The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive spike of organic search traffic from consumers turning to the internet to seek out the latest news and deals, as well as do the majority of their shopping online. Despite the many challenges that come along with operating a business during a pandemic, this shift in consumer behavior opens up a world of opportunity to use SEO to connect your brand with this influx of online shoppers.
As a predominantly SEO-oriented company born out of the Great Recession 10 years ago, Webgears Group was uniquely poised to harness the power of organic search for our digital media partners when the economy started to go south earlier this year. Fast forward to today, and the payoff has been amazing: in last week’s installment of our “Commerce Content in Times of Crisis” series, we shared a case study about a custom deals platform we built for one of our media publisher partners, which has resulted in six-figure monthly incremental revenue on top of their pre-existing commerce and affiliate marketing efforts.
We know one thing for certain: those who don’t use this moment to invest in SEO will completely miss out on an entire new wave of online shoppers and potential readers. Today, we’re going to share a few tips on how to make the most of these shifts in consumer behavior using SEO.
Take advantage of new search trends
With so many people staying home in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus or due to work-from-home requirements, it’s reasonable to assume that they may be thinking more about home-based activities – like redecorating, gardening, learning online, enhancing their home office or working out – than they had beforehand.
Take some time to do a quick audit of your site or platform to see if you have any pages oriented around these kinds of activities. By optimizing these pages for consumers searching in this new normal, Google will begin to crawl them more easily and routinely. In return, your rankings potential for these trending and lucrative keywords will increase.
To give an example from our own business, we saw that food delivery services were becoming a hot topic back in late March after restaurants initially shut down in-house dining and moved to takeout-only. We optimized numerous landing pages on our partner platforms to focus on the most highly sought after services in this sector like Postmates, Grubhub and Caviar. This ultimately led to these pages ranking on Page 1 for the keywords we originally optimized for (such as “food delivery deals,” “contactless food delivery,” “Postmates promo codes,” and more) and set us up for success to take advantage of the tremendous spike in search-based traffic to these specific queries.
Make sure editorial content is relevant and fresh
No matter how much you optimize your pages for this continued influx in traffic, consumers will be quick to bounce if your content isn’t what they were looking for. For example, sticking with our food delivery example, the industry is changing day by day: consumers have come to expect constant changes in opening times, restrictions and delivery practices. Your content should always be up to date and reflect these changes accordingly.
Besides ensuring that we had all the deals and promo codes available for the food delivery services we mentioned above, we made sure our informational and editorial content related to each was updated to reflect each service’s unique offerings in the context of the pandemic. This included listing out and explaining any special “contactless” options offered, specials for new users, how to navigate the app of each service and more.
In part due to these changes and frequent updates, our deal platforms in partnership with large media brands in the U.S. consistently ranked in the top 5 search engine results pages for search queries related to these services during the first few months of lockdowns and closures throughout the country.
Keep your eye on the prize
As a commerce content publisher or other digital media brand, by not investing in additional SEO optimizations and fine-tuning your best practices now, you’ll be forfeiting the opportunity to reach countless readers searching for your content who will land on publications who optimized their offering as necessary for these extraordinary times instead. If you don’t customize your content around the current economic and societal situation, you will also risk missing them at various or altered stages of their sales journey.
The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for an unprecedented shift in search trends, regulations and practices. By intelligently investing in the right SEO optimizations, and ensuring that your most sought after content and landing pages accurately reflect the latest updates and trends, you’ll be properly preparing yourself for success.