How to Approach SEO in the Time of COVID-19
I’ve been asked by a number of LimeLight clients if they should be making any changes to their SEO strategy, content calendar or tactical implementation plans. The truth is that the COVID-19 crisis is a test for everyone, but we as marketers still need to think about long-term objectives and strategic goals. Wherever we can, we should keep trying to build our brands while keeping our staff as safe as possible.
Right now, it might seem capitalistic to even be talking about building brands or creating content or improving SEO strategy, given what’s happening in the world. But from a practical point of view, the world of economic trade needs to keep turning and we will all eventually move forward. Reining things in now when you might not absolutely have to, might not be the best thing for your business once the world renormalizes.
Short-term vs long-term SEO strategy
Here’s my advice. Should you change your SEO strategy in the short-term? The answer is no, but you might want or need to rethink how you promote the content you are creating, and if you need to boost efforts to create additional content about COVID-19.
Here are my five recommendations:
- Your SEO strategy is not a short-term game. You are creating content for long-term organic traffic. The content you publish today will yield loads of new prospects and visitors in the coming months and years, long after this situation ends. So it’s important to continue to create and publish content on your website following your keywords and SEO strategy. This will pay off in the long-term, especially if your competitors get side-tracked and let off of their SEO efforts. The exception is if your content is on a topic that could be considered tone-deaf in this environment. For example, publishing content on Tips For Throwing a Birthday Bash isn’t appropriate right now. But an article on How To Plant A Garden is fine if it aligns with your strategy.
- That said, I do suggest re-considering how you promote your content during this time. Think carefully about your emails and social media posts, and consider adjusting or reprioritizing content or not posting the content if it doesn’t feel right. Check that your language and imagery are fitting. For example, do you use images of people touching or of people working in offices? You can still publish the blog or video to your website to begin building SEO value and wait to promote it when the environment is settled.
- The number of people on social media is huge right now with people at home with more time on their hands. And we are hearing from many people that they are grasping for some sense of “normal”. So be thoughtful about what you post, but it’s okay – and I would encourage you – to maintain your presence.
- The quality of video content is low at the moment, and that’s accepted and even welcomed. Companies and executives are creating videos from their couch with their phones, and people relate to that and respond well. If it makes sense for you, you might consider creating some low-budget video. If you have videos scheduled to be shot, think about ways you could do this with the tools you currently have at your disposal.
- Your company may need to create content about COVID-19, but we suggest only doing this as it relates to your business and your audience. For example, it makes sense for us at LimeLight to publish an article on How Marketers Can Create Videos When You Can’t Be Face to Face, but we shouldn’t write about Ways To Teach Children From Home. Let the companies who are experts publish that content. Stay focused on what is relevant to your business. If you do need to create that type of content, consider it additional content above and beyond your current content calendar. While it may be needed now, it won’t produce SEO value weeks or months in the future. If you can, stay committed to your content strategy and supplement additional content as needed.
What does the data say?
In an analysis of global organic website traffic and conversion rates, SEO expert Neil Patel found that both are down in most industries, with notable exceptions such as news, food, and pharma.
But he also makes the point that now might be the time to double down – and that applies to your SEO strategy, too. If you can right now, there’s an opportunity to make up some real ground by zeroing in on your core strategy. You might not see an impact for months or even a year, but any work you can put in now will be worth it in the future.
I also wholeheartedly agree with his other two pieces of advice – don’t exploit or try to capitalize on this terrible situation, and please stay at home.