SEO Marketing Efforts Amid the COVID-19 Situation

Tian Wen Tay - April 13, 2020

SEO marketing is like advertising: it gets you an audience for your brand.

But unlike many forms of advertising or paid search, SEO is often completely free or low-budget. Search engine optimisation tutorials and search engine optimisation techniques are plenty today, and the biggest obstacle you’ll face is your own willingness to go from how to do SEO to actually putting SEO techniques into action.

As budgets tighten during this difficult time, knowing how to SEO can be a lifesaver for your business. Not all SEO marketing strategies are created equal, but even just a slight bit of SEO marketing can make a difference.

Are SEO marketing efforts worth it in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis?

Before we take a look at some quick SEO marketing tips you can bootstrap your business with, let’s talk about what is SEO and how it works, and exactly what is SEO in digital marketing.

What is SEO and how it works

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. According to Chapter 1 of Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, it simply refers to the use of unpaid search to get as many relevant users to view your website as possible for certain search results.

In other words, SEO is about optimising your website content so that it is most likely to appear as a top search result for particular keywords. This might not sound like a lot, but it does when the first five results on Google often get 67% of all clicks.

Search engine optimisation techniques fall into either black-hat SEO or white-hat SEO, but they all work by finding balance between meeting what search engines want and what people want.

What is SEO in digital marketing?

In many guides on search engine optimisation techniques or search engine optimisation tutorials, you’ll notice that search engine optimisation techniques are often described as part of digital marketing strategies.  

Here’s where conflicting advice comes in.

Some digital marketing practitioners argue that SEO is only good for certain parts of the digital marketing funnel. In this piece by SEMrush for example, SEO is great for getting your business new customers, but not so good at getting your customers to come back.

Others, like Digital Marketing Institute, claim that SEO not only gets you more customers but also more loyal customers.

But SEO is more than just getting or retaining customers. In a wider digital marketing strategy, SEO can help narrow down to more specific audiences that are more likely to convert, and if done well can also make your website easier to navigate and faster to load – both leading to higher web traffic and even more conversions.

Will SEO marketing work in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic?

Normally, SEO should reap benefits for any business. But with the coronavirus crisis devastating organic search effectiveness for certain industries, pursuing an SEO marketing strategy at this point may not be optimal.

Remember that SEO caters to what search engines want and what people are searching for. People are less likely to search for certain things like travel accommodation and flights but are more likely to search for other things, like food delivery and healthcare.

eCommerce and SEO

If you’re running an eCommerce store selling essential products like personal protection equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers, your SEO marketing efforts will benefit from an increase in organic search.

Take note that search queries with keywords you’re ranking for are likely to be localised. Rather than just generic searches for hand sanitisers or face masks, you’ll want to pay more attention to longer-tail keywords that feature locational words such as “hand sanitisers near me” and “face masks near me”.

News media and SEO

Across the board, news outlets and online publications that feature health and wellness and/or financial information have also gotten significant gains in organic search traffic. On the whole, the media industry saw more than 30% growth in traffic due to COVID-19.

Recreation and SEO

While eCommerce and media have largely benefited from spikes in organic search traffic due to the current crisis, things are more of a mixed bag for the recreation industry.

If you’re selling fitness and exercise equipment or offering products and services that cater to individual activities like hiking, biking, videos and video games rental, your SEO marketing strategy may benefit from increases in organic search traffic between 41% to 162%.

If you’re operating a physical recreation outlet like bowling alleys, yoga studios and amusement parks, or offering a service that requires someone else to be physically present, your SEO marketing strategy will be battered by dips in organic search traffic between 44% to 67%.

Travel and SEO

Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver lining in SEO for the travel industry. Organic search traffic for travel-related keywords is down almost 46%, and with worldwide restrictions on travel, your SEO marketing strategy may not be able to produce results.

Should I abandon SEO marketing if organic search in my industry is taking a hit?

No, you shouldn’t! While SEO marketing may not be effective for customer acquisition, you can adapt your search engine marketing efforts to focus on supporting your existing customers instead.  

Take the travel industry for example. Organic search traffic is down nearly 46%, and leading keywords include “travel restrictions”, “hotel/cruise ship quarantines” and “hotel queries related to cancellation and refunds”. Instead of focusing on getting new customers, your SEO marketing strategy can direct your existing audience to helpful resources, community support and other relevant tips they can use to solve a need. 

More importantly, internet usage has surged nearly 50% to 70% because of the current crisis. It’s likely that this will continue to be an upward trend for the foreseeable future.

Even better, your business doesn’t have to wait to reap the benefits of a sound SEO marketing strategy. Remember that SEO is about optimising your website content so that it is most likely to appear as a top search result for particular keywords. By observing what sort of searches your customers are performing on search engines, you can take advantage of these keywords to shape customer perception of your brand.

Kickstart your SEO marketing strategy with these free resources

Now that you understand what is SEO and how it works, you’ll want to start looking into search engine optimisation tutorials and applying some of the latest search engine optimisation techniques.

SEO is blessed with lots of free resources to get you started. It is highly recommended to take courses offered by major SEO companies like SEMrush. You’ll not only pick up basic search engine optimisation techniques but also learn how to use an SEO toolset at the same time.

Some paid courses, like the quality content over at Moz Academy, have also been made free for a limited time. 

Moz offers SEO tools that guides website owners during their digital marketing efforts

Not sure how to get started with SEO Marketing?

Knowing how to do SEO is one thing; getting it done right is another.

In fact, getting SEO done right is so important because bad SEO practices are difficult to recover from.

Need help with search engine optimisation techniques, or unsure how search engine marketing can help your business in these financially tight times? Drop us a message now and arrange for a consultation today.