In this article, we’re going to cover ‘why is SEO important for business during COVID-19?’ and how you can get ahead of the competition. Since the pandemic started, there have been significant changes to both our personal and professional lives, which have had a drastic knock-on effect for the economy and, in particular, SMBs. Many of my clients had their businesses virtually grind to a halt with the numerous lockdowns…and some of them may well not fully recover. Some states and territories are enjoying more relaxed physical distancing rules, allowing them to target a percentage of their former customers, but many of the larger states as well as some countries are still doing it extremely tough.
This is where having an online presence has now become essential, as consumers search online in far greater numbers than before (Google has received almost 2.3 trillion searches this year alone). SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has always been a critical component of any good online marketing strategy when having an online presence, as it enables your business to rank as a top result from those over 2 trillion searches. In a COVID-19 world, we have seen a growing trend in the reliance on search engines for answering people’s concerns around the pandemic, for online shopping and for access to those key pieces of information. This is likely to continue growing post pandemic.
As the world adapts to life with COVID-19, small businesses should consider why SEO is so important and how it will help ensure not only online sales, but also provide clear information to consumers during these uncertain times. As search engines organise global information, SEO helps to increase targeted traffic to your website by providing the exact information that customers need, such as ‘what are your opening hours?’.
An effective SEO strategy requires a balance of correct technical know-how with a strong ability to create hyper-relevant content that drives online visitors to your site. This would be a good time to speak to us regarding your small business SEO needs.
Understand thoroughly your list of topics and keywords
Within your business, understand fully the list of topics you want to communicate over the next few months and what the needs of your customers are, any pain points they have and how your SMB can help them. Once this is done, highlight the specific keywords linked with these topics which could drive consumers to your site from related search terms. The greater the specificity, the more opportunities you’ll have to entice visitors and convert them into customers.
Carry out content analysis on your website
Take some time to analyse your site’s content for quality and absolute relevance to your target audience. In particular, look out for the following:
- the number of phrases or keyword synonyms on each page that rank
- double check SEO titles and meta descriptions
- flag all indexed pages for search engines to crawl
- ensure your website design is up to date
- test mobile performance – think mobile site first
- the tonality of your content needs to be consistently on-brand and speak to your audience
It’s critical that your content is highly engaging for your consumers and easy for search engines to crawl.
Maintain a consistent blogging frequency
Create a trove of hyper-relevant blog posts for your site, offering readers a diverse range of valuable detail and insights. Pick a frequency that’s manageable for you, but try to publish a blog at least once a month, as consistency is the key to SEO content publishing.
Stay on top of what’s happening in your market, and (again) make sure content is written specifically for your audience. You should also consider link-building for your articles across various social channels and partnership/affiliate websites.
Update Google My Business
Now is the time to create or update your Google My Business listing – ensuring the content matches your SEO strategy. It’s important that this information is accurate and up-to-date so consumers can find your business via Google Maps, see your new opening times, read reviews of your business, or view quality images etc to learn more about your offering.
Protect your business for the future with these tips
Nobody can predict accurately what will happen next with the COVID-19 pandemic; many businesses have changed forever, hopefully for the better. However, a more ‘business as usual’ approach will presumably come in time. Whether your small business is in caretaker mode or you’re wondering how to get ahead online during the pandemic, Online Marketing Group can help you with your small business growth. These following 10 tips will help you prioritise your online marketing needs and explain why SEO is such a key part of your overall strategy.
Why you need SEO to succeed in an extended Covid-19 economy
Why is SEO important for business during COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions?…it’s because this has changed how we do business, possibly forever. Many small businesses have migrated online, at least partially. And with it, the internet has changed, too – causing search engine algorithms to evolve alongside.
Regardless of whether you offer products or services online, or have a retail store, SEO will continue to play a major role in your business goals going forward.
Here are 10 key reasons why your small business’s bottom line, website and brand reputation will benefit from good SEO practices during and after Covid-19:
- Consumers are going online for everything now
The number of internet searches was already high in 2019, but time spent online, online purchases and searches all increased significantly after the pandemic hit in early 2020. Small businesses in particular must adapt their marketing strategy to increase their visibility where their target market is looking. This is why SEO is such a no-brainer! It is right at that key decision-making point within the buying cycle.
- Ranking high on Google creates trust and credibility
One of the main benefits of SEO is that it leverages off people’s trust in Google. Globally, over 90% of searches occur on Google. Subsequently, people think if you rank high in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), you must be an expert. It’s similar to receiving a 5-star review.
- Good SEO equals 24/7 marketing
Having your website optimised by an SEO Pro and creating rich, fresh content frequently can prove better than hiring a salesperson. The massive advantage that SEO provides by enabling you to show up precisely when and where people are searching for you, also increases organic traffic to your site whether you’re actively working or sound asleep. This just underlines the importance of SEO for small businesses during COVID-19.
- SEO remains the most cost-effective marketing weapon
Consumers searching for your services or products are looking for you on their own accord. You no longer need to pay thousands of dollars on Google or social media ads to entice them to click on your site. You still have to invest in good SEO services through an agency, but it will generate a more profit over time than with ads. With all ads, traffic/leads drop when you hit your daily cap or stop paying. There’s also no guarantee that ads will target the right type of customers that you want.
SEO vs. Google Ads ROI (Return On Investment)
Due to the way paid ads e.g. Google ads are run and the demand for certain keywords, many of those search terms are very expensive – especially if you’re in a competitive market which has seen increased traffic due to the pandemic. Ad spend could easily be upwards of $1,500 a month. However, the ROI with SEO is far greater than what it would be if you had to compete with rivals using paid ads.
- SEO puts your website in front of users who are much more targeted
Another significant benefit of SEO is that it attracts high-quality traffic. These users are typing specific keywords and queries to search for your services or products. When they see content on your site that matches their specific needs, they’re more primed to become paying customers. Additionally, they’re more likely to pay your fees and refer you to others. A staggering 90% of consumers are more likely to click on an organic search result than a paid ad. Strong SEO creates trust.
Building a website that resonates with potential clients
Often, when potential clients contact me, they’ll quote something they read on my site. They appreciate that I understand their pain points and can discuss it using the same terminology they do.
- Potential clients are researching prior to purchase
Over 85% of consumers research online before they make a purchase. The ability to do research is one of the main reasons people shop online in the first place. Your website is your online headquarters. However, potential clients will also check out reviews, social media, and content across the internet to learn about you. It’s to your advantage to create, or at least shape, as much of that content as possible.
Customers use your website differently throughout their purchasing decision
In the mental health world, people avoid making an appointment for months or years. They usually call when the issue is impacting every area of their life and they can’t hide and/or stand it anymore. A good SEO strategy allows you to meet potential clients at every step of their purchase journey. By showing up on various platforms with different content, I can get in front of them regardless of where they are in their process. I can be there when they’re just looking as well as months later when they’re ready to hire me.
- Off-page SEO helps increase your online presence
By showing up in multiple locations and across multiple platforms, you give people different opportunities to learn about your business. Part of an SEO strategy should include guest blogging, social media, online forums and being listed in relevant directories. This also helps to build authority. Users expect experts to show up in numerous places online, and Google will, too. Additionally, these efforts combine to help drive natural traffic back to my website.
- Your competitors are already using SEO
SEO is a staple in any solid online marketing strategy these days, but many small businesses might not understand what it can achieve for their them or how effective it is.
Your competitors are analysing your website
Your competition wants to succeed just as you do. They’ll work tirelessly to be in front of the same potential clients. They may even hire an SEO Pro. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to improve your search engine rankings and gain a strong flow of customers.
Should you hire an SEO Pro?
Remaining ahead of your rivals is hard work! You’ll need to decide if you have the right skills and knowledge to DIY your SEO efforts or whether you need to get help from an agency. Bear in mind – it’s not simply technical SEO you need to know. You need to understand what your users’ search intent is, as well as having the right mix of hyper-relevant content, a defined link building strategy and so on.
Contact Online Marketing Group to ‘Quote Me Better.’
- SEO can help you outrank larger companies in your market
In the two years before the global pandemic hit, local searches on Google for providers, products, and services increased by a massive 250%. Hence the reason why they modified their Google My Business and ‘near me’ features in natural (organic) search results. A good local SEO strategy can help you create content that centres around being part of a community and being a supporter of certain causes. In comparison to the larger end of town, here’s where you can stand out as trustworthy and relatable. This was even more prevalent during Covid lockdowns, where local communities pulled together to support local businesses. This trend is predicted to continue growing as we start to see the pandemic as something we may have to live with longer term – but much more easily and with far fewer lockdowns thanks to vaccination rates.
Local SEO helps search engines show your website to more people
Regardless of how big your competitors are and how well-known they may be, with SEO-relevant content, your small business can focus on precisely what local consumers really want. It might be that you offer contact-free pick up or drop-off, or that you work closely alongside other local specialists to make their lives easier by offering this convenience where they can rely on someone they trust to provide additional services / products. Adapting to the new business environment is a must for the survival of all businesses in this current climate. Small businesses will always be effected more acutely as is natural – I can empathise fully. I am the owner of a small business myself.
- SEO is a medium- to long-term strategy
It can often take six months plus to see significant results from the SEO work you do both on your website and online. However, it’s worth remembering that this is one of the most cost-effective forms of online marketing out there. On top of this aspect, your business will also continue to experience those benefits of SEO for a number of years once you set up a solid foundation based on a technically optimised website, rich content across multiple platforms and a positive online and offline brand reputation.
SEO helps get the most from your marketing efforts and investment
If you want your business to be successful and profitable, chances are you’ll be doing these activities already. You also understand that all of these take a considerable amount of time and effort. When you combine these efforts through a carefully considered SEO strategy – they seamlessly blend into each other and leverage off one another. This creates a snowball effect that gathers momentum and produces better results with every action you take.
See more of our small business SEO blogs here.