Most UK businesses are working hard to remain relevant throughout this pandemic, and keeping up a strong digital presence through SEO and content marketing will be one of the most important steps business can take. With the high street and physical shops being forced to close, an online presence and digital marketing has become more important and relied on than ever before.
Consumer needs and behaviour has dramatically changed during the last couple of months and this has affected our online behaviour too. For example, searching for things like “baking recipes”, “at home workout equipment” and “hot tubs” have never had so many hits.
SEO is especially important for SMBs during COVID as local searches are crucial at the moment, with a huge number of the UK population using search terms such as “near me” “open now near me”. Therefore, this can have a huge opportunity for those small businesses who are able to offer some of their services within that local area to gain a competitive advantage.
But let’s get one thing straight, we are not saying that SEO gains are instant. SEO is all about gaining trust from search engines slowly over time. There is plenty you can be doing now that is worth your while for further down the line too.
A study conducted by Ahrefs found that only 1% of pages that ranked in first position on Google were less than a year old. This goes to show that gaining results is down to persistent hard work over a long period of time.
So, what work can companies do now towards their SEO?
1. Publish evergreen content
If you are unfamiliar with the term “evergreen content”, it simply means content that is always relevant; much like the way evergreen trees retain their leaves all year round. Publishing evergreen content that does not become dated is necessary in order to be found online by search engines and also a great way to stay active online during lockdown. It is great to write about trending topics and be reactive to the latest news. However, leading brands and high authority websites will dominate the page one results for these topics. However, evergreen content accumulates traffic over time and there is never a bad time to publish content on evergreen topics.
2. Write more blogs- 16 per month
HubSpot states that companies that publish 16 or more blog per month generate 4.5 more leads than those that publish four or less blog posts a month. Creating great content is the attraction for leads, while the quantity of content has been shown to be associated with higher traffic, the quality of content matters as well. All of your blog content should be optimised for SEO in order to increase rankings. It is also important to make sure the content links to your overall marketing plan and that you are sending out the right message.
3. Monitor Keywords
Now is the time to closely monitor Google Trends, Google Search consoles and other keyword tools in order to understand shifts in search engines and behaviour around keywords that may had been relevant in the past but are not now. This research should provide you with a clearer SEO strategy for the future and help you adapt any current content in order to be successful.
4. Monitor your website performance
It is important to monitor your website performance to understand how well it’s performing or being affected by what is going on. Has the number of visitors to your website decreased? Are there new pages on your website which are now the most popular? Or new terms people are searching for and arriving on your website from? With not being able to do market research face to face, this is another way to get the results you need for marketing in the future.
5. Adapt content to the new normal
Fine-tuning your message around COVID-19 specifically has been an issue many businesses across the world have had to face. If your business is considered essential or majorly impacted by COVID-19, consider creating a dedicated page to capture all relevant coronavirus traffic and link to the correct area of your website. It is important to check all your content for links to booking holidays, face to face meetings or participating in activities that may break government restrictions.
6. Develop more video content
People are spending more time online and it is predicted that more time will be spent viewing video content online. Consider developing more relevant video content that users will make more time to sit and watch. You can leverage the SEO insights to help inform video topics that are relevant and mindful of topics people are currently searching for.
7. Ask for reviews
Customer reviews through sites like Google help to improve your search rankings and overall SEO efforts. While there are a lot of factors like the ones mentioned above which contribute to improving your SEO position customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority.