Technology

Three Reasons to Embrace SEO During the COVID-19 Crisis

By / Apr 28, 2020 (GOCMEN/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

In a world where search engines are often the main window to commerce, SEO matters a bit more than ever. Here’s why now might be the time to dive into your search engine results.

For better or worse, much of the way that we interact with people has shifted from offline forms to online forms, at least for the moment.

And that means that purely digital ways of reaching potential customers or members are more important than ever—which means that if your organization relies on search already, you could be seeing traffic benefits.

Recent research from Path Interactive notes that many sites heavily optimized for search saw significant increases in organic visibility in the past two months, especially those targeted at health issues, general news, and politics. For example, Cleveland Clinic saw a more than 80 percent increase in search visibility, while the New York Post and Politico saw increases of 73.3 percent and 65.6 percent, respectively. But video workout site Daily Burn saw the most benefit, with a 310.2 percent bump.

“Simply put, Google appears to be focused on surfacing content from the most trustworthy, expert organizations that specifically focus on global health issues particularly during a time of crisis,” Path Interactive Director of SEO Lily Ray wrote last month.

A few insights for those interested in boosting SEO:

Lower costs are a factor. With other forms of traffic, such as social media and email marketing, coming with potentially large added costs, SEO is gaining momentum for some organizations with lower budgets. A recent survey from the data firm Conductor found that while 58 percent of respondents were cutting budgets across the board, 34 percent were more interested in low-cost channels such as SEO as a way to save money. The report also found 63 percent of marketers believed SEO would become more important in 2020. Even in a time of cuts, SEO still matters.

COVID-19 content is doing well right now in search engines. You may be asking yourself whether it makes sense to flood the stream with content related to the coronavirus, given that it’s what everyone else is doing. But the truth is, people are actually looking for this information right now, writes Jason White, director of SEO at PMG, in a blog post for Search Marketing Daily. He notes that this is often due to the necessity of public service. “It’s not fun and glamorous, but customers are asking a lot of questions regarding your brand and this virus,” he writes. “First tip—answer them, even if this means responding with uncertainty. Above all, do not leave them hanging.” He also recommends updating and republishing relevant content as needed.

Downtime could offer a great opportunity to optimize. Right now, you might not be in a position to do a lot of the real-world things you might normally do to market yourself. That might make it a perfect time to lean on SEO—because optimizations matter. Google recently started a post series on its Webmaster Central blog that highlights the way that its users invested time and effort into SEO and increased performance significantly as a result. Such maintenance tasks often get pushed to the side because they can be somewhat basic and secondary. But when other tasks are pushed off to the side, now could prove a useful opportunity to dive into the nitty-gritty of site optimization.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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