The novel coronavirus pandemic and staying at home duration have definitely changed how we do the online search on the search engine. As a result, this crisis has done many changes in consumer’s online search behavior. Google has also changed its inclination for the types of content displayed in the SERP and has altered the organic search visibility.
Here, we will mainly discuss the effect of COVID-19 on online search visibility, and how SEO experts and digital marketers can adapt to these changes.
A major change in Google’s SERP- Novel Coronavirus Queries
The aim of Google Search is to show the most trustable and appropriate information for the specific audience.
Google has also developed a page especially (https://www.google.com/covid19/) to directly provide information on the respective topic.
Obviously search similar to novel coronavirus are considered YMYL (Your Money Your Life), and so only websites which implemented E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) can rank on these keywords. In case, if you are thinking about opportunities in these search queries, keep in mind that you might not be able to be on the top of these keywords unless you are an authoritative website in the health or medical field(or any other field that is directly related to it).
Following are the major changes in Google search result pages at the moment:
- High ranking health websites like WebMD and Health line have dropped in Google SERP for novel coronavirus queries. These websites mainly rank on top of all health queries.
- WHO, local government website, reputable media news websites and CDC have jumped into the top organic search result positions.
Expected Changes in Online Search Behavior
These are some of the expected changes in user search behavior that may alter organic search visibility:
- Because of many individuals staying at home, a lot of people get to browse with the intent to make an online purchase. This can impact some of the keywords in a good way and some of the queries negatively.
- As people are stuck inside homes, they use desktop therefore mobile searches are expected to go down. The Searches related to local businesses for example near me searches are also expected to decrease as well.
- Due to the pandemic, the product’s price, mainly for necessary products, might not be an important buying factor in comparison to the company’s ability to deliver.
- Purchases of non-essential goods (i.e. cars) are on halt for a time being.
Organic Search results Changes for various Businesses
Many businesses have experienced significant traffic decrease, and there has been a rise in desktop traffic which hasn’t happened for many years.
As such, here are the changes that have happened and are expected to happen for many sectors:
- Searches for sectors that require physical presence for example restaurants, nightclubs, etc. have also decreased significantly.
- Many businesses have taken smart moves by shifting to an online medium.
- The need for customer service has gone up immensely.
- Because of work from home, there is a high search for keywords related to remote working products like office supplies, decorations, etc.
- Searches for delivery businesses are on the rise
Below are some industries that have a good amount of searches during COVID-19 pandemic:
- Video conferencing and online meeting apps
- Health and medical niche
- Food delivery services
- Online learning
- Home gardening
- Fitness and wellness
- Home office and stationery supplies
And here are some of the online businesses searches that are badly affected by the pandemic
- Live events
- Hotels, resorts, cruise lines
- Real estate
Changes in SEO and Digital Marketing during Pandemic
These are some anticipated changes caused by the novel coronavirus crisis in SEO and digital marketing arena:
- As some businesses facing a decrease in cash flow, there is the expectation of many businesses lowering their marketing budget significantly
- The intent for many online search queries has remained unchanged. For example, many individuals are looking for queries related to the aviation industry that is not for booking a ticket but to know about their refunds. Searches for some live events are increasing and the use of keywords might be the same, but the intention of people has changed as people may want to know whether the respective event was postponed or canceled.
- The search trends have changed in recent weeks and the rise of the new keywords is mainly related to the latest developments of the coronavirus crisis.
Organic search visibility in many different niches has changed dramatically since the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must continue our SEO and digital marketing efforts with the expectation that eventually; things will go back to normal.
In fact, most startups should use various aspects of digital marketing from analyzing target keywords to implementing a specific approach in content marketing which should be relevant to COVID-19 world. SEO will be more important.
So, it is highly recommended to start planning and executing your SEO and other digital marketing campaigns today.