As most of the global workforce goes remote in 2020, businesses and budgets are changing due to a decrease or increase in site traffic. Since this pandemic is new for marketers and organizations, there isn’t exactly a marketing blueprint but one channel is proven to outlast pandemics: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
We’ll take you through the reasons why it’s more important than ever to boost your search visibility, and how SEO is crucial in order to thrive during and after COVID-19.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
The competition probably slowed down: doesn’t mean you have to.
Google (and other search engines) will still exist in 2020-2021 and bring traffic to your website. However, Google still has “mini” algorithm updates, and without someone monitoring ranking changes in an SEO platform (e.g., BrightEdge, Ahrefs, SEMRush) or Google Search Console, you won’t know how your visibility on Google was impacted until it’s too late.
Keep Up with Sudden Increases in Search Demand
In addition to the Food, Healthcare, and Personal Finance verticals, we noticed our B2B clients (not requiring face-to-face visits) and B2C companies (offering products or services for the home) experienced a spike in new sales and traffic.
If you experienced a spike in search demand, here are two actionable steps you can take to maintain (and increase!) traffic and revenue in 2020.
Improve Your Technical SEO
If you haven’t already, create a strong technical SEO foundation for your website with a technical SEO audit to prevent any glaring sitewide issues or future downtime. Any technical issues could have adverse effects on every content piece you write going forward. These audits will help you prioritize your internal efforts to improve the user experience for searches and GoogleBot, thereby increasing your keyword rankings, traffic, and conversions.
Build Scalable Content
This is also a great time to create scalable content with existing assets and resources, as well as “Action Page” creation offered by Overdrive’s Content Team. The topical authority and formatting of our action pages will help you rank for the keywords your customers search and improve your visibility in Quick Answer Boxes, People Also Ask Boxes, and Google Images.
Recover From Sudden Decreases in Search Demand
If your website experienced major decreases in organic traffic, you still need to action the two recommendations above. Someone will need to diagnose your website’s technical health and existing content if it was not related to search demand due to COVID-19.
The timing is perfect for a technical and content audit since Google released a Core Update in May 2020 (there hasn’t been a Core Update since January 2020).
Improve Your Visibility for Brand and Product Searches
Did you know you can now list your products for FREE on Google? Sell to existing and new customers in Google’s Shopping Tab to increase your brand embrace and revenue. All you need to do is update your existing product feed into the surfaces across Google—Shopping Tab, Google Search, and Google Images—or help Google find your products using Product Schema to update your product feed.
Google also released NEW GoogleMyBusiness beta features in 2020. Your competitors most likely aren’t using them, so take this opportunity to improve your visibility for brand searches.
Recent GoogleMyBusiness Updates
- Products (List Your Entire Product Line)
- Services (List Your Services)
- Remember Google+? It is now “Google Posts” and is more visible under the local knowledge graph for branded and local searches (especially on mobile searches)
Don’t forget about Bing and Yahoo! They both have respective Local Knowledge Graphs with the same look as GoogleMyBusiness. Since people still search on Bing and Yahoo, you need a consistent brand experience across search engines.
Keep Your Content Calendar Alive
Your content calendar should have blog posts, infographics, videos, interviews to last you until 2021. Keep it active by asking your current or new SEO agency to help choose the right target keywords to improve each asset’s search visibility.
Tip: “Evergreen Content” works especially well to generate leads over the long-term.
Still need help? Overdrive uses enterprise SEO tools—BrightEdge and Ahrefs—to “reverse engineer” existing competitor content that has performed well and is relevant to your business. We developed content for clients that still ranks well, and can help you with the keyword research and writing resources to get it published.
Example: Boost You Content’s Visibility
Issue: You wrote a comprehensive, 3,000-word post last year that required input from multiple stakeholders, but it didnt receive much traffic or result in a conversion.
Solution: Let us help you understand the intent of the target keyword(s) you plan to write a piece about. We’ve helped our clients choose the right content asset and related keywords to get qualified traffic from Google searches.
Improve Your Google E-A-T Score
As previously mentioned, there were a lot of recent Google Algorithm updates, but none have been as important as E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust). E-A-T is not an official ranking factor, but it’s such an important initiative that Google hired 10,000 manual reviewers to “score” thousands of websites based on the authority on their content. Google even released their internal scorecard to help websites ensure their on-site content is authoritative and helpful for searchers.
Have you read the scorecard yet? We have. The new reward system from Google is your website being an authority in topics relevant to your business.
Action: Call individuals in your organization—Fellows, Product Managers, Customer Success, Category Managers—that have been published or thoroughly understand a topic, and ask them to contribute to your content development. You can improve the authority of your existing and future content with one phone call.
How Can Overdrive Help? We have worked with our clients to add “snackable” insights from internal experts to add to existing and new content pieces without requiring many internal resources.
Use SEO Metrics to reduce CPLs and CPAs
Don’t commit wasteful PPC spending during or after Covid-19: You can’t afford to. Our SEO team has helped our clients combine their Google Ads keyword, conversion, and revenue data with Google Search Console and BrightEdge keyword rankings to be more efficient with their keyword, ad group, and campaign targeting.
You can use Google Ads’ Paid and Organic Performance Report for this; however, there are more advanced tools (e.g., Sisense and PowerBI) to analyze SEO/PPC information.
Note: If you’ve used this report in the past, Google deprecated average position and uses Search absolute top impression rate “Impr. (Abs. Top) %” and Search top impression rate “Impr. (Top) %” to tell you where your ad is located in Google search results.
How We Provide Actionable SEO + PPC Insights
- Pulling Back on Ad Spend: Paid search keywords that converted but you already rank in position #1-3
Keyword Conversions Cost per Conversion Organic Rank dog treats 1 $874 #2 dog bones 1 $511 #2
- Converting Paid Search Keywords: Paid search keywords that converted but we don’t rank well. Since these are high-performing, commercial keywords, if you improve the organic rankings for these you can expect more conversions from organic search.
Keyword Organic Rank Conversions Cost per Conversion dog toys #11 2 $1 fish bowl #12 2 $5
- 1 Click + High CPC + No Conversions: We’ll find a list of big keywords with 1 paid click that cost you money but did not result in a conversion
Keyword Paid Clicks Cost Conversions dogs toys 1 $46 0 cat toys 1 $42 0
- Keywords organically rank well on Google, but Paid Search is not present: For the right CPC, this is your chance to have TWO listings on Page 1 of Google for a high-priority keyword that you know results in conversions.
Keyword Organic Clicks Paid Clicks Conversions Cost Per Conversion cat beds 1,464 312 11 $17 fish bowls 7,668 72 0 $50
- Wasted Ad Spend: Keywords receiving more organic clicks than paid, and the paid search keyword is still has a high month spend
Keyword Organic Clicks Paid Clicks Conversions Cost bird food 2,177 658 3 $1,466 bird feeder 1,503 257 3 $1,138
Complete Outstanding Technical SEO and On-Page Recommendations
If you didn’t have the bandwidth to review and implement high priority SEO recommendations that move the needle (e.g., Title Tags, Site Structure, and Local SEO), it’s time to get the discussion going. Organize the high priority recommendations by business priority and decide which internal team is responsible for the implementation.
Action: Schedule a call with your content and internal/external development team to review the outstanding content or support tickets.
Get Ahead on Out of Stock Products and Service Availability
Some of your online or offline products/services might not be available this week, but now is the time to improve your visibility for repeat Google searches.
Searchers will Google for the same product or service on a weekly basis for availability—we see this continued search-demand every week via Google Trends and our Search Volume Reports.
When a person Google’s a product or service the second or third time, you want to be in the top three Google positions when you have it back in stock.
Want more insight into how people are searching? Explore the new Google Trends Tool to view the Rising Retail Categories and Products.
Conclusion: What Should You Do Now?
There’s a lot of action items above but you should decide and prioritize which one is the most impactful for your business during this time of uncertainty.
If you are an Overdrive client, reach out to us about working with you to perform one of these action items; otherwise, is your SEO Agency doing this for you now?