The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of millions of people around the world. It has also had a big impact on consumer behaviour across all industries.
The digital marketing sector has not been immune to these changes. As consumers increasingly turn to online shopping over in-store visits, SEO experts are struggling to keep up with the latest trends and strategies. Here are 4 key trends that we’ve seen emerge over the past several months.
“Position zero” (aka the featured snippet for a search phrase in Google) has long been a highly prized marketing tool for SEO-driven companies. Not only does content at position zero provide the source website with massive first page exposure, but it is also highly relevant to the searcher’s intent.
Companies are continuing to invest time and resources into obtaining these coveted featured snippets. This trend has only accelerated since the outbreak of COVID-19. People want specific answers to specific questions, and featured snippets provide them with exactly what they need. Expect to see competition for position zero increase over a wide range of search phrases.
In addition, companies will no doubt continue to experiment with the best formatting for their featured snippets. Common formats at the present time include paragraph, numbered list, table, and even video. Marketers will also focus their efforts on featured snippets that have a high Clicks Per Search threshold (i.e., featured snippets that give a basic answer to a complex question, which in turn encourages the user to click on the site for further information).
COVID-Related Search Terms
It’s no surprise that in the current crisis popular search phrases often revolve around COVID-19-related questions. For example, people may want to know common symptoms of the disease, how to prevent exposure to it, and what steps brands are taking to protect their customers.
Many companies have begun incorporating COVID-related search terms in their keyword strategy. For instance, many HVAC and plumbing firms have included a section on their home page that details what sanitary/hygienic steps they are taking during in-home visits to protect their customers from accidental exposure to the virus. Business consultants are continuing to upload content that discusses how entrepreneurs can grow their business and consumer base in the midst of the pandemic.
Whatever sector your business is in, no doubt COVID-19 has affected your customers as well. Examine ways to incorporate COVID-related keywords in your own SEO strategy, and regularly optimise at least a few pieces of content for those keywords.
Local SEO Optimisation
Even though many brick and mortar retailers have taken a big hit during this pandemic, the rumours of the death of in-store shopping have been greatly exaggerated. As many “stay at home” restrictions are lifted throughout the industrialised world, many consumers will likely revert to old shopping habits in regard to local businesses.
Business owners have discovered that local SEO optimisation has been crucial to weathering the storm. As one example, many companies have ensured that their Google My Business listing is up to date with all the latest information, including COVID-related adjustments to business hours and services offered. Restaurants have replaced their “dine in” option with “take-out” or “delivery”; hair stylists have made it known that at present they will only take appointments, and have established limits on the number of patrons allowed in their establishment at one time.
Ensuring that your business’ local SEO has been optimised with such vital information is key to remaining ahead of the competition throughout the remainder of this pandemic.
Keywords and phrases that target niche audiences (or “long-tail keywords”) have proven to be a successful tactic for organizations both large and small for many years. COVID-19 has only reinforced the power that such long-tail keywords contain. Consumers that are looking for very specific products, yet are no longer able to physically search through a brick and mortar store, are now turning to Google search and eCommerce sites. By incorporating highly targeted long-tail keywords in your content, you’ll be able to capture a high percentage of this niche search traffic, and no doubt boost your conversion rate.
In summary, the outbreak of COVID-19 has changed some SEO trends, and accelerated others. By incorporating the above-mentioned SEO techniques into your overall marketing strategy, your business will be in position to not only survive, but thrive during this difficult time. Of course, implementing effective SEO is easier said than done. If you need any assistance, reach out to our friendly team of SEO experts at Click Squad today.