Everywhere you look right now, there is something about Coronavirus. The internet and news stations globally are filled with COVID-19 and self-quarantine chatter. It is safe to say that the virus has put everything on a ‘lockdown’.
The only thing spreading faster than the virus itself is panic among people, especially among business owners. Many small businesses have reacted by reducing or suspending operations and are already feeling the toll of the businesses. As the global economy reels from the impact of this disease, businesses are shifting strategies and preparing for the worst.
But, you have to look at the other side of the coin. As travel comes to a virtual halt, most of us are stuck in our homes to avoid and halt the spread of the virus. So you can make use of this time to ‘optimize’ your business.
Just because the country is under lockdown does not mean you have to do the same to your business. And as the pandemic has caused the store visits to go down by 90% in1 month, the scope for SEO is unprecedented.
Here’s an important reason on why you should absolutely continue or even optimize your SEO activities.
- When everything settles down, you need to be there
Despite what some of the folks on Facebook seem to think, the world is not coming to an end. Eventually, things will go back to normal. It may be different, and there may be a new normal, but the world will stabilize.
And SEO is still going to be one of the most effective ways to reach your customers organically. So those who implement an effective SEO strategy during the downtimes will be prepared for the new wave of searches that is going to hit the internet globally.
Now, let’s make one thing very clear – DO NOT use coronavirus as a means to promote your products and services. Google has already made the necessary changes in their algorithm where any misuse of the crisis for promotion would be considered as spam and your website could be penalized. If your business has nothing to do with the virus, keep it away from your content strategy unless you are strictly providing information to your audience and there’s no foul play involved.
Now, let us look at a few things you CAN do as part of your SEO strategy.
- Do an audit
Conducting an SEO audit is a must for identifying problems and opportunities. You can use free tools like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and see issues that should be addressed. You can also manually go through your site’s content, determine what needs refreshing, and keep an eye out for design/usability issues.
Also, ever since the lockdown, a lot of paid tools have been made temporarily free to use. So make the most of them for your website and find out what works best for you and what doesn’t.
- Clean up your site
As simple as it sounds, that is exactly what you have to do. You need to prioritize fixing bugs that are directly tied to the performance of your website instead of implementing new features. Closely monitor to see if your site is being crawled, indexed, rendered, and ranked by search engines to identify any issues that may arrive.
If you have multiple pages on your site you should check your click depth. If there are more than three clicks to get to your content, you should revise to reduce this. Next, check for broken links, redirects (301’s and 410’s), and then fix those broken links (404’s).
- Update your Key Pages
Your most important pages and blog posts can use some polishing. Make sure they have unique, quality content, well-optimized data, and keywords (used naturally). This might even be a good time to go through all of your website’s content and create a content strategy with respect to the crisis we are facing to maximize your visibility.
There are plenty more tasks you can take on, but the key is to determine what aligns best with your long-term goals, as well as what’s sustainable for long-term strategy.
- Build content as per current searches
It’s safe to assume that consumer spending is somewhat volatile at the moment. Non-essential products and services are rightfully going to come in second place to essentials like food, water, and shelter. While certain non-essential e-commerce websites will undoubtedly experience a hit in the near future, it’s important to understand how your user’s needs have changed and learn how your offerings can still provide value.
You can check out Google trends to monitor for any emerging patterns in search behaviour around your industry and accordingly create content.
While you may need to adjust your messaging on certain pages, or on products or services, we are not recommending misusing the crisis or any topic related to the coronavirus in your content. There’s a big difference between being relevant and being exploitative.
It is well-known that it takes time to get an SEO campaign to run effectively. But in the time that we are dealing with this global crisis, you can create an SEO campaign that could reap desirable results for you in the coming months.
So keep calm and optimize on!