The following article is authored by Amanda Shelley, Director of Digital Marketing, MERGE
People across the nation are at home and online right now more than ever before. In fact, in the first three months of 2020, internet traffic increased by nearly 25 percent across many major cities. Search traffic has grown exponentially over the past several weeks as the world has rapidly shifted to an almost-all digital landscape, and this trend likely will continue as we look ahead to a new normal post-pandemic.
So, what does this mean? For businesses of all shapes and sizes, now is the time to take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. While digital marketing may seem like an area to scale back due to economic uncertainty, organizations can still make significant progress and leverage SEO to help sustain business in various ways.
Prepare for the short and long-haul
SEO is a long-term strategy, and the steps you take today will affect your overall visibility and search traffic down the road and beyond.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of your overall SEO health to prepare your organization for success. Conducting an SEO and content performance assessment on your domain can help identify immediate opportunities for improvement as well as longer-term priorities to start putting effort into now. This type of assessment involves three key areas:
- Site Health Audit: This should include a top-level review for overall technical health and high-level analytics trends.
- Keyword Audit: An assessment of currently-ranking keywords, particularly for relevancy and keyword search volume.
- Technical Analysis: In-depth review of technical site errors across best practices categories, including metadata, code and link health.
A comprehensive SEO health check can help you uncover core issues to prioritize as well as other gaps that may be hindering your SEO. It also sets a roadmap for a strong SEO and inbound strategy, which is critical to guide your efforts into optimized marketing pathways.
Make sure your organization can be found online
Once you have identified key improvement opportunities, optimization efforts should come next. SEO optimization is essential to boosting awareness of your brand, driving traffic to convert content, and providing seamless digital experiences for visitors. When done right, this can enable your organization to make its way to the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), so your business can be easily found by qualified audiences.
SEO optimization ranges from keyword research and content strategy to link building and technical performance. Now more than ever, daily management and optimization of your website and content should be a main focus. Three primary areas to pay attention to include:
- Keywords: Identify 20-50 high-performing keywords that encompass what audience members are searching for and the content you are providing to fill that need. These should be employed across your site and used to help reach and maintain page 1 rankings in search engines.
- Meta data: Review meta descriptions and title tags for top webpages to ensure the copy is unique and optimized, leveraging ranked keywords and competitor research to inform each. Missing meta descriptions and sub-optimal title tags are top priority issues to address.
- Links: Having working links is a positive sign to Googlebot that your site is regularly maintained. Be sure to correct both internal and external links that indicate errors. These can be monitored with automated tools and regular reporting.
By ensuring ongoing SEO optimization efforts are prioritized, your organization will be better positioned to keep valuable groundwork made in the SERPs and come out ahead post-pandemic.
Maintain existing SEO campaigns
Many organizations are shifting strategies and taking their foot off the gas as we face increasing economic uncertainty. One important thing to avoid, however, is halting any existing SEO campaigns—which can be a critical mistake for your business. Instead, review current campaigns and determine if the content is still appropriate and relevant to accommodate the changing landscape. Consider adjusting your messaging and value propositions, including the use of primary keywords, so that your brand continues to appear in applicable searches. This is an opportunity to showcase empathy and point audiences towards helpful information or resources that are important during this time.
Supplement with cost-effective options
In addition to current campaigns in the market, consider strategic online opportunities such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to bolster your online presence. PPC campaigns can be a high-impact, affordable option that enable your organization to connect with target audiences and gain competitive advantage.
During an economic downturn, there is often less competition, which means it is easier and quicker to get results. In some cases, deals are available, such as a potential cost reduction in PPC advertising. For organizations that have taken an especially hard hit from the pandemic, this is an opportunity to drive immediate results and boost high-quality site traffic.
Take advantage of SEO and grow your business
In a fluid situation like the current economy, your organization should also remain fluid. As we continue to progress toward post-pandemic recovery, use this time to uncover key SEO strengths and opportunities, areas of vulnerability, and how you can showcase value and credibility to your customers through meaningful messages at every touchpoint. By building a solid foundation and boosting your SEO now, your organization will be well-positioned to excel when things return to normal.
MERGE brings together the energy of strategic communicators, creative thinkers, tech innovators, and digital marketing experts to help solve business challenges and grow revenue. With deep healthcare experience, our team has an uncommon perspective of today’s healthcare environment – challenging what is typical and embracing new opportunities to achieve your initiatives.