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SEO in a Pandemic: Adjust Your Strategy to the New Reality

Published: April 22, 2020

Author: Brittany Page

As we covered in a recent Search Engine Land column, there are strategies every kind of organization can and should employ as soon as possible to adapt to the realities of the age of social distancing. In this post, I’ll dive into how businesses with both increased and decreased demand should adjust their SEO priorities and strategies (and avoid making big SEO mistakes) as the COVID-19 age unfurls.

If your business is suffering…

There are some businesses that just won’t fare well during this time: gyms, spas, health clubs, hair salons, restaurants, retail, and more. Industries that require foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations for business are suffering most acutely. For industries whose bottom line has been negatively affected by Coronavirus, the challenge becomes staying relevant when your industry isn’t top of mind.
In order to maintain relevance in this changing landscape, these businesses can leverage at-home content topics. If your business is a health club or gym, think about building content and videos around at-home workouts, workouts without weights, indoor workouts, and other related queries that have seen a spike in the last 90 days. People may have to stay home, but they still want to maintain their fitness.

If your business is a spa or hair salon, DIY spa treatments, at-home pedicures, or DIY skin care routines could be areas of opportunities as people are looking to maintain their self-care routines while stuck at home. Think about how you can assist your consumers in maintaining their health and beauty.
For service industries, like restaurants, shops, salons, and spas, consider promoting gift certificates (even in a period of shut-down or reduced hours) and promotions so that once this deescalates, patrons will be incentivized to come back in.
If you are in one of the many industries that has seen big traffic declines as a result of the coronavirus, strive to stay ahead of the curve on search trends and search behavior so that when your audience is looking for tips and tricks, your content is there.

If your business is booming…

While some industries have seen a stark decline in search demand, some industries have actually benefited from this new reality. Industries such as home improvement, entertainment, hobbies, cooking, online learning, video conferencing, consumer goods (staples not luxury), food delivery, home fitness, and wellness have seen an increase in search demand and consumption in the past 60 days. After a lackluster Q4, Peloton has seen a 60% increase in sales and monthly subscriptions as people look for ways to stay active at home.

As people make the shift to work from home, companies like Zoom and GoToMeeting have seen an increase in the demand for their services. Video conferencing is now taking the place of in-person meetings.

But even if you are not one of the conglomerates of video conferencing and your business is not around video conferencing, creating content around productivity while WFH and how to be successful at working from home can go a long way in helping customers. Creating content on tips for how to maintain a schedule while WFH, how to maintain a work/life balance in WFH, and how to WFH with kids can help people who may have a hard time adjusting.

Regardless of the industry, it’s time to think outside of the box and see how your company can help those in need.

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