In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 much of the world has moved into virtual spaces. Doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, even visiting your grandmother or writing your A-levels are things that now routinely happen online. Naturally, overall internet usage has increased heavily over the past year.
Despite that, many small businesses have seen a decrease in organic traffic to their website. This seems counter-intuitive. If there are more people on the internet than ever before, traffic should be higher than ever before, right?
Well, no. First, it is important to realise that “internet usage” does not equal to search engine traffic. While overall internet usage has gone up drastically, most of that usage is actually dedicated to a wide array of activities such as virtual meetings or electronic file transfers. So, there might be an increase in search volume, but it’s probably not as significant as you’d think.
Secondly, our analysis of Google search patterns and user behaviour over the last months shows an apparent trend. People are mainly looking for Corona related information from relevant businesses. So, if you’re a small business that doesn’t really have anything to do with Corona or its surrounding health advice, you might be left behind. And if you are a relevant business, chances are your competition for those first SERP spots has increased exponentially.
Today we want to run some tips by you, especially If you’re a small business owner struggling with its SEO during the pandemic. We’ve already established that search volume has gone up, and additionally, a shift in general consumer consciousness has led to increasing support for small businesses over mega-corporations.
If Your Business Is Relevant, Utilise Those Covid-19 Keywords
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to you if you’re a local candle maker or whatnot. But if your business is even the slightest bit relevant to this ongoing health crisis, make sure that Google knows. Use a keyword research tool to find some general keywords relating to Covid-19 and think about how you can make them even more relevant to your particular business.
The competition here is fierce. Simply using “Covid-19” or “Corona” on your page will not lead you anywhere, as there are millions of websites like those of the WHO or the NHS competing for the top ranking spots for these keywords. This brings us to the next point;
Use Long-Tail Keywords (Especially If Your Business Is Corona Relevant)
If you’ve ever worked in an SEO agency or other SEO related industries, you know that a good long-tail keyword strategy is where it’s at. Optimising your entire website to rank high for a generic term like “Corona” might potentially lead to a massive increase in traffic, but that’s just that. Traffic. A real SEO-whiz doesn’t just want any traffic; they want highly relevant traffic. Traffic that converts into purchases.
And this matters, especially now that millions of businesses are competing for the top SERP spots. Research your keywords and make sure you find the most relevant ones for your business. Don’t just cram generic keywords hoping to make it big; focus on driving traffic to your site that actually converts.
Stick To Producing “Evergreens”, Despite the Temptation
In the SEO-world, an evergreen is usually an article or blog post that is guaranteed to draw in potential customers, regardless of current media trends or world events. Only writing about trending topics might give you a quick boost, but these pages will naturally decline in traffic as the topic gets old.
Content written on evergreen topics, however, stays exactly that: forever green. Think of it like that, if you’re a travel agency you can probably boost your traffic this month by releasing a “Best places to visit during the pandemic” article. But how much traffic will that article bring once the pandemic isn’t at the forefront of the world’s collective mind anymore? Very little…
Instead, write, for example, a FAQ article that answers generic questions related to the travelling industry. This is an evergreen. It will bring in users now, during the pandemic, but also after. It’s a topic that stays relevant no matter what is currently going on in the world. And you can even update it to reflect your users’ behaviour and search terms! Wow!
Make Use of Local Search
Besides the positive consequence of significantly upping search traffic, the pandemic has also brought a lot of economic devastation. There is a good chance local businesses around you have gone out of business. And while that is no reason to celebrate, you should still do your best to swoop up their customers.
Follow local SEO strategies so that your business appears when people search for terms like “… near me” or “… open now”. It also heightens your visibility on Google Maps, something that’s become increasingly more important over time.
Despite massive changes in consumer behavior; generally, it seems like the pandemic has not had too much of an impact on most small business SEO strategies. Suppose your business is relevant to the current pandemic. In that case, your best bet is to target long-tail keywords, preferably even with a stated intent (like “buy” or “rent”), because otherwise, you are going to compete with millions of others for the short-tail, generic keywords. In general, resist the urge only to produce Covid-19 relevant content and instead focus on evergreens.
There is much to learn about this new generation of consumers, but currently, it appears as if most proven SEO strategies remain exactly that: proven. Unless your business is highly relevant to the current situation, you are best advised to stick to what you do: Keep optimising!