Even though the demand for some industries has dropped during the pandemic, no matter what market or industry you’re involved in, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for every business.

With the social distancing policies implementation combined with an exponential increase in internet usage, coronavirus creates a great time for businesses to focus on their internet presence – even small businesses and non-essential businesses can benefit from implementing SEO during this time.

In this article, we are going to cover:

  • How COVID has impacted search traffic 
  • 5 SEO Tips that any business can start implementing
  • Why SEO still matters during this time

How COVID has Impacted Search Traffic 

It’s no secret that search traffic has skyrocketed during this outbreak. As travel comes to a halt, stores reduce hours and capacities we find ourselves spending more time at home and online. With the pandemic changing people’s general behaviors, there came a change in their search behavior as well. 

1. COVID-19 Dropped US Store Visits by 90% in One Month

This may be an obvious fact, as people practice social distancing and many businesses are forced to keep reduced hours and limit their in-store capacity, many brick-and-mortar stores are feeling the struggles of limited in-person visits.

Covid 19 Business Trends Store Visits

For Google Ads, many digital marketers track in-store visit conversions to understand the offline impact of their online advertising. 

Most local agencies optimize their Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns using these in-store conversion metrics. With the decrease in-store foot traffic, COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for marketers using in-store conversions as a metric.

2.COVID Dominates New Searches

As both the virus and government news updates continue, we are continuously learning about the virus in real-time which is reflected in Google Search traffic. Over the past few months, Google searches containing “coronavirus” and “COVID” have certainly escalated causing decreasing traffic to long-standing highly searched topics. For example, “travel booking” or “tax preparation,” have seen a significant decrease in search volume compared to previous years.

Google Search Interest of “Corona Virus” for North America

Covid 19 Business Trends New Searches

3. Mobile Search Traffic Cut by nearly 25% 

With many staying home, no longer commuting, and not traveling, we see the impact of our decrease in physical mobility affecting our mobile search use as well. This resulted in a large decline in mobile search traffic.

Covid 19 Business Trends Search Traffic DeclineCovid 19 Business Trends Search Traffic Decline

5 SEO Tips that All Businesses Should Be Implementing

With the shift in societal norms and COVID regulations in place, comes a shift in buyers and online behaviors. Here are some SEO tips your business can implement today to be proactive during this current market.

1. Start Targeting Local Search Traffic 

Especially in the Canadian region, we see an increased interest in consumers wanting to support local small businesses as opposed to large corporations with high liquidity. 

Take advantage of this! 

There are many ways to capitalize on increased local business traffic with SEOs. Some of these include conducting a local listing audit, getting Google My Business approved, and using demographically targeted keywords for your region.

2. Create More Quality Content 

On the plus side of the pandemic, you may have extra time on your hands or be able to focus more on content and branding. Use this time to create quality evergreen blog posts and social media content. 

Use this content creation to answer more questions about your business: Where you come from, where your products come from, how are they made. Or even sharing more about how your business is coping during this time. 

Just note that consumers love learning more about a brand and the faces behind a business – you already have the content, you just need to share it.

3. Target Local Media Sites or Stations

Most local businesses are looking to support other surrounding businesses in their area. Get in contact with radio stations, magazines, or newspapers to ask to be featured on their site and create a backlink to your site. 

You already know from the statistics that COVID is trending. Many are not only interested in the virus itself but how businesses are responding to it as well. 

Start sharing your safety protocols in response to the virus and target relative keywords in those categories. 

5. Update Already Performing Content 

If you already have content that is performing well, use this to your advantage.  Regulating and updating your content is a great way to increase your click-through-rate and often improve your rankings. 

You can update content by updating your keyword research, improving your headlines, improving your calls to actions, and update the freshness of your content.  

Why Does SEO Still Matter During COVID-19?

Though, one of the advantages of SEO over PPC is that it’s free, it is more time-consuming, and is a long-term investment. You usually don’t see SEO gains until three to six months of application.

That being said it is better to start focusing on SEO improvements now so that in a few month’s time when the threat of COVID-19 passes, your business can see better rankings and conversion rates. 

Furthermore, there is no bad time to create and publish content. As content creation is a sample for SEO, there is never harm in creating as much content as you have time for. You can even keep content on the backburner and stockpile the material for when business picks back up.

Lastly, as travel restrictions continue, consumers are seeking out nearby businesses to support and to fulfill their needs. And, SEO can help local businesses stand apart from competitors. 

SEO may be the solution for businesses experiencing the slower business and financial burdens of the pandemic. It can help your business become more competitive and viable on current searches and set yourself for success once the search behavior normalizes.

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