Why SEO Is Important Now That Lockdown Is Lifting?

by | Mar 15, 2021

In this short guide, we will revisit the importance of SEO of your website and why it has become even more vital now COVID-19 lockdown is easing.

The number of people using the internet has increased massively over the last twelve months. Mainly from people working from home and using it more for business and leisure whilst lockdown measures are in place. 

In fact, one recent report from Nielsen Online, states the increase for the UK has been estimated to grow by 593%, from 2020-2021. 

The reason for this is COVID-19. People are using apps like Zoom and Skype and other conferencing software more, working from home and in the cloud. Also being on lockdown with many retail outlets being closed it’s forcing people to shop online to get their items delivered. 

On the flip side of this is many industries have seen their search traffic fall off a cliff edge which is causing major pain. 

But does this mean that SEO is no longer something that you should pay attention too? 

This is an easy one, NO, SEO is important, more important than ever actually.

This post will look at SEO and the role it plays in a COVID-19 world for small businesses, even those that are classed as non-essential. 

  • How has COVID 19 impacted search traffic?
  • Why SEO is essential especially during these turbulent times?
  • How SEO for small business during a pandemic is vital?

How has COVID-19 impacted search engine traffic?

It makes sense that if more people are going online, then by rights, it makes complete sense that getting your website SEO to be as good as it can be is essential. 

That’s a true statement, however, delving a little deeper to try and understand in more detail is also needed. 

As mentioned previously, internet use across the boards has gone through the roof during this pandemic. It’s worth remembering that not ALL internet use are searches on search engines. 

People use the internet for a variety of reasons including gaming, watching online videos, music streaming, video conferencing, social media, banking and shopping.

For example, Statista ran a survey (pre-pandemic) on why people use the internet:

  • 85% use for email
  • 70% use to find general information on search engines such as Google
  • 63% use it for social media
  • 61% access it for news
  • 56% find out the weather 
  • 54% conduct online banking
  • 47% shop and purchase products online

If you take in the above stats as the general use of the internet, add in the increased user volumes and the expected increase this year and you can see online activity is bigger than ever. 

More are using email, more are searching on search engines, more are using social media etc.  

Have you felt a decline in web traffic?

Taking this one step further if your business doesn’t offer any of the above services and like many you’re classed as a non-essential company, such as a retail outlet with no eCommerce presence then you’re likely to have felt a sharp decline in traffic for organic and paid searches.

This means depending on your industry and type of business, you’re probably either doing great or not good at all. 

If you’re an essential business, SEO is important for standing out and getting chosen against competitors. 

If you’re a non-essential business or closed temporarily, you may think that SEO at this moment in time is completely pointless.

Whatever business you’re in, we can’t hammer home enough that SEO is important to all. It’s vital to any SME, ‘essential’ or not during this crisis.

We will soon start coming out of it and returning to some sort of normality, but will your website be ready?

Man working in his home office during COVID-19 pandemic

Why SEO is important during COVID-19

Whilst there is a lot of misinformation out there that isn’t true, many facts remain. 

COVID-19 is a hot topic at the moment but this will decline

Currently, everyone in some form or another is getting fatigued by COVID-19. It feels like every time you go online there is something COVID-19 related. However important the message or news article is, as time rolls on and vaccines are delivered, we will start to return to normal (fingers crossed). 

Although there will be an appetite for COVID-19 content for a long while yet, as things start to open up, we will start to revert back to doing searches again for all types of content such as:

  • Find me 5-star hotels in Cornwall?
  • Great places to visit in the East Midlands?
  • Find a local restaurant with outdoor seating?
  • Local barbers
  • Where can I hold a children’s birthday party?

The list is endless, but one thing can be derived from this and that is people soon will start to try and search for all types of content and businesses again. 

But if you’ve shelved your SEO efforts, now is a great time to start thinking ahead and get back on track with it.

Try and get your site to a place where when demand and searches start returning you’re already top of the pile so to speak.

SEO is not just about traffic, but good quality traffic

The main purpose of any SEO work is not just to increase the number of visitors to your website, but to increase relevant potential customer traffic. 

For instance, if your business sells ladies clothing only and if your website is optimised for keyword terms like “buy clothing online” but not optimised for “buy ladies clothing online” you could be attracting many visitors that have no desire or will to buy from you. 

Focus your SEO on your target market and specifics, not just general terms.

No short term fixes, but with effort and consistency SEO gains are long term

Seo is all about trying to get search engines to trust you, unfortunately, the only way to do this is slowly and consistently. 

It’s a common fact that any SEO effort you do today may take anywhere from a minimum of 4 months and upwards to have any impact. There are no quick fixes or short cuts when it comes to SEO!!

One study conducted by Ahrefs shows how long on average most website pages that rank in position one on Google have been online.

Position one for instance on Google, the average page age is nearly 950 days, that’s nearly 3 years! 

Graph showing how long the average site takes to rank on Google - Ahrefs

But you’re probably asking yourself, what has this to do with SEO and COVID-19? 

The simple answer is time, if for the last twelve months you’ve put SEO to one side, you’ve missed out on many opportunities to help your site.

Think of it as a wedding, you know that on the date people will show up, but the year preceding it you have made no plans, appointments or bookings. When everyone turns up on the big day, nothing is ready. 

It’s the same with SEO, you can’t expect that as soon as the demand picks up with web searches, that you can scramble to get the site ranking well in no time at all. SEO doesn’t work like that.

All’s not lost however, make a conscious effort today to tackle SEO and on a regular basis, it will pay dividends in the long run and hopefully will be in time for when life gets back to normality.

Are you serious, is SEO really that important for businesses during COVID-19?

By now you probably understand that you need to focus on SEO, especially at the present time. Let’s look at seven reasons why its of particular importance to small businesses. 

  1. Your organic search position is most often the number one source traffic to your website
  2. Done right, SEO will improve your brand awareness
  3. It will help you beat your local competition
  4. Increase more targetted traffic
  5. It’s cost-effective to improve SEO 
  6. Long term gains, which you can constantly build on
  7. Reach out to new customers

Summary

SEO is important to any business, pandemic or not, however, it’s not something that will magically help your business overnight. It is something that needs consistency and effort but will start paying dividends in the long run. 

Even if you’re closed at the present time due to COVID-19, start working on SEO so you can bounce back as fast as possible!

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