The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on individuals and businesses the world over. As SEO consultants manchester we have seen its impact on search at close hand. However, with lockdown restrictions now starting to ease it is time we start thinking about how we respond to the changes we have seen, and come up with a plan to recover from the crisis, and start executing these SEO plans for our clients.
In times of crisis like this, many companies immediately cut their marketing and seo manchester budget as a way of protecting themselves. This is often the worst thing you could do, though. Instead you should be using this budget to come up with a crisis recovery plan that allows you to carry on operating during the crisis, because marketing plays a critical role in this.
The way we responded to the COVID-19 crisis here at SEO MCR was to look at it in three stages:
Stage One: Crisis Stage – focus on connecting with our audience, adjusting our content to reflect the crisis and engaging with our target market
Stage Two: Recovery Stage – the stage we are at, at the moment. We are working in the new normal and adapting our working practices to reflect this.
Stage Three: Growth Stage – how we plan to operate when the crisis is over.
We feel this is the best way to respond to a crisis such as this, as it is a multi-channel approach which focuses on different marketing channels at key points during the journey.
Stage One: Crisis Stage
So, in the first stage of the plan, we recommend focusing on your website, your content, your SEO campaign and your local listings.
Things you should think about include:
- Maintaining your website to ensure it was digitally relevant still
- Updating your banner, policies and FAQs to ensure customers are aware that you are still able to support them through the crisis
- Ensure your local listings are updated with our new opening times
- Develop new content around the crisis and what support you can offer
Stage Two: Recovery Stage
In this stage we recommend that you continue to adapt your website and SEO campaign to reflect the new normal, as well as putting some budget into paid media and email as well.
You should consider:
- Investing in SEO, including making sure your technical SEO health is good, your site is optimised for voice search and your schema is correct
- Optimise your website for mobile, focusing on AMP and superior navigation
- Generating interest in your business through unique offers
- A targeted relaunch of paid media campaigns
- Using email to support your omnichannel efforts
Stage Three: Growth Stage
This is the end stage of the crisis when things are starting to get back on an even keel again, and so it will be time to focus on the website, SEO, and paid media.
This is when you should:
- Refocus on your content marketing efforts
- Consider retargeting and lookalike modelling campaigns
- Scale up your paid media aggressively
As part of the whole plan, it is advantageous for you to focus on five main tactics, and these are:
Tactic One: Offers during the crisis and recovery phases
If we think back to when the COVID-19 crisis began, everyone was scrambling about trying to work out how they could carry on working through the crisis and what they could do to best help their customers.
The best way to work out what offers you should go with is to listen to your customers by checking Google Trends, seeing what they are posting on social media, looking at your customer service logs, and keeping an eye on forums. Some of the areas you may want to look at include: what new services you can offer (the hours you can work, can you do local or national delivery, or what video tips you can offer), what incentives can you offer (free membership, a subscription service or new trial), and whether there are different payment methods you could offer that would make things easier for your customers.
Tactic Two: Ensure your schema is on point
Schema mark-up is critical for a website as it is the main thing that Google uses to understand language, and so it is a great way to add lots more information to your website without over-facing your customers. In fact, Google even introduced a new Schema recently which focused on COVID-19 critical announcements and events. Other schemas you may want to update could include opening hours specification, FAQ page, How to, and Image.
Tactic Three: Update your local listings
Knowledge panels and local listings have high visibility on the search engine results pages – which means you have a huge opportunity here to keep your Google My Business listing updated. It is so important to take control of this listing and pay as much attention to it as your website, as a lot of people are getting their information from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Tactic Four: Don’t neglect your accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) load faster than normal mobile pages, and so usually end up with increased visibility and engagement which leads to better conversions. AMP sites have an image sorted on Google’s servers which results in faster user experience.
Tactic Five: Take advantage of FAQ pages and voice search
Both FAQs and voice search are great ways to increase visibility – especially in times of crisis. You can do some research to find out what common questions your customers have, and then use this information to fuel your FAQ pages and make sure they are optimised for actions of Alexa and Google Assistant. We know it is a tough time for everybody at the moment, but the SEO Agency Manchester team here at SEO MCR is here to help you through. Please get in touch to find out how we can help you to position your business at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages for the keywords that will convert into calls, enquiries and eventually sales.