Why Your SEO Should Never Go Into Quarantine

Whatever marketing activities you thought you’d focus on in 2020, think again. COVID-19 has overturned every industry and affected results across all marketing channels. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop advertising and marketing altogether, particularly SEO. 

SEO will play an instrumental role in ensuring your brand remains visible during the next few months and will position you for future recovery. Even as we work from home, following #stayhome on Instagram, SEO offers a multitude of long-term investment opportunities, even in times of crisis. 

Read on, and we’ll tell you why your SEO should never go into quarantine. 

  1. SEO is a long-term investment in your future growth
  2. In uncertain times, it’s natural to think in the short-term. The truth is, SEO isn’t a short game – it’s a long-term investment in your future growth – and one that needs to be maintained over time. You and your marketing team have worked hard to achieve your organic performance today. Pausing your SEO activity is a grave mistake. But why?

    Your site will lose relevance for your core keyword groupings, and much of the traction you’ve gained in organic search won’t be there when the COVID-19 pandemic passes. It may make sense to reduce customer acquisition activities, but SEO is about so much more than acquisition, it’s about presence. 

    Any SEO activity typically requires a few months to see ranking results, which means any SEO investment made now will yield returns in the near distant future. Continue working on your SEO, and you’ll be visible when consumer behaviour returns to normal. 

  3. COVID-19 search trends are an opportunity to generate awareness
  4. Adapt your SEO and content strategy to the current climate by reviewing COVID-19 messaging in your industry and niche. As the pandemic unfolds, search trends are rapidly changing by the day, but a future proof SEO activity to capture the traffic is to create a dedicated COVID-19 landing page. 

    One of our clients, a non-profit organisation in the health sector, created a COVID-19 landing page in mid-march. Three weeks later, 7,050 users have landed on the page via organic search. The page outperformed the entire site across all channels, demonstrating the results that can be generated by becoming part of the COVID-19 conversation.

    Hepatitis NSW COVID page results graph
  5. YouTube and video content are relevant now more than ever
  6. For the foreseeable future, the majority of users are staying home, and they’ll need something to do. YouTube and video content are highly valuable and relevant assets now more than ever. 

    YouTube SEO is a highly underutilised strategy. Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google? If you have a channel loaded with video content, now is the time to optimise for peak performance. Not only will your video rankings on YouTube improve, but you’ll see valuable traffic arriving on your website. 

    But what if I don’t have any video content? Production quality is only part of the game, and lo-fi doesn’t always mean poor quality. Use what equipment you have (yes, a smartphone works and it’s HD) and start filming. There’s a range of editing apps out there that can help you finalise your end product. 

  7. Now is the time to get on top of your Technical SEO
  8. Technical SEO is the foundation for a strong website, but shifting priorities and time-constraints often delay implementation. Now’s the time to revisit your Technical SEO, particularly page speed recommendations.

    Google is now placing top priority on the mobile experience with mobile-first indexing, which means responsive design may not be enough to stay in the search engine’s favour. Some image sizes, page formats and templates aren’t as suited to mobile as desktop, and can grind your mobile site to a standstill. Additionally, ensure your Javascript and CCS delivery is minified for optimal performance. 

    To expand your presence on the search results page, you may want to start experimenting with Schema markup. It takes up to 12 weeks for the search engine to start displaying rich snippets from the structured data, which means starting now will help you get ahead on competitors who’ve paused their activity. 

  9. Users are still searching for top and mid-funnel content 
  10. Many users are shifting back to the consideration and awareness stages of their journey. This means top and mid-funnel content will provide a significant medium to long-term benefit, and generate the brand awareness necessary to bounce back in future. 

    Having trouble generating ideas or not sure how to prioritise content topics on your editorial calendar? Consider which topics achieve the following:

    • Answer a frequently asked question 
    • Position your brand as a thought leader
    • Reinforce your expertise in the industry
    • Provide commentary on content created by other brands

    How to perform keyword research for an SEO content calendar is a topic in itself, so we’ll save that for later, but you can find a more detailed discussion about choosing blog topics here

  11. Use down-time to audit and optimise existing content 

Remember all those outdated blog posts on your site? What looks like digital waste is actually a SEO gold mine. While your business has slowed down, you have a valuable opportunity to audit and optimise the existing blog content on your site. 

Why should you do this? Pages and blog posts build authority with age. Generally a blog post written three years ago is more authoritative on the topic than a piece published last week, so long as it has been updated with the most recent information, passing the algorithm’s freshness criteria. 

We conducted a blog optimisation project for one of our clients in the first half of 2019. The client is a non profit organisation, specialised in HIV testing and sexual health. Over 6 months, we brought 477% more users to their site simply by optimising older and outdated blog posts. If you just started now, imagine the SEO superpower that would be on your site in the next 6 months!

Ending HIV Blog Optimisation results graph

Want to invest in your SEO but not sure how to get started? Reef can help you double down on your SEO and content production to adapt your strategy and ultimately grow your business.

SEO doesn’t stand alone. If you’d like a review of your entire digital marketing strategy, including performance media and conversion rate optimisation, get in touch with us and discover our strategic action plan. 
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