As marketers, our role is to continue to look for ways to keep supporting overall business goals and serve users the best we can during these uncertain times.
But, with information changing on a daily basis, it can be difficult to know if and when to make changes to your SEO strategy. Here’s a simple framework to help guide you through gathering the necessary data and honing the direction of your SEO efforts.
Gather Relevant Data
At Seer, we’ve seen a range of business impacts from COVID-19 - from clients whose traffic and conversions have dropped significantly, to those who are seeing increases in key business metrics.
While up-to-the-minute data has always been tricky for SEO practitioners to obtain, you owe it to your customers to understand their shifting needs to get as clear a picture as possible to inform your decision on whether to pivot your SEO strategy or not.
Here’s a list of data sources that might be helpful to take a look at for insights into how your users’ search behavior is changing:
Are particular landing pages or types of content seeing significant changes in traffic?
Check out Seer’s Google Data Studio template to help you stay on top of major fluctuations in your Google Analytics data in the coming weeks and months.
Google Search Console
GSC is a great resource for seeing the latest queries that your site is getting impressions and clicks from Google search results.
If you have chat logs and customer service transcripts, these can help you understand your customers’ needs during this time. Is your customer service staff being asked questions about cancellations or closures? These might be good questions to provide answers to with a new FAQ page on your site.
Are there popular, industry-related forums that your audience frequents? These can provide an unfiltered view of the questions and issues your users are grappling with right now.
Deciding Whether to Change Your Strategy
In addition to the data you’re analyzing, any change in your SEO strategy should also be informed by any financial impact to your business overall. For instance, if you’re a brick and mortar business, you’ve likely experienced store-closures and are looking for ways to serve your customers from their homes. If your product or service is available online, you may even be seeing an uptick in traffic and revenue as more users spend more time at home.
Ultimately, the question that needs to be answered to guide any change in strategy is: is the content on our site best serving our users at this time?
This does not mean you should start creating a host of COVID-19-related content if your business has been relatively un-impacted by the pandemic and your users aren’t asking questions around the virus.
Any opportunities to change messaging or create new content on your site should be guided by supporting users and providing answers to their questions with timely and accurate information.
Supporting Other Marketing Channels
Another thing to keep in mind, is taking stock of how other channels that make up your organization’s channel mix are fairing - are they seeing more significant impacts than you on the SEO side?
If you’re solely responsible for organic search KPIs within your organization, now is not the time to be resting on your laurels if metrics are looking fine and rosy to you. Proactively check in with your counterparts working on other marketing channels to see where SEO could potentially help lift some of the burden.
If other channels like PPC are having to deal with budget cuts as a result of the economic downturn, are there quick optimizations or shifts that can be made on the SEO side to alleviate the loss of traffic?
Continue Monitoring & Re-Evaluating Your Strategy
With the situation around COVID-19 constantly changing, it’s important to remain vigilant and constantly be in a state of re-evaluation for your SEO strategy. Simply because changing your strategy is not the right decision for your business this week, does not mean it won’t be the right decision next week.
It might be a good idea to formulate a task force within your organization to meet regularly and continually re-evaluate whether a change in strategy is required.
Be agile and ready to pivot where and when needed. Ultimately, looking to your users and their needs as your North Star and making sure you’re continuing to serve them as best you can will ensure your SEO strategy is appropriate and effective as possible in these uncertain times.