We’re living through times that have not only upended our personal lives but also our business lives. Over the course of a couple of short months, we have seen a totally new search reality emerge because, after all, we’ve been stuck at home and have required life to come to our doorstep. Now that we are tentatively re-opening segments of the country, will this be a temporary blip in the way we search for things or will things re-settle into the way things were?
Which Way Will Things Go?
Obviously, we simply don’t know right now. On the one hand, we’re talking about jump-starting a gasping economy and sending people back to work. On the other hand, we’re hearing experts talking about a second wave and resurgence of the virus when our guard is down. But right now is an important case-study in the way searches are fueling our new reality and also what they mean to the new technology.
How is that? First, let’s look at the knowns right now, as few as they are.
- Known: we have a virus out there that has brought us to our knees, locally, nationally and globally.
- Known: this virus is defying what the experts have had previous experience with and known protocols for.
- Known: people have shifted buying habits short-term from wants to needs.
- Known: people are looking for a sense of community.
- Known: people are looking for trustworthy sources of information in a sea of hype and contradictory information.
Every company with a digital presence right now should be considering how to work within the current framework while keeping an eye toward the potential as yet unknown future. Whether your business has anything at all to do with the coronavirus or not, it can have everything to do with a sense of community, trust and rebuilding. And your SEO strategies can begin to appreciate how searches are evolving and how technology is meeting that need.
A Human Response
So how can you do this while still having no idea what the future will hold? It’s a balance that you should be navigating regardless of whether we live with this virus for another few weeks or another few months. It may seem as we are dealing with a short-term virus-related response but on further examination, it has everything to do with how you stay relevant in a digital marketing age that is continually mimicking real human response.
How to Appeal to Those Human Needs Right Now
Real-life human response wants that sense of community. Right now, have a statement on your site setting out your current COVID-19 business updates. Update your Google My Business Page. What are you doing differently? How is your business navigating this time? How are you working to keep your employees and customers safe? What will your business look like once this is all over? Can your customers still get your product or service and how do they do that? The bottom line: how can you be trusted when everything seems so untrustworthy right now?
We are moving through a time that is constantly fluid. What emerging information can you use to create content and impart a sense of calm in the storm? How does your business or product fit into this bigger picture? Having this kind of content right now can mean the difference between searchers coming to you or to a competitor.
Can You Modify Some Keywords?
Consider the most important keywords you use. Now consider that many people are looking for those very things but in their current real-life context. Can you explore content that integrates your most important keywords with modifiers that are relevant right now?
- Near me
- Open now
- At home
Support your community and consider promoting other local businesses in cooperation. Many consumers on social media are promoting small business in their area with #supportsmallbusiness offerings. Be part of this important movement.
How Can You Help the Essential Workforce?
Many people simply can’t shelter in place and are required to work as part of the essential workforce. How can you help these people? Can you offer rebates, bonus products or giveaways? Can you offer essential worker discounts? People remember a brand that has helped them in meaningful ways or offered empathy and compassion when times are hard.
The Human Element of New Technology
People aren’t algorithms. And that is just part of the future that we are looking at with Google’s BERT update and its focus on language and context. Particularly when searching on a mobile device, real people ask real questions, not just search for keywords.
This is a good time to research meaningful questions that will provide long-tail keywords for your future. Defining these questions and your long-tail keywords requires that you take a good hard look at your company, your services or products and your website. And that is something that every company with a digital presence should do periodically. What better time than now when we have some extra time on our hands?
Your digital presence and SEO is dynamic and you may have had little time to give it some good consideration in all the busyness of a bustling economy. But we have a lull right now. Don’t waste this time. At SSA, we are here to help with proven techniques and ideas that can take a precarious time and poise you and your business for future growth.