SEO DURING THE PANDEMIC


Importance of SEO During this Global Pandemic

Current scenario in the SEO Industry

The global pandemic known as COVID-19 is affecting almost every part of life all over the world.

As the global economy reels from the impact of this disease, businesses are shifting strategies, hoarding cash and preparing for the worst.

But the reality is that businesses can thrive in downtimes.

There will be business winners and losers in this new global normal.

And many of the winners will invest heavily in search engine marketing.

Source: Statista

You’ve heard many people tell you that SEO is vital right now because internet use is the highest it’s ever been.

The first part of that statement—that SEO is crucial at this time—is right, but why this needs some more investigation. Let me explain.

Yes, internet activity has skyrocketed during this outbreak, but don’t forget that “internet use” does not refer exclusively to online search.

But in addition to online search, it includes a wide array of activities such as movie streaming, mobile apps, social media, electronic transfers, virtual meetings, gaming, and more.

Organic traffic is down in most industries.

Source: Neil Patel

This helps us to get a clear understanding that SEO looks very different, depending on the industry.

For relevant and essential businesses, SEO is necessary for standing out and getting chosen over competitors.

For nonessential and temporarily closed businesses, SEO seems a lot less critical—pointless.

But SEO is essential, and might even be crucial, for all SMBs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Recent Google Algorithm Updates 2020 & What They Mean?

What is the latest Google Algorithm Update?, is a question that SEOs search the most nowadays.

The primary reason for the "Google Algorithm Update" becoming such a trending keyword is the uncertainty caused by each update's rollout.

Google team rolls out hundreds of core algorithm updates each year, and the search engine giant announces a few that have a far-reaching impact on the SERP.

And every time Google updates its algorithm, it's moving a step forward in making the search experience easy and more relevant to the users.

However, as SEO professionals, we get entangled with clients' questions on why the update caused fluctuation in rankings.

Unusual SERP Changes During Unusual Times (March – April)

The weeks following the spread of COVID-19 have been quite tumultuous with almost all Google Algorithm Update checkers displaying spikes in algorithm activity.

I'm not sure whether this is due to the global trends after the worldwide pandemic or because of some incremental updates that Google has rolled out.

Google has made several steps to ensure that no fake news goes out to the public through their SERP, and this has resulted in many Health and Wellness websites seeing massive fluctuations.

If you check the SERP page for COVID-19, it's evident that Google doesn't want to take a chance by listing sites other than the high authority ones.

Google Starts Rolling Out May 2020 Core Update: 04/05/2020

After two months of rest, the SEO community has to brace for yet another Google Broad Core Algorithm Update.

Announcing the roll-out of the latest core update, the Official Search Liaison Twitter handle said, the update has started rolling out across different data centers.

Source: Google SearchLiaison

Unlike the regular updates that Google launches, the broad core algorithm update has vast implications. It is notorious for shuffling the organic results, causing fluctuations in the organic rankings of websites.

However, there is no quick SEO fix if a broad core algorithm update hits your website, says Google team.

The decline in the organic ranking is not because your website has serious SEO issues, but it is the result of Google finding better outcomes for the search query.

Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update: 23/06/2020

If you're in the SEO industry for ao long, you know that Google has a history of rolling back some of the signals after the rollout of Broad Core Updates.

However, again these changes are not announced, and it's only through the sensors that we get to know about the SERP fluctuations.

It looks like Google has rolled back a few May Core Update signals on the 23rd of June as we have seen websites hit by the last Broad Core Update getting ranking improvements.

Source: SEMRush Sensor

Bottom line: No matter what, remember always to keep your users top of mind. If you’re honestly making strategic decisions that will ultimately benefit your target audience, you’re doing SEO right. And for that, you will be rewarded.

3) Post-pandemic SEO Industry Scenario

After seeing the surge in the selling of "Online Digital Marketing Courses," there are now more marketers than the demand itself in the industry.

With such competitiveness, it's hard for companies to choose the right marketer for their businesses.

As we currently say to our clients, "we have to change our marketing strategies to suit this current situation', we also have to be more adaptive with the above competition.

To be truthful, we are in the industry where we are always in the limelight, whether with your team head or agency boss or with clients.

A few suggestions to be relevant in the industry (for SEO Freelancers & Agency Owners):

Focus on your blog/website SEO. Topics are ranging from competitive industry terms to Covid-19 impact + 'Industry.' Well researched long-tail keywords will help you get the upper hand from the competition.

Focus on your GMB listings, optimize and ask past clients to leave a review for your business.

Publish case studies and success stories

Focus on Personal Branding

Take interviews or get interviewed by industry-relevant people.

Create or join related online webinars

Focus on expanding your networks

Update your digital marketing skills & knowledge

Make use of Videos

Providing discounts for clients opting for long-term contracts

Don't run ads for Digital Marketing service unless you have a discounted or cheap/affordable package to highlight.

The Cost Per Lead is very high, and most customers are looking for quick short term success with a limited budget.

For big-ticket size leads, you need to focus on Personal branding, Networking & Word of mouth marketing.

Instead of direct ads, try highlighting case studies and customer testimonials.

(Note: for tackling fake marketers, the only option I feel is to ask RIGHT questions.

Instead of calling them on your personal profile post, get on a video call or a community group text discussion, and conclude)

These competition scenarios have always been there; it's just as the market demand has decreased; we are now seeing it more clearly.

A few suggestions to be relevant in the industry (for SEO Clients):

Focus on long-form content.

Balance short- and long-term goals

Target coronavirus keywords

Modify website design and content for pandemic themes

Reoptimize newly relevant content

Target new search terms

Keep up your traditional keyword strategy

Update top-performing content

Update your Google My Business profile

Don't leave SEO alone and use an integrated and multi-channel digital marketing strategy for your business.

I know it's hard to predict the next step with so many variables, but since the outbreak, our business strategy continues to grow following the new needs and pains of SME's business requirements.

Ever since the pandemic started, I asked many questions and listened to many stories to shape my strategies to strive in the industry.

My team and network of SEOs have collected and shared their best advice to adapt to the changing landscape we all face. I hope that these combined suggestions based on my experience in this article will help you and your teams.

Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts and feedback with me:

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