The COVID-19 pandemic has turned businesses on their head overnight, with many unable to trade or having to adapt their offering considerably in order to stay afloat.
The chances are that marketing was the last thing on your mind in the initial weeks of lockdown, but as the UK begins to return to a “new normal” with non-essential businesses reopening, doubling down on your digital marketing strategy will be the key to finding new customers and driving sales.
Though social media, content marketing, and pay-per-click can be adapted quickly to suit our changing times, SEO requires more thought and careful planning. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our top tips on changing your search engine optimisation campaign post-crisis…
Understand customer demand
Whether you’ve been running a campaign for years or you’re new to the game, it is vital that you take a step back and assess the economic situation. Consumers had been spending considerably less on non-essential goods, but as the public mood changes, buying habits and behaviours are changing dramatically and new high-demand categories are emerging.
A report from Business Leader suggests COVID-19 will permanently shift the UK towards ecommerce and that retail will never fully recover from the pandemic. If you’re not already offering your products online, now’s the time to make the transition to an ecommerce store.
Monitor search trends for products in your niche and update your SEO campaign accordingly to maximise sales and results. In the initial weeks of the pandemic, products like trampolines and sleeping bags weren’t in high demand, but as consumers adapt to life in lockdown and look for ways to entertain their children, such products are now selling out everywhere.
Where possible, assess the current situation and forecast for the future. As travel restrictions are lifted, there’ll be an uplift in demand for fashion, travel, and lifestyle products – but you’ve got to position yourself responsibly and appropriately with the right keywords. Target terms like “Travel sanitizer” and “summer clothing sale” to push buyers to your ecommerce store.
Don’t pause your campaign
Although you’ve likely to have suffered losses in recent months, we cannot stress enough the importance of consistency in marketing. It’s easy to cut your budget overnight when sales dry up, but without maintaining your marketing, you’ll have an uphill battle when you’re ready to trade and want to find customers. If your competitors keep on going, you must, too!
If you simply must cut your marketing budget, make SEO a priority and focus on high-impact strategies like link building and content writing that can be adapted without much upheaval.
You should also try not to focus too much on the pandemic – it’s all well and good ranking at number one for “lockdown” terms in your niche but those keywords will have a short lifespan.
Use your time wisely
If you’ve suffered a drop in sales and don’t know what to do with your time, make SEO the priority in the short term. You don’t need to be an expert to make impactful changes to your website. We’ve rounded up some basics that can keep you occupied in the weeks ahead:
- Write quality content that’s engaging and packed with relevant keywords
- Update product descriptions to address the situation, identifying new use cases
- Prioritise content writing based on current consumer behaviour; a blog post on summer holidays might not be relevant now, but a piece on garden parties would be
- Reach out to bloggers and thought leaders in your niche to ask for a brand mention or link back to your website – guest blogging is a great way to build links organically
- Optimise your calls to action – don’t be pushy for non-essential purchases; show your compassion as a brand. Offer value and information that will improve visitors’ lives
Understand traffic drops will only be temporary
Although social media use has jumped considerably during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of professionals furloughed or working from home, spending is down as economic uncertainty dampens ecommerce growth. That, as a result, means web impressions and searches will drop too, but it’s important to remember that this decline will only be temporary.
Now is not the time to abandon your strategy; have confidence in the path you were taking pre-pandemic and keep your eye on the first page of Google. Searches may be down in the short-term, but they’ll rebound as consumer confidence returns in the months ahead.
Make sure your website covers COVID-19
It’s natural to want to avoid “the elephant in the room” – but consumers expect brands to keep them updated on the coronavirus pandemic. We recommend a splash page or banner on your website to inform customers of the changes you’re making during the current crisis.
You might want to address slower delivery times, limited stock, changes to hygiene policies or even that your business has been unaffected; the key is to acknowledge the situation.
Keep an eye on any FAQ pages or content that may be outdated, and check in weekly to ensure your information is still accurate and up to date. If you’ve discontinued a product or service temporarily, don’t delete the page; instead, add an alert to let users know why.
Monitor changes to your keywords
Monitor changes in the search engine results pages and take full advantage of traffic spikes.
The more closely you follow rankings, the more likely you’ll be to spot a gap in the market or an opportunity to upsell, which may require some changes to your product or landing pages.
Keeping an eye on your competitors’ SEO will also offer valuable insights into your industry.
Update your Google My Business profile
Finally, make sure you update your Google My Business profile with changes to opening hours for your physical location.
Google has added a dedicated COVID-19 response tab, so you can update your customers on changes you’ve made to your business.
You might want to remind visitors to wash their hands before visiting your store and alert them to your social distancing and queuing policies; SEO is all about keeping your customers properly informed.
If you’re struggling to find the time to focus on search engine optimisation, depend on the SEO experts here at Zudu. We can help you outmanoeuvre the competition and offer your visitors and customers real value in a time where information and clarity are so important.
Call us on 01382 690080 or click here to find out more about our unique 12-step SEO plan.