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SEO in the Time of COVID-19: Good News and Bad News

Early in 2020, a new strand of coronavirus took the world by the storm, disrupting lives, causing deaths, crashing stock exchanges and toppling economies in every country possible. The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, as a global pandemic.

Governments have called for drastic measures to contain the virus. In addition to country-wide lockdowns and community quarantines, we have been reminded over and over again to wash our hands, practice social distancing, and, as much as possible, stay at home. These measures are necessary but bad for businesses and working individuals everywhere. The deadly virus is affecting industries, including SEO companies in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

However, always the eternal optimists, many SEO specialists see a silver lining. As their field is rife with adversities (*cough algorithms*), they are hopeful things will still work out well for their clients as much as for themselves.


The Bad News

Before we get to the good part, first the bad news.

To what extent has the coronavirus affected websites? Did stats drop drastically or were there websites that gained more traffic?

For sure websites tied to businesses with actual stores are the first to suffer in terms of traffic and actual sales. As customers lay low and go through self-quarantine to avoid the virus, they are less likely to visit your web pages to buy a product or pay for a service.

The most badly hit industries include airlines, import-export, investment, retail, and small-medium enterprises.

If you are an SEO specialist and you happen to be handling web design or digital marketing campaigns for businesses in the aforementioned fields, then you are likely to face a challenge. Your clients may need to cut costs and save their companies from further losses. They might strip the inessentials to retain their operations.

You would probably see where they are coming from if they cut off SEO services to survive. On the bright side, it does not always have to be that way. Luck could be on your side and the clients you work with at present may actually find SEO a good solution to their virus-driven business woes.


The Good News

Cliche as it may sound, but humanity has already proven its resilience for centuries now. We have survived the Bubonic Plague, swine flu, Ebola and Spanish influenza (still the worst pandemic in modern history). This is not to downplay the seriousness of this current pandemic, but businesses should consider out-of-the-box solutions and be more flexible in solidarity with the rest of the world.

Here are some of the good things SEO can do for your business during this viral pandemonium era:

(1) Double Your Optimisation Efforts

Pre-corona virus, your business was already gaining traction. You were so busy dealing with customers and meeting their expectations that you somehow neglected your website, which looks totally out-of-trend. Your competitors, on one hand, are busy maximising their quarantine time with new website features. Moreover, they just built a mobile business app to ramp up its customer service and attract more customers.

But what about you?

Unless the outbreak reaches uncontrollable proportions, your business can quickly pick up its pace once the quarantine period is over. That is why look at this downtime as an opportunity to iron out loopholes in your website design and digital marketing campaign. It is the perfect time to double your web optimisation efforts. Consider improving your website and creating a good experience for your current and potential customers.

(2) Improve Your Content Quality

Your customers may not have a reason to buy or transact business with you. Not when there is a faceless and very dangerous virus out there, lurking in places no one knows. However, you can give them a reason to visit your website and learn more about your business, the products or services you offer, and other helpful news about your industry.

If your website is purely web content, then it's about time to add a blog.

A blog will not only make your website easier to crawl by major search engines, but it will also keep your customers (existing and potential) updated and informed. With all the quality content you have placed on your website during your quarantine period, it will not be a surprise if you suddenly start ranking and getting seen.  

Click here for more information about COVID-19 and how to avoid it.


Final Thoughts

This virus would not die down anytime soon. The best we can do as business owners, aside from following the guidelines set by our governments and authoritative institutions, is to tap into our creative reservoir and start thinking outside of the box. You can still be productive within the comforts of your home or isolated office.

COVID-19 is just the tip of the iceberg. There could be similar situations in the future and your business should be resilient or flexible enough to handle the worst.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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