We are amidst an unprecedented global pandemic that requires companies to provide both creative and logical solutions to survive. The COVID-19 crisis has forced many of us to find alternative ways of doing business in order to maintain streams of revenue.
Whether your business falls under essential or non-essential, it’s vital to keep the lines of communication open with your customers to preserve trust in your brand. Search engine optimization is one avenue that connects clients and businesses.
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Here are a number of SEO tactics you can use to improve the means of communication between your business and its audience
Build trust: Communicate your company’s response to COVID-19
Communicate the way your company is responding to COVID-19 clearly for visitors. In these uncertain times, people are unsure about who they can turn to in order to provide the safest products or services. In order for people to trust your business, they need to know that you have their best interests in mind.
Customers are more likely to buy from a company they trust. Earn trust by making visitors feel comfortable about how you’re handling social distancing and the precautions you’re taking to keep your clients safe.
The trust you build with your audience is a crucial factor in determining whether or not a potential customer does business with your company. Address the main concern people have by making it known what precautions your company has taken to create safety for your employees and customers.
Include as much detail on your safety procedures and policies in the post specifically assigned to your COVID-19 update. It will provide your customers with the information they’re looking for, which in turn, builds more trust in your brand.
Place your response on your homepage and all location pages
Let your clients know what changes you are making in your daily operations to ensure their safety. Update the homepage of your site and landing pages to make those changes clearly visible. Use banners or sliders, and provide links to a more detailed safety procedure or policy that your company has implemented.
Many businesses are making their policies known by advertising “contactless transactions” to reduce the risk of infection. Restaurants that provide free delivery and take out services are carefully educating their customers on their policy on delivery. Many companies are listing their response to COVID-19 directly on their homepage, instructing customers on how their contactless delivery systems work.
Update your meta descriptions
When your website appears in search results, you can make it immediately known to users that you have adapted your operations to provide a safe environment.
Change your meta description of services to announce the changes you’ve made. When users are scanning through the search results page, your website becomes more enticing by having a COVID statement to show you’ve adapted and are taking precautions.
Update your Google My Business listing
Google has provided a few new sections in the Google My Business listing to communicate to your local clients the status of your company. Treat your GMB profile just as your website and communicate as much information as possible. The extra effort to be transparent will compliment your local SEO efforts.
The information you provide in your GMB listing gives search engines more details to include your site in both branded and unbranded searches. As one of many traditional local SEO strategies, keeping your information up-to-date can be one of the most effective tactics for attracting local business.
As a temporary solution, Google is allowing businesses to list their current status next to the name of their company. Companies can add “deliveries available” or “virtual classes only” after their company name.
If companies are temporarily closed, it is advised to share that, through a button displayed in your GMB dashboard. Be advised that the use of the feature may cause a drop in ranking, which, in theory, should return when the COVID-19 lockdown is over and your business re-opens.
If your hours of operation have changed, make the adjustments directly on your profile, as well as on your website’s homepage and location pages.
Reassess your keyword strategy
The pandemic has brought about a shift in what people are searching for. Many sectors have taken a hit while others have flourished. It’s important to be aware of what areas in your business have declined and what areas are still generating interest. The keyword strategy your company is engaged in should be refocused to account for relevant search terms your audience is using in searches.
Separate your keywords by rank
Run a ranking report on the keywords your site ranks for and separate the groups into first page rankings and second-page rankings. The list of these keywords will lay the groundwork for a chunk of your short-term content strategy.
From the list of keywords that rank on the first page, you can increase the traffic they generate by targeting featured snippets and “people also ask” content. A few small changes are sometimes all that’s needed to win a featured position.
From the list of keywords on the second page, add relevant sections of content to make the page more competitive. In some cases, you may need to create supporting articles to move the needle and get a first-page ranking.
Add new keywords to your keyword strategy
Consider what the landscape could look like a few months down the road. It’s important to maintain an increased content schedule that doesn’t necessarily address COVID-related issues. Adding some new keywords to your list will help contribute to a stronger recovery when things return to normal.
Get started now on targeting new keywords with fresh content that will pay off as part of your long-term strategy.
Publish relevant FAQs
The best way to answer questions people are asking is to publish (or add new questions to) a Frequently Asked Questions page. You can add these questions to your top-ranking pages to address common questions your audience is asking. Implement FAQ structured data so your FAQs show up in the search results, are eligible for voice search and make your page more enticing to click on.
Adding schema to your site increases the amount of information that search engines can pick up on without making it visible to your users. Communicate more with search engines to increase the relevance your page has in the search results. A more recent update was the addition of the new schema for COVID-related critical announcements and events for health and government agency sites.
With over 800 types of Schema to incorporate into your pages, this presents a potential competitive advantage. According to a case study conducted by Milestone, they were able to get significant increases in traffic from 40 schema types and 130 attributes and properties.
Increase educational content creation
Conductor published a survey that concluded that educational content makes people 131 percent more likely to buy. A week after reading an article from the brand that educated them, 48 percent of people were still likely to buy. Although the numbers are different, the same holds true for B2B clients: according to Referral Rock, 62 percent of B2B buyers make purchase decisions from online content alone.
So, continue to create content to educate your audience. Keep in mind that it takes a few months to develop a keyword and get an article enough backlinks to rank and generate traffic. SEO is a long-term strategy and the content you publish today will have an impact on the growth of your traffic when the lockdown is over.
With the restrictions from shelter in place orders, it’s necessary to address COVID-related issues within your content. Build trust and keep the lines of communication open with your clients and the local community. It’s also necessary to maintain a content schedule that will promote your business’ recovery and contribute to growth when things return to “normal.”
Now is the time to improve on-page SEO and make technical improvements to get your pages in a position to receive more traffic. And in order to compensate for any losses from the economic shutdown, continue to produce quality content that you will benefit from in the future.