The COVID-19 crisis has caused multiple lockdowns all over the world. And as a function of lockdown, quarantine procedures are forcing businesses to limit foot traffic in their physical stores.
This shift in operations has led many businesses to prioritize their online presence. The eCommerce industry has seen an increase in performance these past few months. This is hardly surprising given the current situation.
With this in mind, businesses have turned their attention to their websites and online business platforms. Last May, Google released an update for their core algorithm. This update, dubbed the “Google May Core” update, has also had an impact on websites.
The update’s rollout has caused multiple sites’ ranking to fluctuate. Changes can be seen in how sites have dropped, or risen, in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because the update has given more importance to the relevance of a site. Where before they would have prioritized the trustworthiness of the site, the algorithm has added an increased weight in a site’s authority and expertise. During this year, we have seen a huge change in how we do things and so we’ve compiled a list of a few lessons we’ve learned throughout the process:
The decrease, or absence, of physical traffic has caused multiple businesses to limit store hours and some of them have even needed to shut down their brick and mortar stores. However, this is not the endgame for them. With many people spending more time at home browsing online, there is far more traffic now on the internet. In this regard, digital marketing has proven its worth. To make sure your digital marketing is targeting your ideal audience of both customers and prospects, you must make sure you have a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
With more people online, make sure your page is up to standards. Your page will have to cater to your audience’s needs more than your own.
Double-check your existing pages. Odds are you’ll need to update at least a few.
Some things to watch out for are:
• Broken links
• Thin pages
• Factual errors
These problems usually have a big effect on your site’s rank. It would help if you make use of analytics tools like Google’s free tool. With these tools, you can gain a better understanding of how your site visitors behave on your site.
It would help if you familiarize yourself with terms such as click-through-rate (CTR) and bounce rate. These metrics help by putting a number on your findings, helping you plan effectively.
This is just like how a store would make sure customers are comfortable during their visit. You’ll have to ensure that site visitors stay on your page instead of just hitting “back” once they get there. This user behavior indicates to Google whether users’ consider your site worth a visit or not.
Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Have a sitemap handy for people who feel like looking around. These are just a few basic things you can do.
Aside from that, you can take a look at the content on your pages. Are they too text heavy? If you find yourself staring at a wall of text, you’ll have to make some changes.
Try your hand at incorporating rich media. These can come in the form of:
Having these on your page make the experience much more pleasing for the site visitors. Keep in mind though that using rich media will increase page loading times. To counter this, make sure you’ve optimized the media you have on your site. This means that the media you have should be using the right compression. High quality, yes, but also not too large a file that it extends loading times. You might want to consider outsourcing this phase. Think of it as an investment. You must choose a web design firm with which you can collaborate and share in business goals. With firms like these, you can finish your site much more efficiently and in less time.
Professional web design firms have a set process to ensure that they cover all the bases. This way, you can channel more time and effort to the other things that require your attention.
With online traffic up, you’ll want to make sure people see your page. Fortunately, there has been a visible decrease in ad rates during the pandemic.
You can trace this to the fact that a lot of businesses pulled their ads as early as March. With that, smaller businesses have found an opening for their sites.
Here’s a summary of what you might expect to pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis:
• Facebook – $.50 – $2.00
• Instagram – $.50 – $1.00
• Google – $1.00 – $2.00
For those who have used Google Ad service in the past, you’re in luck. Google has released ad credit for small and medium businesses. This is Google’s way of showing support for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Point is, ads will still yield good results. You can test this out yourself. Do a quick search right now with the phrase, “Buy [product] now”. The top results will most likely be paid ads.
You also need to consider the expertise-authority-trust (E-A-T) algorithm update by Google. Google’s algorithm prioritizes E-A-T. See where we’re going with this? Google releases these updates to make the search experience better for its users. What this implies is that you’ll be ranked based on how helpful and credible Google sees your site. What does this mean for you? Well, you’re going to have to make sure you’re keeping a standard throughout your site.
You’ve probably encountered this term before. Link building is one way to increase your site’s authority. The way it works is you’ll be building credibility through backlinks. These are links that lead back to your site.
Having more backlinks shows Google that your site is constantly referred to. Think of it as a vote of confidence.
As much as 79.05 percent feel that link building is an effective method
The majority of respondents, in a 2020 survey from Linkdoctor.io, said that they found link building to be effective with their SEO. This only goes to show how often people have relied on, and benefited, from this practice.
Your content creation will factor in here too. It won’t be a good strategy to publish 10 articles in one day then skip out the rest of the week. You’re going to have to be consistent with the publishing of your content.
It would be a better idea for your site if you can maintain a healthy number of posts per week. Keep this up and you’ll end up having enough to promote.
Don’t forget, your posts are going to have to be relevant. Creating relevant posts (with the right keywords) helps your site stay visible with all kinds of search queries. Before you get started, try using Google Trends for your keywords. With this free tool, you can figure out whether that keyword has a healthy search volume. This is a huge factor when planning for your SEO.
This works well if you can create high-quality, educational content. Avoid creating those highly promotional posts. Those will only negatively affect your ranking.
Remember, the more content you have, the more you can share throughout the internet.
It’s not hard to see why digital marketing and SEO, have found a bigger following during the pandemic. People have learned to adapt to the new situation. With most businesses, marketing is often one of the most expensive investments. Fortunately, SEO is a relatively inexpensive venture. All it comes down to is paying attention to the details. The bottom line with all of this is in staying up-to-date. This goes for both developer updates (e.g. Google’s core update) and news updates (e.g. pandemic related news). That way, you’ll be better prepared for the inevitable shifts in the trends.