How have brands used SEO to adapt during the pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, many struggling businesses around the world decided to drastically cut back their marketing and advertising spend to survive the crisis. The World Economic Forum reported a 9% decline in ad spend across Europe by June, with the cut going as deep as 12% in some regions.
Meanwhile, other forward-looking businesses chose to redirect their money to more cost-effective strategies such as SEO rather than completely cutting their ad budgets. So, how did they do?
One year into the pandemic, we are speaking to Boyd Digital’s Managing Director, Grant Ruxton, who shares his insights and experience working in SEO during this time of uncertainty.
How have brands used SEO to adapt during the pandemic?
According to Grant Ruxton, for companies to maintain performance during the pandemic, it’s vital that they first understand where their business fits into the wider economic situation and whether the pandemic has opened up new business opportunities. This would, in turn, dictate their adjustment strategies.
‘From our experience, the brands that have done particularly well during the COVID-19 crisis are the fortunate few that have been able to invest into their future by strengthening SEO for long-term gain when demand bounces back,’ said Grant.
‘For example, we helped one big home improvement online retailer recover from a disastrous SEO migration just before the pandemic struck. Therefore, when the first UK lockdown lifted in May 2020, the keyword rankings were in great shape; meaning that sales and traffic boomed as people surged to buy home improvement products.’
‘Other e-commerce clients have ridden out of the crisis by capitalising on the extra traffic and brand awareness that the first post-lockdown boom brought,’ shared Grant.
‘This involved email capture and basket drop-off strategies with our partner, Salesfire. We also increased the conversion-rate-optimisation and cross-selling activity to maximise revenue and repeat purchases from new customers. When physical stores reopened in May 2020, tracking phone calls and driving in-store footfall, where appropriate, also became important,’ he added.
The benefits of SEO in the COVID-19 recovery period and beyond
Grant believes that in times of uncertainty and demand volatility, SEO provides invaluable insights into consumer behaviour and emerging trends that can ‘guide companies through the crisis’.
Besides, ‘SEO can not only help businesses become more visible on searches being performed now, but it can also set you up for success once search behaviour normalises,’ according to Grant.
‘It’s excellent for brand awareness and reputation and will allow you to direct people to your brand and content to build trust during the pandemic and beyond,’ he summarised.