During COVID-19 for many small businesses, it is easy for business owners to think that with mechanical operations slowed or halted, you even have to let your marketing operations slow down or don’t care enough about them.
But the truth is, digital marketing strategies like SEO can be essential to your small business’s success both at times and after this pandemic. In this article, we’ll go through why SEO is necessary and understand substantial strategies your business can implement during the time of pandemic— even if your business is considered critical or not.
The correct SEO strategies give SMBs exceptional exposure on Google.
Why is SEO vital during COVID-19?
Search trend data reveals that traffic to websites from search results, both paid and organic—is declining for many industries. So the question comes down is SEO pointless during the pandemic? Not. I’ll tell you why:
- COVID-19 is just an event that will end after some time, while SEO is consistent practice.
- Consumers limited to their community are seeking out local businesses.
- Remember, there is never a “bad” or “not right time” to publish good, attention-grabbing content, a staple of SEO.
- The potential customers you attract right now are likely to be highly qualified.
- SEO always has long-term gains.
- The thing about search is that it will only be more ingrained in our lives after the pandemic.
- It is free, and you don’t require much effort.
Just some reasons why SEO is vital instead offer small businesses right now.
General SEO for Small and Medium Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic
First, let’s look at the broader themes behind these COVID-19 SEO strategies.
You need regular maintenance of SEO. An analogy by Uptick Marketing puts it perfectly:
“SEO is like sowing the seeds and cultivating the crops before harvesting what you can eventually eat. If you stop harvesting now, you may still have some crops to last you, but six months down the road, you’re going to be kicking yourself for losing out.”
You shouldn’t ignore SEO during COVID-19, even if you are currently struggling. What you currently do will impact your business post-pandemic.
2. Long-form content
Life has slowed down for many people, and they are more likely to go deeper into topics as opposed to just scrolling or browsing through feeds while they are traveling or performing quick actions in between tasks. The big thing is not only this type of content is more likely to get read right now, but also, it is a foremost of SEO success. As stated by Backlinko, organic search results that rank on page one of Google contain an average of 1,890 words.
If your pace has slowed down because of the pandemic, make extra time in an opportunity to gather long-form content like blog posts that you can publish over the coming months.
Long-form content is first-page friendly on Google.
3. Local SEO
For a long time, local SEO has been a beneficial solution for small businesses as they compete against big brands and significant websites on search. And with lot of people staying close to home, local companies are being sought out. Local SEO tactics are vital for any business, but now is the best time to implement for those operating and who might not have the time for long-form content.
4. Balance short- and long-term goals
The coronavirus pandemic will certainly end at some point, but we are also sure that its impact will last long. Also, your overall SEO strategy should implement a mix of both short- and long-term tactics.
Short-term SEO endeavors include posting content relevant to coronavirus within your industry (how it impacted your sector), as well as updating your listings and website for local search terms.
Long-term SEO endeavors may include producing content that answers questions and doubts your customers will be asking after the pandemic, also continuing the target of your traditional strategy. Check out Winning SEO Strategy in 2021
Your distribution of efforts to short-term vs. long-term objectives will differ according to the business you are in and may also evolve in the future, so expect this to be a fluid process.
Content SEO for Small and Medium Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic.
Using long-form content is a great idea, but the question is vital instead, what should you write about?
5. Target keywords related to coronavirus and pandemic
One short-term SEO strategy is to target trending terms to increase your traffic. Broad search terms will have you battle against international and high-authority sites like BBC and Forbes. Still, long-tail, niche-specific searches related to the coronavirus can set you up for ranking success.
For example, a Google search for “prevent neck pain while in quarantine” will show a blog post by a small/medium business Wood Associates Physical Therapy.
Not currently, but there is no doubt that this post is building domain authority for the business and connecting it with candidates and future customers.
Small businesses are ranking for coronavirus search terms.
6. Target trending topics and themes
If topics and keywords related to coronavirus and pandemic are still too competitive for your business, try to think in a broader sense that are applicable across industries, like “DIY,” “virtual,” “in-home,” and “indoors.” For instance, this local design and architecture business shows up first for “virtual design consultation” search:
7. Good time to reoptimize old but newly relevant content
The best part about this SEO strategy is that it doesn’t need to produce new content. One of the search trends of the coronavirus is that many formerly sluggish topics are getting revived.
See if you have any former content that is relevant today to your audience in the time of coronavirus. Dress it up and republish it to attract more traffic.
8. Target new terms
One more search trend we’re seeing is entirely new queries, like “drive-by graduation party ideas.”
Conjecture about special needs, interests, desires, and tailing of your buyer personas right now, and the unique ways people are adapting. With this, you will be easily able to come up with some individual searches to rank for.
9. Never stop creating evergreen content
The coronavirus is a vast and critical issue, but it is a trending topic that will ultimately subside. So for some time, coronavirus pandemic and post-pandemic content might help you give more traffic; please don’t forget about your longer-term goals.
Always publish your evergreen content because, in contrast to trending content, it will get you traffic over time and build your SEO “equity.”
10. Update content that is performing super well
Your top-performing evergreen content also needs tweaks from time to time—new facts, updated stats, new trending screenshots, etc. But between conducting everyday operations and creating new content, updating these posts and pages tends to get pushed to the back burner. Above all, they’re already doing well.
But for many of these segments, they are performing well is a great reason to give them significant attention. Since they are getting decent traffic, a few updates here and there can cause an increase in traffic, and one already existing post that moves from page two to page one will have much more significant results than a few new posts that make it to page four.
CTR doesn’t change much from page 10 to page three but increases from page two to page one (Backlinko).
This is a perfect time to go back into your top-performing posts and alter them according to the new trends so they can stay on or make it to that coveted first page. Some optimizations you can perform are:
- Add top-quality outbound links
- Add new information
- Update screenshots and images
- Add alt text to images
- Add keywords to headings
- Change out title tags to be more compelling
Ultimate SEO strategy: Focus on conversion
You might not get the massive traffic to your website during COVID-19 as people move their focus, but that could signify that those who are still finding their way to your site despite these significant trends are highly interested in what you have to offer.
This brings us to the last SEO strategy you can implement during COVID-19: optimizing for conversion. You think it’s SEO, but really it’s CRO, but it’s closely related. If you cannot get more traffic to your website, it is wise to focus on getting more conversions among those who do visit it. Have a look at some ways to increase conversion rates from organic search traffic:
- Generate a sidebar widget for website visitors to sign up for your email newsletter.
- Try A/B testing the placement or language of the CTA on your homepage.
- Run a limited-time offer with free services.
Take some time and try out one of these strategies. Here’s a quick list to recap:
- Focus on long-form content
- Balance short- and long-term goals
- Target coronavirus keywords
- Modify for pandemic themes
- Reoptimize newly relevant content
- Target new terms
- Keep up your traditional keyword strategy
- Update top-performing content
- Update your Google My Business profile
Depending on your condition, you may want to diversify your efforts to account for immediate relevance, post-pandemic search trends, and evergreen topics.