13 Tweaked SEO Strategies for SMBs During Covid-19
13 Tweaked SEO Strategies for SMBs During Covid-19

The world, especially India, is in the midst of a second and fast-spreading second wave of Covid-19. After the initial run of the pandemic, many small businesses planned a comeback, but the plans went for a toss due to the second wave. As physical operations slowed or halted, some small businesses thought it wise to clip marketing operations – either because they thought that there was no point, or, because of financial constraints. But the truth is that small businesses stand to gain by scaling up digital marketing strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by becoming aggressive in the local eco-space.

SEO can be crucial to your small business success both during and after the Covid pandemic due to the shift in business strategies and needs. Here is why small business should bring SEO back to reckoning and to the centre table:

Why should businesses go for SEO during Covid-19?

During the pandemic, as customers and consumers re-oriented their strategies, traffic to websites from search results—both paid and organic — went for a dip. This raised a doubt on the need to keep SEO on full steam. But that is not true.

1.           One needs to realise that SEO is a consistent practice. All it needs is tweaking according to changing times.

2.           As inter-city and inter-state travel restrictions were imposed, consumers started seeking out local businesses.

3.           Covid provided an ideal time and space to publish new and evergreen content – the magic wands of SEO.

4.           The visitors you attract during the pandemic can provide business opportunities in a shorter time span. This is because consumers and customers need material to keep their businesses running during the pandemic. They cannot wait for supplies when there are travel restrictions.

5.           What needs to be re-emphasised is that SEO gains are long-term.

6.           Search is only going to be more ingrained in our lives during the second wave of the pandemic and after that.

So, lets now specifically look at 13 General SEO Strategies for SMBs during Covid-19:

1. Consistency

Pandemic or no pandemic, SEO is a permanent feature of any website and needs regular upgrading. So, do not write off SEO during Covid-19 because in the long run you will only stand to gain.

2. Keep content crisp and short

Despite the time provided by the pandemic in one’s life, there is stress. People now prefer to see content that is relevant, short and up to the point. So do not go for a long format and feed your posts with a laundry list of pages. Go in for bullet points. People love when you say: 6 magical cooking ideas; or 3 steps to better health.

Such formats will give you time to spare. Use that extra time to stockpile long-form content like blog posts that you can publish over the coming months.

3. Go local

The pandemic has taught us the importance of localising, thanks to various curbs imposed to check the spread of the coronavirus. Stores and people staying closer to home, local businesses, services etc are being sought out. Local SEO tactics are important for any business but the pandemic has proved how useful it is right now for those who are operating. For example, a customer in Bengaluru may look out for a florist near his or her flat, or a joint that can deliver food fast and without hassle rather than trying some exotic outlet that is far. So, tweak your content accordingly.

4. Balancing short- and long-term goals

We are not sure when the coronavirus pandemic would end. Hence, the general tendency of companies is to concentrate only on short-term SEO strategy. That is not a wise move. It is better to divide your SEO strategy – 60% to short term and the remaining to long-term tactics.  

•            So, how do you distinguish between the two? Short-term SEO efforts may include publishing content that is relevant to the times that we live in; in this context, the coronavirus pandemic. Not directly on the pandemic, but on the coronavirus and your industry. You may have to constantly keep updating. For example, at the time of writing, many states in India have imposed night curfew and complete lockdown on Sundays. Your website should keep updating your customers on when, how and where your products are available and the protocols to be followed.

•            Long-term SEO efforts can be stock-piled for some time and released occasionally or post pandemic. It is obvious that post pandemic customers would have doubts and concerns. You need to answer the queries without raising fear. The best format is Q&A.

We live in strange times, hence you need to think through your SEO strategies. Be on the lookout for new and unexpected developments in your sphere of activity. You need to think out of the box and get out of the comfort zone which you may have enjoyed pre-pandemic.

5. Always keep targeting coronavirus-related keywords

So now that you have decided on focusing on short-term SEO strategy, update yourself on the pandemic and the paths that it is taking. Also, look out for what the authorities are planning – curfew, imposing Section 144 or a lockdown. With this you need to build your SEO strategy and target trending words or terms to boost your traffic. Even if you are local, a broad search may result in your company’s name popping up with global giants. This will help you in brand building and also result in ranking success.

For example, if you are running a drug store, you need to focus on various aspects of the pandemic. With a lot of people working from homes during the pandemic, they may want to know how to prevent back pain or obesity. So, build your SEO strategy by having short blogs on such themes. Do not be generic or go into the research that experts may be discussing. Your blog post must be relevant with the products that you sell. Having a bank of such blog posts would help in building domain authority for the business and connecting it with prospects and future customers. If you find it difficult to write, you could engage part-time writers.

6. The new language of the pandemic

Covid-19 has given birth to new terms – like “virtual,” “in-home,” “DIY,” online and “indoors.” If you are into selling fruits and vegetables, people may want to know what is available and what to prepare. If you are into hardware, people may want to know how to fix a leaking pipe or a clogged drain. They may not get help due to the restrictions and hence they may seek help online. You need to catch such prospective customers by offering solutions. They may or may not buy your products, but your lucid blogs would help in building your brand and future customers.

7. Tweak and optimize old content

This is an easy to do SEO strategy. You may have some old content that can be made relevant by tweaking and making it relevant to the times that we live in. So, you need not produce new content, but you can indeed create what may look new by reworking on your old content and make it pandemic-oriented. You can spruce up your old content and republish the same so that it shows up in the search. Recycling is good, but the trick is that it should look and sound new. Do not fool people by making just a few cosmetic changes.

 8. Evolution of new ideas

The pandemic has triggered new needs, desires, interests, and pursuits. Many men became instant chefs. So, if you are into hotel business, you could probably target the ‘new chefs’ in your locality by having blog posts on new easy-to-make recipes. For example, during the tomato season, you can have a blog on ‘How to surprise your wife with lovely tomatoes’. You are sure to win more hearts through their taste buds or stomachs.

9. Continue creating evergreen content

Alongside specific short-term content, you should also aim to create evergreen content that can be used once or twice in a month or on a ‘rainy day.’ Keep generating evergreen content because unlike trending content, it will accumulate traffic over time and build your SEO “equity.”

10. Update already-performing content

You may pat your backs at content that is doing well. But do not rest on your oars. Even your top performing evergreen content will need tweaks from time to time to make it look fresh and updated with new facts and photographs. New updates can spur a big boost. You can also try to make a long content more precise by tight editing or make it in bullet format. Keep polishing your content from time to time by using the following tricks.

•            Add high-quality outbound links

•            Add new and updated information

•            Always keep updating screenshots and images

•            Add alt text to images

•            Add keywords that are performing well on a day-to-day basis to the headings

•            Change out title tags to be more compelling

Local SEO for SMBs during Covid-19

Your local SEO strategy must be part of Google My Business (GMB) profile. Your GMB profile is the source of data for your Google Maps listing, Local Results listing, and your Knowledge Panel result.

Always remember that these listings provide a quick and thorough snapshot of your business, allowing consumers who find you in a Google search.

The real-time and specific information your GMB profile provides help consumers find out if you are open, especially in times when governments have started suddenly declaring containment zones or curfews due to the pandemic.

11.  Verify your hours in times of uncertainty

Google has started putting labels on listings for businesses that haven’t added special hours or marked themselves as temporarily closed. Remember, if consumers are searching for a product or business near them during Covid-19, they would obviously go with one that is open or they are presented with full info on when your store or business would be open.

12. Check off your attributes

Many businesses are responding to the pandemic by offering special amenities like safe and touch-free delivery. Be specific on what you are offering. Never promise a facility and then tell customers that you do not have delivery boys. That is a bad experience for consumers who may not return to you. Google My Business shows searchers the special facilities that you offer.

13. Update your other listings

Undoubtedly your GMB listing is very useful during Covid-19 pandemic, but it is not the only part of an effective local SEO strategy. Other listings are also important because they play an important role as citations for your website. Google looks at not only the quality and accuracy of your listings but also their consistency with one another and with your website.

Apart from the above tips, here are a few things to implement especially when you have some extra time on hand:

•            Make sure all of your information you provide is identical across platforms.

•            Check for any new listings that may have been auto-created or user-generated.

•            Keep doing a reputation check. Catch up on your customer reviews every day or whenever you are free and respond to them—the positive and the negative. Customers look at your responses just as much as the reviews themselves.

•            Set up Google alerts so you can stay on top of reviews and auto-generated listings moving forward.

The dull period

Traffic to your website may decline during Covid. But that does not mean that people are not looking out for you. Build your SEO strategy for your small business by optimizing for conversion. If you can’t get more traffic to your website, it may be better to focus on getting more conversions among those who do visit it. You could think of running a limited-time offer with free or discounted services.

Here is a quick wrap-up:

1. Be Consistent

2. Keep content crisp and short

3. Go local in times of pandemic

4. Balancing short- and long-term goals

5. Always keep targeting coronavirus-related keywords

6. The new language of the pandemic

7. Tweak and optimize old content

8. Evolution of new ideas during the pandemic

9. Continue creating evergreen content

10. Update already-performing content

11.  Verify your hours in times of uncertainty

12. Check off your attributes

13. Update your other listings. Make sure all of your information you provide is identical across platforms.

EazyWalkers Digital, the leading Digital Marketing Company in Bangalore, has been in the business of SEO and ensured more site traffic, leads, and conversion since the system is tuned to address needs of local clients. With expertise in setting up websites and backing them with SEO for numerous businesses, EazyWalkers is also into brand & UX design. The unique feature of SEO is that it is made with you and for you. R&D emphasizes SEO-focused technique as an approach to assist you to compete with big brands while remaining local and focused.

Digital MarketingSEO

covid 19seoSEO StrategySmall Business

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