The COVID-19 pandemic has led to mass closures of businesses of all sizes as a preventive measure geared towards worldwide sanitation and safety.
As such, social distancing and working remotely have accelerated a trend that was slowly on its way up anyway – the increase in digitization throughout our day-to-day lives.
It’s clear that the measures we’ve taken to combat the coronavirus, resulting in the majority of us spending most of our time at home, has led to an even higher level of digital engagement than ever before. From interacting with one another online (“zooming”), to entertainment (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), to searching and making virtually all of our purchases online – are all becoming the new norm.
You can see just how much mobile ecommerce, for example, has exploded exponentially from Statistca’s research:
So if customers can’t be out in physical retail locations, online is the place to be. Regardless of whether you’re a solely brick-and-mortar store or fully online ecommerce business, now’s the time to reinforce your online presence and ability to attract new customers, considering how search and shopping behaviour has changed in a few short months.
The Argument for Search Engine Optimization
First and foremost, search engine optimization continues to be a wise digital marketing channel to invest in right now. SEO is admittedly a long-term strategy, but at least you’ll know you’ll recoup value at some point with its proven, exponential ROI.
Though search figures across many industries are currently down, remember SEO is not based on campaigns – it runs freely, on its own, around the clock. SEO is always working for your online presence. Unlike PPC, for example, SEO is immune to decreases in budget, which can drive up the cost per impression.
So, we suggest solidifying your SEO with these 4 strategies that’ll help you continuously build your online presence and attract all the new potential customers that are now shopping online. Note that if you’re not familiar with SEO best practices, it’s best to invest in a digital marketing agency or SEO company to lay the foundations of your online presence, to ensure you’re not overstepping any ‘black hat SEO’ techniques, which can lead to your site being blacklisted from Google.
Be mindful of users’ search intent
Search intent is the goal a user is trying to achieve when they input a query into a search engine. For example, a user inputting ‘Nike Air Force 1’s size 9 in white’ shows a transactional nature, meaning the search intent is to buy.
It’s playing a greater role in search as search engines become more intelligent. And search intent can change overtime; as another example, searching for ‘coronavirus’ used to deliver users information about the virus itself, and now, the intent has shifted to information and updates from local governments and news outlets.
What we can learn and apply to our own websites is to monitor intent shifts and how they’re affecting traffic to your site. In certain cases, when ‘visit in person’ intents aren’t possible, being mindful and adapting to these changes are key to brick-and-mortar stores with Google listings.
This can be done by setting up intent analysis, or going a step further, scaling or using machine learning. Be sure you’re up to date with changes in Google My Business, which can provide updates on any coronavirus-related modifications.
Strategize and implement an interlinking strategy
Leverage your site structure and higher ranking pages that have domain authority to capture and uplift new search queries you’re targeting. Google uses how the pages in your site link with one another to decipher the most important and valuable pages on your site.
Therefore, linking new pages targeted with new search queries with your existing pages that have already built authority and are ranking will give them some of that ‘link juice’ and make them rank more quickly.
You can do this by creating what’s called a “pillar page” or category pages, and link any new, coronavirus pages to related topics on your site. Remember, interlinks must be relevant!
Capture ranking opportunities with an SEO audit
An SEO audit will highlight areas of improvement on your site (i.e. pages that aren’t ranking well for their target keyword, pages that don’t follow best practices, etc.). This will help you rank higher for keywords you’ve identified that are important to you, giving you a higher percentage of expected monthly search traffic for that keyword.
You can become an SEO beginner with this starter pack, and try to leverage that knowledge with an SEO audit to start improving your site to rank higher on search engines. An audit template can help keep you organized, too.
Don’t forget about technical SEO, too
Off-page SEO can be as critical as on-page optimization, too. In fact, some backend SEO practices are highly prioritized, even moreso than a vast chunk of on-page factors – page load speed is one such example.
Take the time now to fix up any technical errors on your site, and watch your web rankings improve like magic.
This may be difficult or overwhelming to go at it alone. To ensure you’re getting it right, you may want to consider hiring an experienced digital marketing agency or SEO consultant to get your site ranking sooner than later. If you have an in-house web development team, consider adding the above recommendations to their To-Do list.