What people search for online is one of the best indicators when it comes to understanding public sentiment and gauging consumer behaviour and intent.
And the Covid-19 pandemic has in many ways re-written the rulebook in this regard – since the advent of the internet, no single event has caused such a global polarisation of interest.
From searches relating to the dangers of the virus to children to how to make face masks from socks, financial security to lockdown hobbies, the number of searches for Covid-related topics has dwarfed other searches by more than 100-fold across the board since March this year.
What does this mean for my business?
In short, it means you need to review and adjust your online content strategy to ensure your website is aligned with the most topical search terms, and your content marketing strategy focuses on driving a relatable value offering.
But it’s more complex than usual to achieve this – because of the skewed search habits it’s likely that your Google Analytics will show some unusual trends, and interpreting the data may be more difficult.
And the competition to achieve a first page, top 5 result in Search is even higher than usual, and Google has also just released a core algorithm update to re-prioritise content’s validity, usefulness and trustworthiness.
Here are some key tips to help you with your SEO strategy for the coming months.
1. Focus on trust
Consumers are in need of reassurance that the brands they connect with have their best interests at heart. Do away with hard-line selling in favour of content that focuses on comfort, hope and empathy, and most importantly usefulness.
A recent study from Conductor reveals that brands that deliver educational or useful content are 48% more likely to retain a consumer’s trust, and build affinity that will convert into sales at some point.
Build trust by focussing your content on evergreen topics related to what your company does, and remember to be relevant to as many people in your local area as possible. Proximity and ease of delivery, for businesses who have goods for sale, is a key aspect that customers will look for, and a drive to support local businesses is a factor you should be taking into account.
You should also post new news or blog content as often as possible – a recent study by HubSpot shows that businesses publishing regular blog posts generate almost 5 times more leads than companies which don’t.
2. Keep your information up to date
If your business opening hours or your delivery services for your goods have been affected by Covid-19, let your customers know with clear information on your website and social media channels.
Update your Google My Business page, home page messaging, email and other direct marketing messaging to ensure people are completely aware of any changes.
3. Ramp up Cyber Security
Unfortunately the Covid crisis has sparked a raft of phishing and other online scams designed to get sensitive information or defraud consumers online.
Monitor your log files, implement Single Sign On (SSO) systems, ensure your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is in place and update any third-party plugins or Apps you use to make sure your site is as secure as it can be.
4. Survey your audience as regularly as you can
Use your social media channels or other online tools to ask your audience what they need, and how your products or services can be of use to them. You can use polls on Facebook, for example, or tools like Survey Monkey or forms on your website to truly understand how to reach and help your audience effectively.
Not a quick fix, but a long-term gain
Remember that organic SEO may take time to generate the same results as paid advertising, but the hard work now will pay dividends as the pandemic eases and life begins to return to some form of normal.
The customers you are likely to attract by adopting the above SEO strategy are going to be more qualified, looking to support local business, in need of brands they can trust, and part of your growth in affinity over the longer term.