March has been a very challenging month around the world with COVID-19 being formally declared as a global pandemic. In the event of such an unprecedented situation, marketers are trying their best to keep the businesses running and to keep customers coming to the websites.
Despite all the efforts we had put to plan our marketing strategies, chalk out possible scenarios, and prepare for 2020, we are all searching for a substantial direction to move ahead right now.
Businesses, across the globe, are making changes to their marketing strategies and hoping for the worst to get over fast. And the fact remains that businesses can thrive in these downtimes as well! In times to come, there will be new business leaders in this new global “normal”.
With a lot more people searching online and fewer choices for other marketing techniques to succeed, SEO (search engine optimization) is proving to be a gamechanger for brands that remain in existence during this time and those which aren’t.
In the following, I have highlighted the key reasons on why brands across the world should continue investing in SEO during COVID-19.
The shift in Purchase Behaviour will Make People be Online More than Ever –
- COVID-19 is forcing consumers to shift their shopping and reading habits online. With more people accessing the internet and being glued to their phones, we can easily say that at present we are witnessing the most amount of people online in the history of the world. While we cannot guarantee if these changes will be temporary or permanent, we do know the immediate and lasting impact will be that a lot more customers will move online for a larger proportion of purchases and getting their daily news updates. This will make SEO more necessary than ever as a high ROI digital medium to amass potential customers.
Less is More –
- Organic traffic is incredibly volatile right now – several essential businesses are seeing a steep increase and non-essentials, a steep decline. Yet, in either case, having a well-rounded SEO strategy helps. If your industry is seeing an upward trend, being ranked higher on search engines means higher traffic to your website rather than your competitor’s. If your industry is seeing a decline, ranking higher means a few clicks that are happening are likely to go to you. This is a crucial factor in the value behind SEO. No matter what the search trends are like for your company’s keywords, by ranking higher, you’re ensuring that maximum traffic goes to your site.
Think Long Term :
- For many businesses, how Q3& Q42020-21 would pan out is uncertain. By continuing to invest in SEO efforts throughout Q1 & Q2, you are choosing to remain visible and relevant in the search engine results as well within the mind of a consumer. Hence, your brand is being considered, although consumers aren’t currently shopping. This will pay dividends now and would be multiplied many-fold when search demand normalizes. Furthermore, if your competitors take their foot off the pedal, there is even more opportunity to take over search engine results now and to position your brand for long-term success.
Competitors Aren’t Retreating –
- Whatever niche your company belongs to, you’re doubtless to be facing serious competition on the search right from well-established brands to MSMEs to content platforms. Big brands in most cases will not bow down to pandemic and will continue with their marketing investments. MSME’s largely depending on their war chest capacity, would possibly briefly pause or continue with reduced investments. Hence, important to realize that barely your competitors are backing out. By opting out right now, you are giving the competition an advantage. When things go back to normal, you would need to master reset your SEO efforts. It’s necessary not to become the company that panicked. Instead, be the company that takes full advantage by analyzing your current standing in the market and accordingly act upon by either staying the same or investing more to stay ahead of the competition.
Brands Still Need to Make Money
- ‘Survival of Fittest’ in its true sense is the key to fighting against Coronavirus. While people across the world are practicing it by embracing personal hygiene procedures and maintaining social distancing, brands are finding alternate ways of innovating themselves to stay afloat. However, not all businesses have the freedom of doing so. Brands that cannot innovate due to the nature of their business, also need to make money. Their existing & potential customers haven’t ceased to exist. Of course, the economic downswing might have hindered their purchasing capacity. Stopping your marketing efforts means leaving behind your business entirely. You may have a difficult time recovering it once COVID-19’s grip weakens. SEO drives traffic, traffic converts into Sale & sales turn into Revenue. ROI might not be as spectacular as it has been during the pre-pandemic era; however, will still be the highest and effectively serve both top and bottom-funnel objectives.
To conclude, eventually, this pandemic situation will normalize. It will be a new normal in many ways. Given the uncertainty, SEO needs to be an integral part of a media strategy to protect, pivot, and prepare for post-pandemic long term success. So, get started today!
Authored by Asad Khan, AVP – SEO, iProspect India