Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month and a half, I am sure you have probably had your share of COVID-19 related news, articles, debates and everything in between. When it comes to the virtual environment, website activity has been like a rollercoaster and the unknown influence of organic traffic is all dependent on your industry, product/service and the ability to be found in front of your target audience and their search activity.
With there being so many different factors that can come into play with rankings and the ability to be visible to these users, there are certainly areas that you can build upon to help your current SEO, not only during this time of crisis, but to set your website up for success even when the current situation eases up. This article is to help you identify some key areas to address in order to have a successful SEO strategy now and in the near future.
Create a COVID-19 Website Page
First and foremost, ensure that your website has a COVID-19 page. This is a great area to house all related material that you are putting out to your current customer base as well as any new prospects that are visiting your website. It is important to let your visitors know if you are operating business as usual or if you have a new set of hours or procedures that help offset your company’s ability to work remotely or are regulated by any type of government order.
Perhaps you can highlight how your product/service relieves a customers’ or businesses’ pain point that they are now feeling due to the unexpected change in the environment, or that you are donating proceeds to a specific cause. Regardless of the type of information acknowledged here, as it pertains to your company’s audience, this page alone is an important factor that will continue to help visitors trust your brand and all you are doing.
Create New Website Content
Don’t let your website become stagnant! It is important, now more than ever, to continue to push new content out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Our latest blog post, Preparing for Recovery with a Winning Content Strategy, offers different types of content that you could be creating during this time and how to focus that messaging to answer current visitor engagement, as well as how to adjust similar content by looking ahead and identifying how visitors may react afterwards during the “new normal.”
There are many tools out there to help you uncover what some of those topics may be, but one particular tool that we use is called Answer The Public which “listens” to search results in order to provide useful questions and phrases that real-life users are searching for based around the keyword(s) you input. Alongside this tool, once you have determined what content you are going to be writing about, you should utilize a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Uber Suggest to identify keyword phrases that should be included to help the content rank on the search engines.
Update Old Content to Make It Relevant Again
If you are struggling to come up with new content, another great resource for you to explore and takes little effort to capitalize on, are reviewing past blog posts to see if you can update any of them to make them relevant to today’s marketing. Often, this is a hidden gem that allows you to take advantage of pre-existing efforts and make them fresh for current users as well as the search engines.
By going back through this content, you can:
- Improve Click Through Rate (CTR) with post updated information
- Improve content accuracy
- Remove broken links that are no longer valid (showing Google that you care)
- Update links to point to resources (internal/external) that make the more sense
- Add media (images and videos)
- Add Schema Markup (if applicable)
- Ensure you are targeting the right keywords
- Re-purpose for other marketing efforts such as Social Media postings
Utilize Search Console
Google Search Console is another great resource that you have at your disposal to identify keywords that your website pages are already ranking for. By understanding which pages and keywords are ranking on page 1, 2 and beyond you can easily begin to work on SEO elements that matter most for each instance.
For example, if you notice that a particular page is ranking well on page 1 with a large number of impressions, but CTR is low, you can begin to optimize the page’s title and description to determine if a change in either of those will entice a user to click through from the search engine results page. However, if you notice that particular pages/keywords are ranking beyond page 2, then you need to update your existing content and look for opportunities to increase keyword usage – in a natural way, no keyword stuffing!
Guide a Visitor to Become a Conversion
Now that you have a good grasp on the content side of SEO, let’s filter this organic traffic into a conversion. First, review your top pages in Google Analytics to understand how your organic traffic is engaging. Are there certain pages that have higher bounce rates or exit rates? Do those pages have call to actions or help answer a visitor’s reason for visiting in the first place?
Most of the time, traffic that is coming through from search engines to blog pages are looking for resources related to certain questions in mind or to read your viewpoint on a particular topic. Within these pages, it’s important to link to a specific product or service that speaks to the content at hand and allows a user to learn how your company can assist with a need they may have. Along with this tactic, a call to action for a top of funnel offer, visible in the sidebar or within the content itself may be useful to highlight a starting point and nurture a user through your sales pipeline. For any gated content, remember to streamline forms, only ask or require information that is needed to continue to sales process.
These high-level conversion paths are a great start, but if you already have these in place or want to take this to the next level, use a tool like Google Optimize to test different elements of a page such as imagery, messaging, call to action buttons, etc. to determine if these types of changes make an impact on conversion rates. Also, take a look at what competitors are also offering and compare yours, is it stronger? Can you enhance your offering to be better than theirs?
Clean Up Any Technical Issues
Lastly, take this time to clean up any technical issues that make reside on your site. We talked about this very briefly above in the form of removing broken links, but there are many other aspects that you can investigate and resolve (some easier than others) that show the search engines as well as users, that you care about your website and it’s usability.
Below is a list of items that can be reviewed from the technical SEO side:
- HTTPS – Is your website secure?
- XML Sitemap – Do search engines know which pages to crawl?
- txt – Is it missing or setup incorrectly?
- Site Indexed – Are all your pages indexed that you want to have indexed?
- Page Speed – Do the mobile and desktop versions of the website load quickly?
- Duplicate Content – Are there similar pages on your website that are considered to be the same?
- Alt Tags – Do your images have the proper description on them?
- Internal/External Links – Are any broken or point to outdated content?
- Structured Data – Can you enhance a page by adding Schema Markup?
- Meta Descriptions – Are any pages missing them or could be better optimized?
We are all looking for ways to fill the void of lost traffic from referring websites, live events or other sources that may have contributed to website visitors. Focusing your efforts on SEO, by creating content, updating old, revising conversion paths and cleaning up technical issues during this time, will pave the path for future stability when business returns to the “normal,” whatever that may be.