As the COVID-19 situation develops, hourly updates are released detailing changes to consumer purchasing habits, supply chains, and distribution. These events are a first for business owners; how do you navigate during a period of economic uncertainty? Industries that rely on consumer activities – event spaces, restaurants, brick-and-mortar retail storefronts – probably need to reduce their ad spend in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that you should suspend 100% of your digital marketing efforts. In the days ahead, SEO will become the most important marketing tactic for businesses worldwide.
Repercussions of COVID-19
The coronavirus outbreak has reduced demand for countless industries. Travel and hospitality have been all but suspended across the country. Restaurants have either closed indefinitely or switched to delivery-only business models. Even retail giants like Amazon have stopped stocking nonessential products and have prioritized the fulfillment of orders containing household staples. In an eerie repeat of the 2008 Recession, the DOW has dropped precipitously.
As a result, many companies have begun to panic.
This reaction sets up businesses for a long-term struggle to recover. While many companies may lose revenue in the coming weeks, the one certainty is recovery. This means that when the smoke clears, the same standards for success will still exist. SEO and organic search are long-term marketing efforts; this competitive space requires continuous nurturing and attention, especially when your rivals have stopped investing in it. Even if it seems counterintuitive, this is the time to invest in smart digital strategy.
Why SEO Still Matters
Right now, SEO can help your business zig where others zag. While your competitors shutter marketing departments for the foreseeable future, you have a unique opportunity to get ahead of the curve. Once the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has cleared, you can emerge with a boosted ranking. This means more traffic, more business, and more profit once “normal” life resumes.
As we mentioned above, SEO is a long-term marketing channel. This means that your results grow over time; it takes about six months to start seeing noteworthy outcomes. After a year, you’ll see even higher numbers. During this time, your company is pulling ahead of (and outranking) industry competitors. Unfortunately, SEO is also a zero-sum game. If you’re not pulling ahead, you’re falling behind. This means that if you suspend all marketing efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak, you are likely to lose any previous progress made in years past.
How to Improve Your SEO during COVID-19
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to shore up your SEO and organic search efforts during this time. Most of these approaches center around creating smart, effective content that speaks to your customers’ needs.
Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. First, consider which of your services could be made available online. Legal professionals, for example, could provide remote sessions and consultations via video conference or a phone call. If you offer therapy, seek out secure, HIPAA-compliant software that will allow clients to receive teletherapy sessions. Build new pages explaining your novel approach to treatment during COVID-19. In the days ahead, it will be imperative to adapt to the “new normal” as quickly as possible; make this step your first priority.
Think Outside the Box. Remember that your services will still be needed during and after the coronavirus outbreak. For example, lawyers have seen high demand in response to the crisis – from advising employers on how to respond when employees test positive for COVID-19 to creating task forces that assist domestic and international clients in navigating these complex times, the need has never been higher for legal help. Even after the coronavirus pandemic ends, there will be countless contract disputes centered around event cancellations during this time. Be sure that your SEO is up to snuff in order to get your share of this business.
Help Your Clients. You can also create resources for potential and previous clients. For example, addiction treatment centers should make lists of guidelines about how alumni can protect their recovery during a pandemic. These resources will provide much-needed support for your clientele, with the added benefit of boosting your ranking.
Address the Issue. Next, think about building pages on your website that address the coronavirus and how your company policies have changed because of it. Have you transitioned to a fully remote staff? Will you be canceling all in-person meetings for the foreseeable future? Are you adhering to the protocols provided by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? This information is vital for your clients to easily find and understand.
Be Sensitive and Empathetic. Social distancing and self-quarantine have also created an unparalleled amount of online activity. Your audience is more engaged now than ever before. Be tactful in your posts to your blog and social media; don’t push products or make light of the situation. Rather, consider using your platform to share information about COVID-19 safety and company updates.
Spring Clean Your Digital Presence. This is also a great time to take care of those digital housekeeping items you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s removing outdated information on your website, responding to online reviews, or ensuring NAP consistency (name, address, phone) across platforms, there’s no doubt that you could start chipping away at that to-do list now.
Digital in a Time of Coronavirus
We know things are uncertain right now. Instead of panicking, continue to invest in your business in the ways that make sense: long-term efforts that will pay dividends in the future. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help.
Webconsuls is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, with offices in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.