What Effects Has COVID Had on SEO?
Virtually no one has been immune to the economic, social and cultural effects that the past year has unfurled upon us. Thanks to coronavirus, many of our most essential day-to-day functions and services have been altered irrevocably. From how we work and learn to where we shop, countless examples exist that show how fragile our modern-day society truly is when even just one unexpected event occurs.
Even in the world of SEO, the effects have been felt. As more and more people seek solutions online rather than in-person, many niches have been upended. Because of this, brands are continuously having to adapt in order to reach people – particularly through search engines.
More specifically, how has COVID impacted SEO trends and behaviors over the past year? We’ll take a look at the effects so that you can be abreast of these changing times.
Online Shopping Has Exploded
One of the biggest trends in SEO over the past year relates to the massive explosion in online consumer spending. Using the United States as one example, online shopping pre-COVID had been growing at roughly one percentage point of total consumer spending per year. In 2020, the share of consumer spending online jumped by 5 percentage points: a huge uptick in spending.
This obviously isn’t surprising. With more and more retail establishments closing their doors temporarily or permanently, consumers are left with fewer in-person options. The end result is that search engine niches are increasingly being filled with e-commerce listings and – more importantly – additional consumers.
Local Business Searches Are On the Rise
Given all the upheaval in routines and schedules, it shouldn’t be surprising that shoppers have uncertainty about which stores and locales are open, as well as whether their hours have changed. Because of this, more and more people are using local business searches than ever – even for businesses they’ve long since frequented.
As more businesses routinely update their websites – as well as features such as Google My Business pages – to include up-to-date information, local shoppers and users are likewise searching more. By pinging search engines with up-to-date information, brands can more effectively reach audiences (many of which are growing quickly compared to the pre-COVID era).
COVID Search Terms Have Changed the Content Game
With so much interest in COVID facts, procedures, statistics and more, brands across a wide variety of niches are finding reasons to target pandemic-specific search terms. From local businesses to established news outlets, the dynamic for COVID-related content has created an entirely new set of competitive niches across a plethora of industries and topics.
Brands that are pinging search engines with relevant content that simultaneously focuses on the hot-topic discussions surrounding COVID can expect to reap a large amount of new traffic (when proper SEO tactics are utilized, anyway).
It is for this reason that an entirely new set of niches have opened up for brands large and small, making it possible to generate additional clicks, sales, subscriptions and other desired actions that might be more difficult to earn via more traditional search terms.
While COVID won’t last forever, it has reshaped the nature of the internet and how SEO is conducted. From its effects on online shopping and local search to customized content revolving around its presence, blogs, brands and businesses have ample reason to embrace these changes as part of their ever-evolving SEO strategies.