It’s a daunting time globally with the whole world currently scrambling, trying to find ways to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. The introduction of measures attempting to curb the spread of the virus has majorly transformed the order of the day, introducing a “new” normal that we’re all still trying to get used to.
With everyone affected, businesses have also had to adjust to sudden changes. The bad news is that these extreme measures may disrupt operations for quite an extended time, with the threat of long-lasting impact. However, the brilliant news is that you’re still in control and can ride on these changes to tap into opportunities that will see your business grow to greater heights. And this is where SEO comes in.
Search reveals consumer intent and behaviour, which in the wake of COVID-19, has divulged very interesting patterns. Given the impact on search behaviour, consumer mobility & social media consumption habits, audiences have switched up how they do things. People are searching and spending time online more than they ever have before and this is an opportunity for strategies and efforts that invest in SEO.
Let’s take a look at the 6 ways Search Engine Optimization can help ease the impact of COVID-19 on your business while catering to the needs of your audiences during a trying time.
#1 – Increased Leads
SEO is the top driver of lead generation. As an inbound strategy, it serves as the most effective and successful source of leads among Business to Business (B2B), Business to Customer (B2C) and non-profit organizations. Search Engine Optimization efforts drive organic traffic, increase sales and revenue and grow your business presence by appealing to your target audience at the right time and in the right platforms. Implementing an SEO strategy reaches your most qualified audiences through target keywords used in relevant copy, and through increased ranking in search engines that produces more exposure for your brand. In a nutshell, SEO generates leads by ensuring that you’re visible in search engines, and that you appear when users search for your target keywords.
Now, during this crisis, would be the perfect time to define:
- Who are your leads? Are they the same type of leads that you had before the pandemic?
- What are you saying to these leads & how do you say it? Communication in such a time needs to be appropriately toned.
- Where will you engage your leads? What platforms will have the most meaningful return? Social media platforms have recently seen an increase.
- How will you convert your leads into long-term customers that will still be there after the pandemic?
#2 – Increased conversion rate
Now that we’ve mentioned converting your leads, let‘s explore how SEO further achieves this. One way to guarantee high conversion rates is to have a good ranking of your website on search engines. Awareness is raised to your target market as you maintain your strong hold on the top position. The more customers become familiar with your brand and gain insight into your products/services, the higher the probability of having leads converted.
Pro-Tip: Search is measurable. To keep on the path of high conversions, study buyer behaviour (which is likely to change over the coming months) and tailor budget and effort according to the changes. Invest in keyword phrases with stronger buyer intent and promote content that will appeal to the current mood of the consumer.
#3 – Save on costs
Brands at the moment are trying to find ways to save on costs given that the main profit generating activities have been halted. Well, SEO aids in this by lowering advertising costs. High rankings lessen the need to invest in paid media methods such as PPC or other advertising strategies. You continue to retain leading position above your competitors as long as users click on your website on SERPs.
Additionally, SEO, as mentioned earlier, is part of activities pertaining to inbound lead generation and incurs little to no cost. The other activities include social media management, blogging & referrals; all of which are available and are a great way to reach out to people right now.
The other end of this spectrum is that on top of saving on costs, SEO also generates money – a need during economic downtimes. Search engine marketing reaches a user when they are in a state of need and is able to produce sales and leads simply because a consumer is connected to your brand when searching for your product or services. Even in self-quarantine or lockdown, people will still need products and possibly, will be searching online now more than ever. When there is scarcity, people search – presenting an opportunity for your brand to be at the forefront of these searches.
#4 – Builds brand awareness
Brand awareness talks to how familiar consumers are with your brand. This is the extent to which the target market recognizes you on any platform. SEO ensures that your product or service is easily found on search engines when organic search is conducted. The higher the rankings, the higher the awareness.
SEO also builds awareness through the following elements
- Link building – Reaching out to important role players in your circle increases brand recognition because they have a large following that they can market your business to. Not forgetting the other part of acquiring good backlinks that then increases your domain authority, causing search engines to favour you and increase your rankings as well.
- Optimized content – Content that utilizes the right keywords satisfies your audiences’ need. For example, keyword research right now would reveal what people want to know about the Coronavirus pandemic and this can be used to then create content that serves to cater to these questions. This would be the one way to educate while also increasing brand awareness, credibility & authority.
#5 – Increased marketing share
Dominating SERPs means there are high chances for your website to be found by audiences. These users are then leads with a very likely potential to turn into your customers. Customers either make a purchase, sign up for membership or subscribe to a newsletter – further increasing your conversion rate. As soon as this happens, you gain a share of the market.
#6 – Targeted new markets
This is where keyword research proves to be useful again. Keyword research helps you break a large market into smaller segments and defines each segment of consumers based on their unique characteristics. Given the drastic change in user behaviour all over the world, conducting research gives you insight into which markets are a need currently and which you can possibly tap into. This is then an opportunity to venture into a new avenue where you can adapt your services & products to best fit the needs of a new audience. Now is the time to capitalize on the scarcity of specific services & products that will be facing an increase in demand.
A knee-jerk reaction currently would be to panic, understandably so. However, with SEO efforts implemented properly, there still is a chance to minimize the damage. Keep calm, proactive and help carry your audience through what’s a volatile time until things get back to normal again, It’s possible. Let’s give it a try.