COVID-19 - Impact on Search Engine Marketing
The global pandemic of Covid-19 while having its impact on various sectors, had a considerable impact on Digital Marketing and Advertising as well, in global, regional and local level. Search reflects human behaviour and COVID-19 is affecting each industry differently. For example, just as people are forming lines outside grocery stores, ecommerce sites that sell those same essentials are likely experiencing a huge surge in traffic. However, this impact for most part was a positive one, rather than what was being witnessed in various other fields such as economy, human resource, etc.
While the virus created lot of uncertainties among customers and marketers alike, with respect to health, social life, economic stability, employment, etc., the same also led to behavioural shifts such as working remotely, spending lot of time indoors, adopting to home-schooling, learning new recipes from the internet, increased attention on health and hygiene, avoiding crowded areas, increased social media engagement, shift towards online content, etc., and all of these had an immense impact on marketing, advertising efforts and SEO metrics.
The Surging up of Ecommerce sites selling essentials, clearly the products people needed during the pandemic. This huge surge in demand, leads to product shortages and have even created a lot of queries. On the flip side, the demand for non-essential products are experiencing drops in traffic such as products linked up to travel like luggage. But things that are non-essential one day become essentials the next. When work from home started getting mandating, things like the office chair, office desk started popping out in queries. The same way sites like Health and Wellness, Recipe, Publisher sites etc, surged huge demand.
The purpose of SEO is not simply to increase website traffic but to increase qualified traffic. This means that visitors who are finding their way to the website in the face of opposing trends are most likely very interested in what we have to offer. In this sense, SEO can help to identify highly qualified leads for business, even if nurtured in the future. It has been extensively in talks that SEO is important right now because internet use is the highest it’s ever been. Traffic to many websites from search engines may be down, but traffic to search engines is not. People who used to listen to the radio on their commute are now checking Google for updates. Older generation consumers who used to rely on their caretakers are now using voice assistants to get answers.
For many businesses, the future is uncertain. The world is dipping into a slowdown so cuts will have to be made and picking yourself up after that will not be easy. It makes sense to invest in a long term marketing strategy that will provide a way out after the pandemic. SEO is characteristically a long term strategy. What we do today will bear fruits much later in the future. Since the pandemic has no expiry date, it makes sense to put more effort into a long term strategy so that once the disease has crawled back to wherever it came from you are ready to receive customers.