7 Ways COVID-19 Affects Search Traffic And How SEOs Can Respond


The question is in almost all SEO minds right now is: “How does Coronavirus affect SEO metrics?”

No surprise here. The answer, as always, is “it depends.”

Because research reflects human behavior, COVID-19 affects each industry differently.

For example, just as people form lines outside of grocery stores, e-commerce sites that sell these same essential products are likely to experience a huge increase in traffic .

This also changes as the news gets going. For example, impressions and traffic for "non-perishable food" increased when items such as remoteness and on-site shelter were announced.

As SEO we will have to respond accordingly.

I was able to consult the data of a few sites on several verticals.

I am also inspired by information that I have seen shared with other SEO.

Based on this which I've seen so far, here are seven ways COVID-19 appears to affect SEO metrics, and how we should consider responding.

1. Ecommerce Sites Selling Essentials Are Growing

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has seen ecommerce websites (at least those selling essentials) with huge spikes impressions and traffic.

This comes from people looking for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, thermometers … clearly researching products related to the pandemic.

This sharp increase in demand, as well as the shortage of products, have even created new requests such as "toilet paper near me " and "hand sanitizer near me ". [OntheotherhandIhaveseennon-essentialitemslikemakeupsufferfromtrafficdeclinesaswellastravel-relateditemslikeluggage

But things that are not essential one day may become essential the next. [aboutthesametimethatthegymsstartedtoclosewesawimpressionsandspikesintrafficforthingslikeringfitandotheroptionsindoorfitness

Or how about when employers started making homework mandatory?

Yes – it was around the same time that there were pushes for things like "office chair "And" office "started to appear in the query data.

How to respond

Demand is high right now, but that demand has largely shifted to products that people should avoid and / or coping with the pandemic.

E-commerce SEOs may consider creating a high-demand product page segment, based on your impressions / traffic data, to watch closely. Frequently scan these pages for errors.

Monitor the log files to make sure that they do not broadcast search engine errors. Make them easy to find in site navigation.

Observe the query data on these pages to make sure your content reflects the most recent search intentions.

2. Health and wellness sites are increasing

The vertical of health and well-being is not unrelated to volatility.

Recently, Google has cracked down on content that provides advice and information on subjects such as medical problems (a subject " Your money or your life ", according to their quality guidelines for assessors ), keeping it at a very high level. As a result of COVID-19, the health and wellness sites I visited are experiencing an overall increase in impressions and traffic.

It appears to be mainly due to queries such as "Coronavirus symptoms."

On the other hand, people seem to care much less about things like intermittent fasting.

There also seems to be a slight increase in queries for natural remedies like " antiviral herbs s "," antibacterial essential oils "and" antiviral food. "

How to Respond

Seeking expertise, authority and trust with this type of content is more important than ever. People turn to search engines to answer their medical questions, a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly.

3. Recipe websites appear to be increasing slightly

Recipe websites that I have seen so far have seen an increase in impressions and clicks, although not as drastic as essential retailers or websites

This is likely due to the fact that more people cook at home than eat out.

This could continue to increase if longer restaurants are closed or operated at reduced capacity.

How to Respond

Use structured recipe data to improve the way your recipes appear in search results to capture some of this increased demand for revenue.

Consider publishing or promoting recipes that use fewer ingredients and ingredients that are easier to obtain now.

4. Travel website traffic is everywhere

On the surface, you might think travel websites are experiencing huge traffic problems due to travel restrictions and social isolation.

I have seen impressions and increased traffic.

My first inclination was that it must have been due to people looking to cancel, reschedule, or get refunds for their reservations.

It turns out it seems a little more complicated than that.

I actually noticed impressions and traffic increases for requests like "cheap flights" – potentially because with all the cancellations, people assume the airlines will sell seats at greatly reduced prices.

Hotel demand seems to be decreasing, especially in closed places like Disneyland or San Francisco.

Without surprise, it seems that requests related to cruises are also decreasing.

The travel industry is diversified, including flights, hotels, cruises, etc.

The specific impact will vary according to the sector .

Overall, however, the travel industry is definitely feeling the impact.

How to respond

As Kevin Gibbons said, travel agencies are probably turning to customer support and reputation management, not acquisition.

Kevin Gibbons

Travel SEO can help with this effort by closely monitoring their query data to see where the demand for their audience is evolving, and l using to inform support and public relations efforts.

5. Publisher websites are in high demand

It won't surprise anyone, but publisher websites are experiencing huge surges of impressions and traffic.

People are looking for updates in all their forms, from the " map of the coronavirus " on the impact of the coronavirus on the stock market.

One thing is certain, we have all been glued to the news recently (for better or for worse). [HowtoRespond

While journalists continue to report news and updates on coronaviruses, publisher SEO can offer support in several ways.

They can:

  • View their files newspapers to make sure that AMP pages are not running errors.
  • Monitor pages by date of publication to make sure that search engine crawlers crawl new pages as soon as possible. ssible.
  • Use research data to find out where the public interest is at any given time.
  • Coordinate evergreen content to compensate for seasonal and news-based volatility.

6. Restaurants Must Rotate

Although I couldn't look directly at the data from restaurant sites, the effects are obvious.

In many places, restaurants operate at limited capacity.

In many places others, restaurants and bars are completely closed.

This means that queries that local restaurants may have used before COVID tend to decrease.

 restaurants near me query trending down

However, interest in alternatives such as "take-out delivery" (an option that many restaurants are starting to offer) is increasing.

 curbside pickup increasing trend

Third-party delivery services like UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash and Grubhub are also on the rise.

Fortunately, these companies are temporarily waiving the fees they charge certain restaurants in order to help stay afloat during this period.

How to respond

If you perform a local referral for a restaurant that had to close due to COVID-19, use vacation hours on Google My Business (GMB) to indicate that you are closed instead of completely eliminating your store hours (advice courtesy of Masaki Okazawa).

Masaki Okazawa @saksters

GMB tip if you're an SMB that has to close bc of COVID-19: Use Holiday Hours to indicate that you are closed instead of removing your store hours completely.

Removing hours marks your business listing as “Open Now”, which can mislead customers in times of panic.

 View image on Twitter  View image on Twitter

You can also add a GMB question and answer around the status of your restaurant during COVID-19 and get as many people as possible to vote it so that it appear c as the main question in your knowledge panel (advice courtesy of Darren Shaw).

Darren Shaw @DarrenShaw_

7. Volatility is Found in Websites at All Levels

Times are uncertain, but one thing is certain – current volatility affects just about every website I have visited.

volatility, empathy, and data from your own website are paramount.

Benchmarks can be helpful, but be sure to check your own query data.

This will give you a window into the needs of your

Do you meet these needs or not?

At a time when brands must reduce their campaign expenses, there is an acquisition channel that does not go out during budget cuts … research organic.

Although things are currently in a state of major flux, the referral may be more important than ever.

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