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SEO for Growth

How Coronavirus is Shifting Organic Search in 2021

At the heart of content and SEO is a general understanding of what people are searching for. Here's how Covid is changing the organic search landscape.

11 mins read time
Seth Richtsmeier

Apr 07, 2020

While many businesses are suffering during the coronavirus pandemic, other companies are still thriving. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the companies that are yielding an uptick are those that are offering services in a new and different way.

Now is the time to be Netflix during the Blockbuster era.

For example, grocery stores are offering pickup and delivery options, while fitness centers are creatively marketing online classes. And services like Airbnb have changed their Experiences (usually hosted in-person in locations around the world) to Remote Experiences people can signup for from their home. The coronavirus has also created a shift in organic search, which is forcing companies to rethink their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. This new climate is also providing a unique opportunity to reshape your overall brand strategy.


What Does Your Brand Need to Do to Stay Competitive in This Marketplace?

Right now, it’s crucial to plan for the future of your brand and forecast what’s next when it comes to brand strategy. Some suggestions include:

  • Nurture customers: Take the time to nurture your current customers now and work on generating new leads. It's more important than ever to keep the customers you have and get new ones, when possible.

  • Get creative: Find creative ways to market your solution or product without being tone deaf about the coronavirus climate. Stay in communication with your audience, but be sensitive.

  • Be available: Let your customers know that your services and offerings will be available once things have settled down (if they aren’t already) and ensure them that your operations are still up and running.

  • Partner with an industry expert: An inbound marketing agency can handle optimizing your website and campaigns without compromising your intended user experience. Look for a partner that understands how to improve your organic visibility while simultaneously optimizing the customer journey.

Kuno Creative provides some great ideas on how to re-evaluate your delivery model and your marketing campaigns in this blog post: Marketing In The Midst of Coronavirus: What Every Brand Needs To Know

“Be prepared to jump into action with new strategies to help your brand come back to a ‘healthy market,” said Claudia Cruz, Thrive’s link building manager. “The preparation should start today.”

How Do You Shift the Mindset When It Comes to Your SEO Strategy?

Consumers are currently searching for immediate solutions and essential items. Is there a product or service you offer that would be beneficial right now? If you have a brand name that may not resonate with individuals in this time of need, perhaps consider using a generic term or description for the time being that would be more likely to resonate with your audience.

One solution may be to monitor keywords and topics that are relevant to your brand via search engine tools. Use that data to appropriately shape and format the content on your website. This blog post by Tinuiti addresses the importance of shifting your SEO strategy: Adapting Your 2020 SEO Strategy to the Impact of Coronavirus

“It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and do whatever is possible to keep your website updated and optimized,” said Thrive senior demand generation manager Alan Muther. “The level of competition within businesses will probably increase soon and it’s also important to remain competitive with your digital marketing strategy to help your site rank higher than competitors.”

What Type of Content Should You Provide to Optimize Your SEO Strategy?

These days when everyone is concerned for their wellbeing, it’s crucial to show that your brand is sensitive to the pandemic and cares about the needs of customers.

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website by creating new content that is relevant today. The following are a few ideas for rethinking your brand strategy:

  • Use trending keywords: Publish a blog post using keywords that are currently trending on the topic of business and the coronavirus. Many people are looking for remote work solutions, working from home attire, remote team building ideas, meals to cook at home, free online courses, etc. How can you take advantage of what people are needing or searching for while stuck inside?

  • Reiterate your mission: Consider creating a dedicated landing page about the coronavirus and what your mission is. Always come from a place of, "How can our brand help?"

  • Create video content: Encourage your own leaders to shoot a video from the comfort of their home office to address the current state of the union and how it’s affecting your operations through the remainder of 2020. Just be mindful about sending this out via email. We've all already received coronavirus email updates from the 100 brands who have our email address. 

  • Be helpful on social media: Increase your focus on social media and include relevant messaging such as the importance of social distancing, tips on how to stay safe and healthy, and other helpful content. Just make sure it still aligns with your brand's focus and mission, if possible. For example, at First Page — we're already a remote company. So it was easy for us to continue this conversation. We toned down our talk about marketing and turned up our talk about how we function as a remote team. We feel this aligns better with what our audience is thinking about right now. 

Show empathy where you can. Be sensitive and refer to your brand in a non-salesy way. With so many of us at home and in front of our devices, we’re spending more time on social media and feeling isolated. This is a great opportunity to connect.

“It’s a unique opportunity for brands to unite together!” said Thrive social media manager Savannah Keck. “Our communities need each other now more than ever. People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done correctly.”

How Can You Leverage New Business Opportunities?

Some brands are creating their own face masks and hand sanitizer products to help both consumers and healthcare workers. Others have created robots to help facilitate telemedicine conversations between patients and hospital staff.

Automation in technology is another tool that organizations are implementing to expedite business online. Other ways to generate leads and leverage a new SEO strategy include the following:

  • Conduct an audit of your website for opportunities to rewrite or update content. An inbound marketing agency will help you develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring improvement.

  • Incorporate keywords to your landing pages, blog posts, and any digital assets that will help target what consumers are currently searching for.

  • Monitor website performance to understand how users are navigating and converting during this time. Update forecasting and reporting to factor in the impact of the coronavirus.

  • Consider adding new call-to-actions (CTAs) to your website that will direct visitors to new pages, videos, and other content related to the coronavirus.

  • Redevelop your brand strategy and get a head start on your editorial calendar from Q2 into Q4.

  • Use proven SEO tactics to climb to the top of Google’s search results so that your brand can be easily found.

  • Include testimonials and positive reviews on your website to improve your online reputation.

“Fix your site. You know it’s not perfect, spend some time practicing what you preach and make your site the lead magnet it needs to be!” – Grant Simmons


Keep Up with the Shift in Organic Search

The marketing landscape is ever-changing, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to look at our brand strategy through a different lens. This is a unique opportunity to deeply analyze your brand’s content, consumers, and reach.

This is also a time to gain momentum and be better prepared for future crises. Organic search due to the pandemic has certainly shifted, and you can use this event to learn how to change your mindset, get creative, and grow business in new ways.

While many are tempted to tackle this on their own, there are plenty of reasons why working with a growth marketing agency like First Page Strategy may make sense for you.


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