How to get the most out of your SEO during a pandemic
SEO has never been so important. That’s not just a personal opinion of ours – it’s an undeniable fact. One of the many world-changing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been to accelerate the rise in online shopping, and now more people are using Google to purchase products and services than ever before – it’s used by 81% of online shoppers and 89% of B2B buyers.
Your own online presence has probably been a vital lifeline in these very tough months, so trust us when we say that investment in SEO is the key to helping you stay visible to customers, and helping you to stay competitive in a digital marketplace that’s now more crowded than ever. Happily, you don’t even need to undertake a major SEO project to start seeing the benefits. In fact, just some fresh focus on the basics can take you a long way – and that’s exactly where we can help here at 21Digital, both during the current lockdown, and beyond.
Start with an SEO audit
Before you make any significant changes to your site’s SEO, it’s always best to start with an SEO audit. In a nutshell, it’s an evaluation of your site’s different ‘ranking factors’ – basically, the bits that Google looks at to decide where to place your site in its search results. A comprehensive SEO audit is essential, as it provides invaluable data that can be used to make informed decisions about your site’s SEO.
Tools like Google Search Console – a staple of most SEO audits – can help you to spot which of your chosen keywords are underperforming. This helps to identify opportunities for on-page optimisation, such as writing additional keyword-rich content, more internal links, or improving the speed of a certain page.
If you’re not entirely sure how to use Google Search Console, don’t worry. Our in-house experts can handle all that for you as part of our technical SEO services.
Turn the spotlight on local SEO
According to research published in the Independent, shopping local has become a big priority for British consumers throughout the current pandemic. It’s no secret that SMEs and independent businesses in particular have been feeling the strain in 2020. The public have recognised this, resulting in a nationwide drive to support local economies and local brands. There are also other practical reasons too – for example, it can save shoppers the inevitable delays in international shipping of certain goods. For all those reasons and more, it’s vital to turn your microscope on your local SEO too, so that you’re not missing out on customers.
In recent months, there’s been a spike in local search terms such as “children’s shoe shops near me”, or “scented candle shops open now”. This likely isn’t all that surprising – you’ve probably made very similar searches yourself.
In order to give your site the best ranking in the results for those searches, you’ll need to start by making sure that your business is registered with Google. If you’ve ever heard the term NAP SEO before, this is what it’s referring to – Name, Address and Phone number, all of which are crucial for bumping your site up in search results. Google classes these details as a trust factor, as they help to establish you as a genuine business. The more consistent your details are across the web, the more trusted your business will be, and the higher up you’ll end up in Google Search Results.
That means it’s worth taking a quick look at all the details on your website, to ensure that they all match and that there are no typos or blank fields where there shouldn’t be. Headers and footers are a particularly good area to focus on, to ensure they’re consistent with your Contact page. Don’t forget to check any other directories, indexes or pages where your business might be featured.
Your business may not be open at the time of writing, but don’t let that stop you from adding it to Google anyway! SEO is sort of like a powerful steam engine – you need to put the fuel in before it can all get started, and while it might take a little while for the wheels to start spinning at first, with proper maintenance you’ll soon be rocketing along.
Target new search terms
Covid-19 hasn’t just changed the real-world landscape, but the digital one too. Coronavirus may end up being one of the most frequently searched terms in Google’s history, and national and regional restrictions are having a huge effect on now just what people search for, but also how they search for it.
Restaurant and hospitality searches, for example, now often include the word ‘takeaway’, while traditionally in-person activities like salsa classes might be bookended by the words ‘social distancing’. Kerbside pickup is another particularly common term, as customers are wary about stepping foot inside crowded shops and stores to pick up physical items. By rethinking your target keywords with new additions like these, you’ll be able to stay responsive to the needs of your customers, and adapt to changing search trends to bring fresh traffic to your business.
And if you need any extra advice or support, that’s what we’re here for at 21Digital. With more than 17 years of experience behind us, we keep all our skills in-house, so you can count on us to provide award-winning technical SEO skills and expertise that help your business grow. Our award-winning services also encompass web design, web development, SEO, Google Ads, digital consultancy, social media marketing, and email marketing services.