By Rob Twells
A post-COVID world is a lot different from the one we were used to back at the start of 2020. People across the world have had to adapt to a new way of living, including how they work, travel, socialise, celebrate and shop. Unfortunately, due to the lockdowns and restrictions posed by the government and health officials, it’s not only the public who have struggled to adapt, but a lot of businesses have also suffered hugely during this time. Not only have thousands of people lost their jobs, but many businesses have had to close their doors for good following the effects of the pandemic.
The thing that we know for sure is that people are spending more time at home, and finding themself spending more time (and money) online. Businesses who adapt to the new digital shift will, in many cases, be the most successful during this period. This doesn’t only include ecommerce businesses with online payment platforms, but also industries across the board where online visibility can help to drive new and existing customers to physical locations with reassured COVID precautions in place.
Customers need to be able to find your business online, in order for them to then browse your product or service offering and then convert into a paying customer or visitor. Bill Gates famously said ‘If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.’ This is true – however, it isn’t as easy as just being on the internet. Your website needs to be able to be found easily on search engines, and remain visible to the right people in order to be successful. Now is the most important time to buckle down on an effective SEO strategy for your online presence to keep up with the rapidly changing world.
We have explained 4 of the ways you can use SEO to help your business during Coronavirus…
Your Google My Business profile is one of the first things a user may see of your business after googling your brand name, and provides a snapshot of useful information about your company. People tend to trust the details on this profile, so you need to ensure that the details are correct and up to date.
Due to Coronavirus, businesses are operating at special hours and this can change very quickly in line with government regulations. Making sure that you update the opening times will help both your regular customers, as well as helping to avoid frustration in customers who turn up expecting you to be open, or wondering why no one is answering the phone. Many businesses are also experiencing long wait times, so it’s time to let your customers know about it.
Similarly, you should also update the contact page on your website with this information. Let people know how your business is operating, of any temporary changes, and when/how customers can contact or book. Make sure that all information on your GMB profile is consistent with the contact page information, as this is important for your local visibility.
One of the best ways to boost your traffic in the short-term is to target trending terms, which I think we can all agree that coronavirus is a pretty popular topic at the moment. People have adopted new priorities, have new concerns and a potentially limited income, so we know search behaviour has shifted during this period. In order to accommodate the shift in customer habits, you will need to adapt your SEO strategy to target the new post-COVID world to accommodate.
Broad terms may mean you will be competing with high-authority, globally renowned sites such as the BBC, but if you focus on lots of long-tail, niche-specific keywords related to the pandemic, you are much more likely to see success from your efforts. See how Coronavirus relates to your business or service offering and create content as fit. For example, we created a relevant blog post for our fabulous client David Barber Occupational Health, on the topic of musculoskeletal pain after poor home working practices. This blog post targets coronavirus-related keywords to do with the lockdown and the changes in work behaviour for office workers across the country.
We know that a lot of potential customers rely on other people’s experiences with your business when it comes to choosing you over your competitors… but did you know how important they were for SEO and your visibility? Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews on the Google My Business page, on your website and/or on a chosen registered review site.
Google has confirmed that it’s not only about having positive reviews, but responding to your reviews is also vital. Unfortunately, many businesses often overlook and neglect this duty. Having a dedicated person for your digital platforms, to take care of things like responding to reviews and updating your local profile can really help your business succeed in these times.
When it comes to your reviews, there may be some people out there who will leave bad reviews for whatever reason, the important thing is to not let it get to you. When responding to reviews it is important that your replies are calm and professional – here are some tips…
Google has become incredibly clever, and can tell when you are trying to manipulate the rankings with unnatural links, that is why it is such as a huge no in the world of SEO. Many people go as far as posting links in comments in forums and across different websites comment boxes, as well as paying for link schemes, PBNs, keyword stuffing and much more. These are all techniques that can damage the visibility of your website. Make sure you clean up your profile with one of the available online tools, ordering your link list by domain rating, and you can begin to weed out the spammy links made previously.
Instead, make sure you are using genuine link building techniques to gain new links to your site, and avoid any black-hat methods. Some of the white-hat link building methods we recommend are:
We hope you find this list useful and some of these SEO tips will come in handy for you whilst you battle with the business effects of coronavirus. If you’d like some help with your SEO don’t hesitate to get in touch with our digital marketing team.