The world has drastically and quickly changed in the past months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For weeks now, we have been watching the number of infected cases rise in different countries. We have also been seeing various strategies being implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus.
This pandemic has resulted in countless losses – lives and normalcy. As of writing, this deadly virus has already claimed over 1,000 lives in Ireland and close to 3.5 million globally.
At the same time, measures such as stay-at-home orders, social distancing and closure of non-essential businesses have caused total disruption. They have altered what people have come to know as normal for the longest time, pushing them to make adjustments.
Indeed, these are uncertain times, and erratic shifts in people’s behaviours can be expected as they try to cope with the sweeping changes happening around them. Undeniably, this has a significant impact on search and SEO in general.
Before we talk about COVID-19’s effects on search and SEO, let us look at how user behaviour, search and SEO are interrelated.
We know that search is a reflection of people – their thoughts and desires. These show us what they are interested in – what they want to learn about or spend on.
Moreover, certain search terms let us know what the user’s intent is or where he is at in his buying journey.
Queries containing phrases like “how to” and “what is” indicate that the searcher is mainly looking for information. Meanwhile, search terms that include “where to buy”, “discount” and “buy” are typically used by those who are in the transactional phase. These users are already thinking about purchasing.
Basically, people utilise search engines to gather information and/or buy something. Looking at what queries they are making can give you an idea about what is important to them, what their concerns are or what they need during this health crisis.
Knowing all these details is an essential part of creating an effective SEO strategy. It is the only way for you to come up with content that does well on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The ranking algorithm of Google, the number one search engine, no longer focuses on keyword matching. It now puts a premium on content that has value – those that provide the best answers to queries.
Hence, if you want to rank high on organic search results, you have to know the intent behind search terms.
There is no denying that search behaviour has immensely changed because of COVID-19. You can no longer rely on pre-pandemic data if you want your business to stay competitive.
You have to know what the search trends are now for you to be able to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. For one, this can guide you in updating or building your content for the top searcher intents during this coronavirus crisis.
So, what is currently happening online, particularly when it comes to search?
In the past weeks, there has been a spike in queries involving essential items – food, hand sanitizers, disinfectants and toilet paper, to name but a few.
Similarly, there has also been an increase in online queries for office chairs and tables. This is attributed to people creating conducive environments in their houses as their companies have adopted a work-from-home (WFH) setup.
The increase in demand for these items is leading to more impressions and traffic for e-commerce businesses offering essential products.
As a result, brick and mortar stores which have not set up online shops are forced to adapt now. This move is not just about getting a share of the pie but also to stay relevant, especially since things may stay this way for a while.
There is also an ongoing surge in searches for online courses. The past month, visits to educational sites, particularly those that offer online certifications, have tripled. This can be due to people wanting to utilise their time during the lockdown productively by upgrading their skills or learning new things.
Clearly, there are companies making significant gains during this pandemic. But it cannot be denied that there are a lot of businesses that are struggling.
E-commerce sites selling products which are not deemed important during this health crisis have experienced major dips in their impressions and traffic.
Let’s take the case of apparel and accessories like clothes and shoes. Before COVID-19, online shopping was primarily about these products. They are what made e-retail a billion-dollar industry. This is no longer the case as consumers are focused on purchasing essentials at the moment.
The same thing is happening in the travel industry which is, perhaps, one of the hardest-hit sectors. As cities and nations went on lockdown, hotels and travel companies have experienced a huge drop in their traffic.
Airline companies are also feeling the impact of COVID-19 with several of them already declaring bankruptcy.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused massive changes in search behaviour. Hence, you do not just have to make adjustments in your operational procedures but also your SEO strategy. Failure to keep up with these changes can do more damage to your business in the long run.
What should you do? Monitor search trends. Then, assess and adjust your SEO strategy. You need to do this for the future of your business.
Want to keep your company top of mind for consumers? SEO is a cost-effective solution that can help your business stay relevant during and after this pandemic. Let us help you during this crisis. Call us today on 019609023 or visit our website for a free SEO consultation.