As a marketer, you would’ve loved to check out an article that talks about something more fun, something that can help educate you and develop the skills you’ve already acquired.
Something like digital marketing in 2020 or the best email marketing services for 2020, perhaps something like Google Ads in 2020. But alas …
The COVID-19 crisis hit us all and boy did it hit us hard. So much so, that now we’re all expected to change the way we develop tools, create strategies and build our marketing plan overall.
Not to mention scoring a respectable place on search engine results pages (SERPs).
But in times like this one, does SEO really help? And if so, how can we even take advantage of it?
Short answer: Yes. Provided you do it correctly. So, let’s see what that means …
A Spike in Online Searches
This was only to be expected, of course. There is no place without internet connection. Now, combine that with the lockdown of many countries, and you’ll get increased online searches.
Mind you, these searches have nothing to do with what a person is willing to spend in the long run. And you need to be very careful with that, as, in times like this one, you may be at a loss on who you can target.
And what about ads? What about traditional SEO? What is it that shapes buyer behavior now?
Since online searches are going up, investing in SEO, whether in-house or by trusting SEO agencies, is the proper way to go at this point. It’s cost-effective and really fruitful, especially if one compares it to other tactics such as social media ads, for example.
What is more, SEO is a technique that is always needed. For better or worse, everything needs to be optimized according to what search engines “get” at that specific point in time.
But where does this spike lead, exactly? And what do you need to do to utilize it and understand it?
When we’ve got to deal with a global threat, a pandemic in our case, we cannot just stay idle. Prospects are looking for content they can relate to and you’re looking to apply your SEO magic to content that people will actually need.
If you combine the data, you’ll see exactly what I mean. You need a change of content first. Create something relatable, something useful and easily understood.
Even if your audience consists of health professionals, you need to be able to appeal to them in a clear manner.
Of course, clear and concise doesn’t mean simplistic. Give all of the information needed. This is where useful goes and it’s especially true for your SEO endeavors.
Think of it that way: Why spend more than a minute on a page that won’t provide the answers you’re looking for?
Your content, of course, doesn’t need to steer clear of what your brand’s tone is. You don’t want to confuse your audience and brand tone is important, as it builds trust and credibility and, in the end, helps people recognize you.
For example, if visual content is more you, then don’t change to a serious blog post type of content. Just keep doing your videos and infographics, but try to match them to the situation at hand.
Here’s some proof if you don’t believe me:
However, if your brand is one that uses humor and is fun and bubbly, try to adjust that tone to the content.
You see, something that changes the way people live and think globally cannot be a laughing matter. You’ll need to be serious when addressing the issue, but this doesn’t mean that you need to be stern.
You see, you’re talking about something serious here, something that has definitely had many people wondering what they should do with their lives.
Pro Tip: If you’re one of those people, maybe you’ll find this to be of use.
Now, while joking around with the issue could be ill-advised, you can always be positive and figure out inspiring messages. That type of content is what people yearn for at this stage.
And, of course, this is the type of content you’ll have to optimize in order for your audience to actually find it and feel connected to your brand.
Word of warning, though: Do not change your content completely. A crisis, no matter how big, won’t be here forever and you’ll need to keep your tone and make sure you can answer the “day after” questions.
After all, your content is only as strong as it’s relevant to your niche.
Your Audience’s Opinion
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you’ve got a game website and there’s a blog running on it, an FAQ section, social media platforms, the works.
You probably have no idea how to leverage COVID-19’s volume to your advantage in a niche like that one, do you?
Well, here’s where your audience needs to chip in.
Send out email campaigns that will contain a survey. Ask if they’d like to be informed about the current situation and, if so, what they’d like to know about.
You can also ask about the type of content they’d like to see. Maybe they like videos and visual content better than blog posts and maybe Q&As just won’t do it for them.
Or maybe — just maybe — it’s not the updates they’re after. Maybe they need some tips and tricks on how their time will be best spent during — and after — a time like the present.
Post your surveys on social media as well. Make sure to get as many answers as needed. This will boost engagement and engagement will lead to more exposure, boosting the content itself.
And this is a pretty good SEO result right there.
Now, let’s assume that you already did that and you’re not exactly sure about the results. There is another thing you can try.
Google Trends is your friend, in that case. It will show you exactly what people need and what their searches are all about. Just check those out.
Then, cross-check with the results of your surveys. Do you see any common ground? Use what you see to your advantage and craft content that will correspond with your findings.
Keywords and Questions
SEO is nothing without keywords, we all know that. But during a crisis, what keywords are the ones you should target?
More importantly, are those keywords related to your niche? Like I mentioned above, you can take advantage of a crisis but only if you can make it work with your already-existing tone and content without you having to make any major changes.
So, research the keywords related to the content you’d like to create and see whether they’ll be of benefit for you.
Here’s an example of a keyword search for “coronavirus” via Ahrefs:
The word “coronavirus” as a keyword has an extremely high search volume. So, you can use it as you please. It can be anything from a blog post titled, “How to enjoy your daily life during the coronavirus lockdown” to a video that will be optimized for that keyword alone.
So, the main thing here is to find the keywords, but also find the way to utilize them without looking like an outcast in your own niche.
Of course, there is a way to make this work. Like many brands did when the shutdown took over most of the planet, you can create a page dedicated to the way you decide to handle the COVID-19 situation.
This is where you could use the questions your audience might have when it comes to the way you’re deciding to handle your business amidst the crisis.
This will be the place for you to create a post, an explainer video, an infographic, anything you feel would work best for your prospects, where you’ll be explaining how you’re planning to go forth and what you’re thinking about in regards to the “next day.”
A blog post or an optimized video is the perfect place for you to use long-tail keywords. Don’t just target COVID-19 as a keyword.
While your audience will be looking for both long- and short-tail keywords, it makes sense to target both.
For example, one of my most frequent searches is “When is the quarantine going to end?”, “coronavirus vaccine update” and “beautiful home office images”.
And while we’re at it, try and add some keywords into the rest of your website’s content as well, especially a help page or an FAQ page, if you’ve got one.
SEO is here to take advantage of people asking questions. Optimizing for those questions and answering some more that may arise is something that you simply just can’t pass up.
We may be facing different and strange challenges when it comes to the pandemic that has changed all of our lives.
But changing our lives doesn’t really mean failing at what we did best before the pandemic hit us. It just takes a little bit of planning, a whole lot of research and being as adaptable as possible.
So, target those keywords, make relevant content and always, always A/B test!