7 Ways COVID-19 Is Affecting Search Traffic & How SEOs Can Respond


The query on nearly each search engine marketing’s thoughts proper now could be “How is the Coronavirus impacting search engine marketing metrics?”

No shock right here. The reply, as all the time, is “it relies upon.”

As a result of search displays human conduct, COVID-19 is affecting every business in another way.

For instance, simply as individuals are forming strains outdoors grocery shops, ecommerce websites that promote those self same necessities are seemingly experiencing an enormous surge in site visitors.

That is additionally altering as information unfolds. For instance, impressions and site visitors for “non-perishable meals” spiked when issues like social distancing and shelter-in-place had been introduced.

As SEOs, we’ll want to reply accordingly.

I’ve been ready to have a look at the information for a couple of websites throughout a number of verticals.

I’m additionally drawing from the knowledge I’ve seen shared from different SEOs.

Based mostly on what I’ve seen to this point, listed here are seven methods COVID-19 appears to be affecting search engine marketing metrics, and the way we should always think about responding.

1. Ecommerce Websites That Promote Necessities Are Surging Up

I’m positive I’m not the one one which’s seen ecommerce websites (a minimum of those that promote necessities) with large spikes in impressions and site visitors.

That’s coming from folks on the lookout for rest room paper, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, thermometers… clearly product searches which might be associated to the pandemic.

This large surge in demand, in addition to product shortages, have even created new queries like “rest room paper close to me” and “hand sanitizer close to me.”

On the flip aspect, I’ve seen non-essentials like make-up experiencing drops in site visitors, in addition to merchandise tied to journey, like baggage.

However issues which might be non-essentials at some point can turn into necessities the subsequent.

Across the similar time gyms began closing, we noticed impressions and site visitors spike for issues like “ring match” and different indoor health choices.

Or how about when employers began mandating work-from-home?

Yep – that’s across the similar time surges for issues like “workplace chair” and “workplace desk” began popping up within the question information.

The way to Reply

Demand is excessive proper now, however that demand has shifted largely to merchandise that folks have to keep away from and/or cope with the pandemic.

Ecommerce SEOs would possibly think about making a section of high-demand product pages, primarily based in your impressions/site visitors information, to look at intently. Crawl these pages for errors usually.

Monitor log recordsdata to make sure they’re not serving search engine bots errors. Make them simple to seek out within the web site navigation.

Watch the question information for these pages to make sure your content material displays probably the most up-to-date searcher intents.

2. Well being & Wellness Websites Are Surging Up

The well being and wellness vertical is not any stranger to volatility.

Lately, Google has been cracking down on content material that gives recommendation and knowledge on issues like medical points (a “Your Cash or Your Life” subject, in keeping with their high quality rater tips), holding it to a really excessive customary.

Because of COVID-19, the well being and wellness websites I’ve appeared into are experiencing an general surge in impressions and site visitors.

It appears to be like like that’s primarily being brought on by queries like “coronavirus signs.”

On the flip aspect, folks appear to be caring so much much less about issues like intermittent fasting.

There additionally appears to be an uptick in queries for pure cures like “antiviral herbs,” “antibacterial important oils,” and “antiviral meals.”

The way to Reply

Striving for experience, authoritativeness, and belief with this kind of content material is extra essential now than ever.

Individuals are turning to search engines like google to reply their medical questions, a duty that may’t be taken frivolously.

3. Recipe Web sites Seem to Be Experiencing a Slight Uptick

The recipe web sites I’ve been capable of look into to this point have skilled a rise in impressions and clicks, though not fairly as drastic as necessities retailers or well being websites.

That is seemingly as a result of extra individuals are cooking at house versus consuming out.

This may increasingly proceed to extend the longer eating places are closed or working at diminished capability.

The way to Reply

Use recipe structured information to boost the best way your recipes present up in search outcomes to seize a few of that elevated demand for recipes.

Contemplate publishing or selling recipes that make the most of fewer substances and substances which might be simpler to get proper now.

4. Journey Web site Site visitors Is All Over the Place

On the floor, you would possibly assume that journey web sites are taking large site visitors hits on account of journey restrictions and social distancing.

Nonetheless, I’ve seen impressions and site visitors surge up.

My first inclination was that this should be attributable to folks trying to cancel, reschedule, or get refunds for his or her bookings.

Seems, it appears to be a bit extra sophisticated than that.

I’ve truly seen impressions and site visitors surges for queries like “low-cost flights” – doubtlessly as a result of with all of the cancelations, individuals are assuming airways can be promoting seats at tremendous discounted costs.

Resort queries appear to be trending down, particularly in areas which might be closed off like Disneyland or San Francisco.

Unsurprisingly, it looks like cruise-related queries are additionally trending down.

The journey business is various, encompassing flights, inns, cruises, and extra.

The particular impression goes to range relying on the sector.

General although, the journey business is certainly feeling the impression.

The way to Reply

As Kevin Gibbons stated, journey corporations are seemingly largely shifting to buyer assist and popularity administration, not acquisition.

Journey SEOs can assist this effort by intently monitoring their question information to see the place their viewers’s demand is shifting, and utilizing that to tell assist and PR efforts.

5. Writer Web sites Are in Extremely Excessive Demand

It will shock nobody, however writer web sites are experiencing large surges in impressions and site visitors.

Individuals are on the lookout for updates in all types, from “coronavirus map” to how coronavirus is impacting the inventory market.

One factor’s for positive, we’ve all been glued to the information as of late (for higher or for worse).

The way to Reply

As journalists proceed to report on coronavirus information and updates, writer SEOs can provide assist in a couple of methods.

They will:

  • Watch their log recordsdata to make sure AMP pages aren’t serving errors.
  • Monitor pages by publish date to ensure search engine bots are crawling new pages as quickly as doable.
  • Use search information to tell the place the general public curiosity is at any given time.
  • Coordinate evergreen content material to compensate for seasonal and news-based volatility.

6. Eating places Are Having to Pivot

Whereas I haven’t been ready to have a look at any information from restaurant websites immediately, the consequences are obvious.

In lots of areas, eating places are working at restricted capability.

In lots of others, (together with my house county of Los Angeles) eating places and bars are closed utterly.

Meaning queries native eating places might have relied on pre-COVID are trending down.

restaurants near me query trending down

Nonetheless, curiosity in options like “curbside pickup” (an choice many eating places are beginning to provide), goes means up.

curbside pickup trending up

Third-party supply companies like UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub are additionally trending up.

Fortunately, these corporations are briefly waiving charges they cost some eating places in an effort to assist them keep afloat throughout this time.

The way to Reply

Should you do native search engine marketing for a restaurant that’s needed to shut on account of COVID-19, use vacation hours on Google My Enterprise (GMB) to point that you just’re closed as an alternative of eradicating your retailer hours utterly (tip courtesy of Masaki Okazawa).

You can even add a GMB Query & Reply round your restaurant’s standing throughout COVID-19 and get as many individuals as doable to upvote it so it seems as the primary query in your data panel (tip courtesy of Darren Shaw).

Dana DiTomaso can be recommending that native companies use Google Posts to level to any updates.

7. Volatility Is Current in Web sites Throughout the Board

Occasions are unsure, however one factor’s for positive – the present volatility is impacting nearly each web site I’ve appeared into.

In these occasions of volatility, empathy and your personal web site’s information are king.

Benchmarks will be useful, however be sure to’re your personal question information.

This provides you with a window into your viewers’s wants.

Are you assembly these wants, or not?

At a time when manufacturers are having to scale back their marketing campaign spend, there’s one acquisition channel that doesn’t flip off throughout finances cuts… natural search.

Though issues are at present in a state of main flux, search engine marketing could also be extra essential now than ever.

Extra Sources:

Picture Credit

Screenshots taken by writer, March 2020

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