Business continuity is the biggest challenge for organizations when a disaster strikes. Regardless of the foolproof plans, you may have in place, you are most likely to end up in trouble when there are emergencies. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that businesses can never be fully ready to combat the disaster. The challenges of the situation are unprecedented and even the biggest brands are struggling to maintain footing. While the switch to remote operations has helped businesses to continue working, balancing the marketing act is tougher than ever.
Thankfully, companies have realized the significance of SEO to sustain their online presence during the pandemic. Still, it is worth knowing that you need to realign your strategy to keep getting results and retain your visibility online. Before talking more about tweaking your plans, you need to understand the current challenges first. Let us explain how things have changed in the business landscape and the challenges that lie ahead in the post-pandemic world.
The ongoing SEO challenges
Although the restrictions have been lifted and businesses are gradually trying to recover, things are far from normal. The challenges that are around today will be there in the post-pandemic era as well. Here are the biggest ones that your SEO initiatives will have to combat ahead.
Search behavior is changing
The search habits of the consumers have changed during the outbreak, with the focus mainly being on essentials and local businesses. The Google Trends graph has witnessed a spike in searches for coronavirus as the topic holds foremost interest for the average audience. Similarly, sites related to healthcare, finance and news media have seen a boost during this period. Conversely, the crisis has hit industries like travel, retail and entertainment hard and this shows in their search trends too. With such uncertainties in search behaviors, you cannot expect to win the ranking game with the common SEO tactics like content optimization and link building. You need to think differently right now.
Recession is a reality for businesses
You don’t need to be a genius to understand that recession looms large right now and ahead as well. So this is another challenge that you will have to make your future SEO plan ready for. Businesses are doing pay cuts and layoffs and personal finances are taking a plunge. Unless you are selling essential products and services, you cannot expect people to land on your website because they are simply not interested. Once again, the conventional approach to reach the top of search rankings wouldn’t work.
The SEO response plan
Knowing the challenges that lie ahead means that you have the opportunity to come up with a plan to address them. Although it is easy to panic in such a bleak situation, that’s the last thing you should do. Realigning your SEO plan is rather the best approach. Here are some steps you can implement to stay afloat.
Focus on valuable content
Even more, than selling products and services, your focus right now should be on creating valuable content. It has the potential to keep your audience connected with the brand, even if they are not buying at this point in time. This is the time they would want compelling and positive content that educates them and serves some kind of value. Retention and strong customer relationships with such content can go a long way in keeping your brand alive and enabling it to be back on its feet once the crisis is over.
Continue building quality backlinks
As business is slow right now, you would be tempted to cut down on your SEO efforts and save time on link building. But this is the last thing you should do in the prevailing situation. Adam White with SEOJet says that cutting corners when building links will only cost you more time and money in the end. You may eventually lose your ranking, which translates into years of hard work lost. Once the business is back to normal and customers are here to shop, your website will not be visible and competitors will poach them for good.
Switch to intent research
While you write content and build links, you will need to find the keywords that are trending. But at this stage, audience intent matters more than search keywords. So this is where you need to focus while you research keywords for the campaign. Stepping into the shoes of the users and identifying their needs, expectations and pain points is the key. Your content needs to be optimized to provide solutions to these needs and pain points. This shows your intention to serve value, which gets you more sales and audience trust.
Optimize your website to deliver the best experiences
Conversion optimization is as much a part of SEO is content and keywords are. Even top-ranking sites will not derive the benefits of high traffic volumes if they do not deliver an optimal user experience. Since the pandemic era brings downtime, you can utilize it for optimizing the UX of your website. Work on design, content, and navigation so that the user is enticed to complete the journey and leave only after converting. This will lay the groundwork for higher conversions when search volume rebounds and the traffic is back on your site.
Keep the SEO campaign on
Even if the traffic and sales seem to be slow because of the pandemic, stopping your campaigns does not make sense. You will probably need a mix of strategies that are cost-effective and time-saving to fit the new needs. This is the time to go the extra mile for displaying your values to the customers, employees and the community as a whole. Things will eventually normalize and SEO will continue to be among the most effective ways to connect with the potential customers. SEO is surely the way to go even if the expense seems to be tough to squeeze through the tight budgets in the post-pandemic era. The truth is that you can even get more with less as the competition is naturally less during an economic downturn. If you stick with your campaigns today, you will get a competitive advantage that can take your business ahead after the dust settles.