SEO In The New Normal: The Most Important Trends for SEO Post-COVID
It is impossible to overstate the devastating impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on SEO across various industries. But beyond this unfortunate global incident, what can marketers do to get back on track? That is one of the important questions at the moment. For a website that has recorded significant traffic losses due to the impacts of the spread of the virus, what is next? Should they keep on with the same strategies, or should they implement changes?
There are no easy answers. Retaining the same methods and strategies is likely to yield different results since the pandemic is bringing about many permanent changes in our society and how we do things. Therefore, post-COVID would probably be a slightly different world from before, requiring different approaches. On the other hand, drastic measures can be counterproductive, effectively undoing years of hard work. Balance is key.
This article does not focus on the current impacts of COVID-19 on SEO but rather emphasizes the most important points to note ahead of recovery from the pandemic. However, in talking about the future, it is inevitable to discuss the present and how it defines future trends and opportunities.
Study the keyword trends in your industry and try to identify changes in audience behavior. COVID-19 has had a varied impact on SEO. Most industries have suffered massive losses, such as travel, retail, tech, transportation, real estate, and so on. On the other hand, only a few industries such as food, media, and healthcare have witnessed traffic growth. See the chart below:
Keeping an eye on the keyword trends is important for recovery because there would be a lot more competition. Therefore, it is important to be at the forefront, addressing the needs of your audience.
The change in trends after COVID-19 should influence your content decisions. It is not completely likely that post-COVID trends would be like pre-COVID trends. Therefore, content that did well before the pandemic may not pick up pace after its over, contrary to what some expect.
The solution to this is to plan to publish fresh content. For one, you have to create content that matches the changes that must have taken place. This includes changes in demands, audience behavior, search trends, and so on. Two, COVID apart, even, recency is an important ranking factor. For almost all keywords, the most recent pieces of content are likely to rank higher than ones written years ago.
However, certain posts are regarded as evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that remains useful and relevant for a long time. Such content continues to rank very high and attract huge traffic even years after publication. Investing in lasting content is an important way to stay relevant for years on end. Consider the example in the image below, the first page results for a search of ‘evergreen content seo’. Notice the posts from Search Engine Watch and Woorank, ranking on the first page even after 4 and 2 years respectively.
Trust and Authenticity
E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) would become more important than ever especially for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) industries. YMYL pages or websites are those that “could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, Google has tightened its E-A-T emphasis, particularly to avoid giving publicity to fake news. This is a trend that one can expect to continue after COVID-19. Therefore, plan to build your content around establishing your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Build your brand around trust by sharing authentic and useful content while also ensuring that your backlinks lead to veritable sources.
Even after the world records its very last case of COVID-19, we can’t expect everything to revert to how they have been before the deadly virus hit. Experts suggest that businesses may continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic for at least two years after it is gotten over with. And it is not farfetched to reason that the pandemic has inspired and would leave us with many alterations and innovations.
What should this tell you? That your COVID-19 recovery plan shouldn’t be an interim strategy while you expect things to bounce back to their previous state. Besides, the very nature of SEO means that it is more of a long-term marketing strategy. Coming out of COVID-19, don’t seek quick fixes, especially if aspects of your SEO have been significantly affected. Instead, pursue an enduring value and tailor your recovery strategy for the long-term.
The best time to start planning your recovery is now. If your business has been affected, it would not be helpful to wait until things pick up by themselves before you start planning for recovery. No one can wait to see the end of this pandemic. And you can be sure of a renewed competition once cases start to ease significantly nationwide. Given that SEO has become increasingly competitive over the years, it is certain that only those fully prepared would get the best share of the cake.