helpful information such as the geographic areas where those searches are taking place the most. 

For example, in light of the Federal Government slashing interest rates, there's a heightened focus on "mortgage" searches (see image below). 

There are also "related queries" (image below) that indicate popular related searches to help identify net new content opportunities to maximize.

In times of crisis, it is imperative for organizations to be practicing good corporate social responsibility, especially if you have an online presence. Doing so will position your brand well in consumers eyes’ today and especially for tomorrow. Search engine marketing is the most effective method of getting your message out. The time is to act now. Make sure to check out our 5-min read on how both B2B and B2C organizations can transform their digital marketing efforts amid the COVID-related disruption.

For any questions about this article or if you would like to find out more information on how Sagepath can help with you with SEO and other digital marketing strategies and execution, please reach out to hello@sagepath.com.