The question on the mind of just about every SEO right now is “How does
The Coronavirus affect SEO metrics?”There’s no surprise. As always, the
answer is “it depends.” Since the quest is a representation of human behavior, Coronavirus COVID-19 affects each industry differently. For instance, just as people form lines outside grocery stores, e-commerce sites that sell the same products are likely to experience a massive traffic surge.
“How is the Coronavirus impacting SEO metrics?”
This also shifts as news unfolds. For example, when items like social distancing and shelter-in-place were revealed, perceptions and traffic for’ non-perishable food’ spiked. As SEOs, we’ll have to react appropriately.
I was able to look at the data over multiple verticals for a few sites.I’m also drawing from knowledge posted by other SEOs I’ve seen. Based on what I have seen so far, there are seven aspects in which
COVID-19 tends to influence SEO metrics, and how we can consider responding.
1. Ecommerce Sites That Sell Essentials Are Growing Up
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen e-commerce sites (at least those selling important things) with massive increases in impressions and traffic. That’s coming from people searching for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, thermometers… obviously the pandemic-related product searches…The tremendous rise in demand, as well as product shortages, also generated new inquiries such as “toilet paper near me” and “hand sanitizer near me.” On the flip side, I saw non-essentials such as traffic declines in maquillages, as well as travel-related items such as luggage.
But one-day items that are non-important can become necessary the next. We’ve seen experiences and traffic spikes for items like “ring suited” and other indoor workout choices around the same time gyms began closing. Or how about when employers began to demand homework? Yeah –the spikes for items like “business chair” and “office desk” started popping up in the question data about the same time.
How to respond
Demand is strong right now, but the demand has largely moved to goods the people need to prevent and/or tackle the pandemic. Ecommerce SEOs may consider building, based on your impressions/traffic data, a section of high-demand product pages to be closely watched. Crawl these pages regularly for mistakes.Tracklog files to ensure that they do not service bots errors on the search engine. Make them easy to find in browsing the web.
2. Health & Wellness Sites Also Jump Up
Vertical fitness and wellness is no stranger to uncertainty. Recently, Google has been cracking down on content that offers advice and information on topics such as medical problems (a subject called “Your Money or Your Life” according to their quality rater guidelines), holding it to a very high level. As a result of COVID-19, there is an unprecedented surge in views and traffic in the health and wellness pages I’ve been looking at.
It looks like it is caused mainly by questions such as “symptoms of coronavirus.”Monitor the query data for those pages to ensure that the most up-to-date searcher intents match your content.On the other side, it appears like people think far less for issues like intermittent fasting. There also appears to be an upturn in queries for natural remedies such as “antiviral herbs,” “antibacterial essential oils,” and “antiviral foods.” Now more important than ever is
how to respond
Striving for expertise, authority, and trust with this type of content. People turn to search engines to respond to their medical concerns, a duty that can not be taken lightly.
3. Recipe Websites Tend to be experiencing a small uptick
While not as dramatic as critical retailers or health sites, the websites I have been able to look at so far have seen a rise in views and clicks. This is mostly due to the fact that more people cook at home than eat out. The longer restaurants are closed or running at reduced capacity this may continue to that.
How to respond
Using structured data from a recipe to improve the way your recipes appear in search results to catch some of the increased demand for recipes. Consider publishing or supporting recipes that use fewer ingredients and ingredients that are easier to obtain right now.
4. Travel Website Traffic Is All Over the Place
On the road, you would think travel websites are taking massive traffic hits because of travel restrictions and social distancing.I’ve seen reports, however, and traffic is booming. My first thought was that this would be due to people trying to cancel, reschedule or obtain refunds for their reservations. It seems a bit more complex than that, it turns out.I’ve personally seen impressions and traffic spikes for requests such as “cheap flights”–probably because, despite all the cancellations, people expect airlines can offer seats at super discounted prices. Hotel queries seem to be going down, particularly in places like
It seems, predictably, that cruise-related queries are trending down, too. The travel industry is diverse and involves airlines, hotels, cruises and more. Depending on the sector the specific effect can vary. The travel industry certainly feels the impact overall though.
How to Respond
Travel companies are likely to move, not acquisition, to customer service and reputation management.
5. Publisher Websites Are in Extremely High Demand
This won’t shock anyone, but publisher websites are seeing massive influxes of impressions and traffic. People are looking for updates in every aspect, from “coronavirus map” to how coronavirus affects the stock market. One thing is for sure, as of late (for better or worse) we have all been glued to the tv.
6. Restaurants Are Having to Pivot
Although I haven’t been able to access any data directly from restaurant pages, the results are clear. Restaurants run at a small range on many sites. In several other restaurants and bars (including my home county of Los Angeles) are totally closed. That means local restaurants that have relied on trending down pre-COVID queries.
How to respond
If you do local SEO for a restaurant that has been forced to close due to COVID-19, use Google My Business (GMB) vacation hours to show that you are closed instead of completely eliminating your store hours (Masaki Okazawa’s tip courtesy
7. Instability is present on websites around the board
Times are unpredictable, but one thing is clear–the latest instability affects just about every website I’ve been looking at. In these unpredictable times, empathy and data for your own website are important. Benchmarks may be useful, but make sure that you look at data from your own application. This will give you an insight into the needs of your audience. Will you fulfill those requirements, or do you not? In a time when brands have to reduce their marketing budgets, there is one source of acquisition that is not turning off through budget cuts… organic search. Although things are in a state of great flux right now, SEO may be more important than ever.