The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on swift currents of change to all aspects of life and has impacted every business in one way or another. As companies try to navigate these challenges, marketing decisions become more crucial than ever. For businesses looking at avenues to find growth or unsure where to invest precious marketing spend during this time, search engine optimization (SEO) offers a few unique advantages as a marketing channel during tough times.
We’ve been working on SEO campaigns for businesses across the U.S. for over 25 years and have seen how SEO works during all sorts of economic environments. In particular, there are three stability advantages that SEO offers that I wanted to highlight as you think through marketing decisions during this time.
1. SEO offers long-term gains
Marketing budgets invested into SEO today can drastically impact business performance in the future. While most traditional marketing channels have a short shelf life, investments in SEO continue to provide benefits months and years down the road. For example, a piece of content created today that ranks well in Google search for a top keyword in your industry can continue to drive traffic to your website for years with SEO.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people into their homes, and the web is the main medium that people can easily interact with from home. In fact, Internet traffic is up 50%.
“While most traditional marketing channels have a short shelf life, investments in SEO continue to provide benefits months and years down the road.”
While ecommerce businesses are seeing unmatched results from SEO at the moment — Adobe reports an almost 200% increase in toilet paper purchases alone — companies outside the ecommerce sector are still benefiting from their investment in SEO. Many have closed their locations to help slow the spread of COVID-19, effectively modifying or shutting down their operations.
The ability to be found online, though, has helped these companies generate revenue during this difficult time, like through gift cards, delivery, and more. SEO offers both immediate and long-term benefits to businesses, and companies that have invested in SEO are seeing those benefits now as they move with the currents of today’s evolving economic landscape.
2. SEO doesn’t need to be timed properly
Companies are cutting back on TV ad campaigns or losing money on print campaigns planned for Spring 2024 due to the rapidly changing economic landscape. One key strategic advantage of SEO is that you don’t need to worry about timing when consumers are ready to find your product or service. Since SEO is an inbound marketing channel, it works to make it easier for customers to find you.
Your long-term marketing investment in SEO will make your site visible to meet market demand in your industry — whenever that might be.
“One key strategic advantage of SEO is that you don’t need to worry about timing when consumers are ready to find your product or service.”
This makes SEO a lower risk investment than other marketing channels that rely on timing. Your SEO efforts, like content marketing, continue to work in the background and bring your company much-needed leads and sales. As people start to get curious about a topic, your website is there in the search results, ready to educate, persuade, and eventually convert.
Even though SEO does require maintenance, its ability to consistently perform at a cost-effective rate makes it a strategy that companies can count on — even during harsh economic conditions.
3. SEO offers scalability and low-cost leads
Studies have shown SEO to be one of the highest ROI marketing channels for businesses. This is especially true during tighter economic conditions. The beauty of SEO is that you can scale up your visitors from search without paying a big premium to reach a wider audience.
“Studies have shown SEO to be one of the highest ROI marketing channels for businesses.”
While you are bidding for each visitor to your site in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign or increasing budgets to get more eyeballs from print advertising, your website — likely your most important marketing asset — is able to get more visitors from search each day without extra overhead.
Remember — SEO helps people already interested in your business find you. Being discoverable online is always important for businesses, but it’s especially crucial during times like these. More than 50% of people find new companies or products after a search, and that’s likely even higher now with more people home and reliant on the Internet for researching and shopping.
Search is your company’s way of getting discovered and getting sales in today’s ultra-competitive market. If you aren’t present in search results, you aren’t giving your business the means to generate leads or sales. Around 95% of search traffic goes to the first page, a fact that helps demonstrate why SEO is so critical to businesses today.
With SEO, you can get your company ranking at the top of search results — a prime spot for earning not only website traffic, but also valuable leads and sales for your business. SEO is a smart investment to help fuel long-term growth for businesses in 2024 and beyond.
[Bonus] How to manage your Google My Business profile during COVID-19
Google Business Profile is a critical part of your online presence, and one of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had over the last few weeks is, “What should I do with my Google Business Profile if my business location is temporarily closed?” Right now, you have two options:
1. Short-term closures
You can use the “special hours” functionality to change the hours of a specific location to “closed” if it will be closed for a few days. Google doesn’t have a specific published limit on the number of days you can close with special hours, but it’s a pretty manual process, so it’s best for short-term closures.
2. Long-term closures (30 days or longer)
Google allows you to contact them directly and set a “temporarily closed” status, which may take longer to be approved but will require less work on your end to set up.
Click below to learn more about each option!
In addition to updating your hours, your business can also use Google Posts. These posts work similar to a status update on social media. You can create a post to update current and potential customers about what’s happening at your business, like your current inventory, status, and more.
Keep in mind that if you need any direct support from Google right now for your Google My Business account, the company’s maintaining a smaller support team as a precautionary health measure against COVID-19.
If you have questions, we’re here
No matter your industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented your business with a slew of challenges and difficult decisions, especially when it comes to how you’ll market your company. Compared to other marketing options, SEO offers far more stability and security. It’s a great option for businesses focusing on long-term growth during tenuous times.
Trevin serves as the VP of Marketing at WebFX. He has worked on over 450 marketing campaigns and has been building websites for over 25 years. His work has been featured by Search Engine Land, USA Today, Fast Company and Inc.
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