Indeed, we’re living in strange times at the moment.  To think just a handful of very long weeks ago we were meeting friends in restaurants, working in our offices, and taking our kids to their favorite parks.  Now we’re practicing social distancing and ordering our groceries (sans toilet paper) online.  Lots has changed.  Including SEO and content marketing.

If you’re a small business and feeling the financial punch to the gut, your knee-jerk reaction may be to end your SEO campaign.  Believe us, we understand where you’re coming from.  But, do you know what people who can’t go outside do?  They stay inside.  And online.  And they’re searching.  That’s why focusing on your SEO now is smart and strategic.

Today we’re going to give you some good SEO news so you can make an educated decision about how to approach your SEO and content marketing during COVID-19.


Your New SEO and Content Marketing Approach

As far as your content goes, stay relevant, accurate, reliable, and approachable.  You have an audience, speak to them.  This has been true since SEO became a thing.  That said, you probably need to do some adjusting.

Priorities have shifted, which means users are searching differently now.  Here’s how you can stay connected, stay social during the times of social distancing, and keep your audience engaged in an organic, sincere way.


Be Conscious

The world is reeling right now and some of your visitors are very affected and feeling first-hand tragedy.  You don’t want to appear insensitive- because you’re not.  So, be conscious of how you write your copy, the images you’re using, who you’re quoting, etc.

If you generally use humor and sarcasm in your content, you’re going to want to rethink that strategy.  It won’t be forever, just for now.  Taking a more serious approach (not somber) will help you be relatable.  Instead of being overly witty, be overly positive, inspiring, helpful, and thoughtful.  These are attributes people are currently yearning for.  And, we’re not saying you can never be funny, people need to laugh, we’re saying be smart with your humor.

Put some thought into the words you choose.  Steer clear of adjectives that have dual meaning, such as: killer, infectious, and viral.  You don’t want to come off as dismissive, like you’re not taking this situation seriously.

If you’re not a politician, stay away from opinionated content.  You have no idea who you’ll offend and it’s not worth it.  Stay as neutral as possible.  That includes using words that make your visitors feel secure and comfortable.  Don’t over-promise and always be genuine and respectful.  You want to show that you’re offering something, not taking advantage of a bad situation.

Right now, your users want to see you as a business they can rely on, who will support them.  Thinking of their needs before your own, will help that.


Be Honest and Pay Attention to the Details

Being reliable and accurate in all ways is always key to a successful SEO campaign, but right now, you really want to drive these things home.

Some people just notice mistakes, they just stand out to them immediately (my hand’s up), you don’t want to put a banner about COVID-19 on your site that has poor grammar, a missing word, or provides the wrong information.

Grammar and spelling are important right now.  I mean, they’re always very important, but don’t look lazy at this time, especially when someone is reading your necessary and vital information about how COVID-19 is affecting your business and your customers.

Feeling nervous?  Try Grammarly.  It’s freemium and even the free part works wonders.  If you want more details by the Grammarly experts, signing up for a paid plan is easy.  It’s a plugin, so it works everywhere you are on your computer or device.

Let’s say you’re giving information about COVID-19 on your website, be sure your source is credible.  If you use misleading or blatantly wrong information about COVID-19, YOUR credibility is at risk.  Always check your sources.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are great resources for you.

Remain calm and controlled and be encouraging without saying things like:

  • Everything will be fine
  • This will be over soon
  • We’re staying open till this is over

Honesty is the best policy and how could you possibly truly know those things?  Your positivity needs to be accurate.


Switch Up Your Offers, Services, and General Content

If you’re in an industry that can provide helpful, relevant offers or services, you should be doing that, and doing it yesterday.  Everyone is looking for help in some form at the moment and being helpful is an excellent role to play.

Change current ads or content to show what you can do for your fellow person during this chaotic time.  Be as general as possible so you don’t have to edit it dozens (maybe way more) of times.

And follow these steps:

  • No need for urgency right now, the “CALL NOW” and “DON’T MISS OUT” tactics aren’t going to entice your users because the only truly urgent thing happening is COVID-19
  • Check your current offers to be sure they’re relevant at this time and if needed, adjust accordingly- a CTA asking for people to join a gym that’s currently closed isn’t helping anyone
  • Use words that make your users feel safe, like “delivery”, “virtual”, “downloadable”, “social distancing”
  • If you have scheduled content going out, jump in to be sure it’s still relevant, when your followers see your post about the best happy hour places in your area, you’ll look irresponsible and maybe even flippant
  • Update your Google My Business (GMB) listing with your new hours, services, offers, etc., and keep in mind that GMB has made some changes to their guidelines (at the time of this publication, customer reviews have been temporarily taken down, so any CTAs asking your buyers to leave you a review should be removed)

If you’re a business that is affected by COVID-19, but still operational in any capacity, we recommend adding a banner to the homepage of your website (it can be on every page if that makes sense) detailing your status, safety measures, new services, etc.  It can be short and sweet.

If you need to give more details, link your banner to a webpage dedicated to FAQs about how your business is working during COVID-19, this page can also be short and sweet.  The goal is to give confidence to your visitors and let them know you’re being responsible.

Also, if you’re blogging about your status, be sure you just update the same blog post and add the date of the update to the top, if you have too many posts about the same thing it can get confusing to your readers and they may stumble upon a post that is currently inaccurate.


Content Ideas

So, what should your content be about during COVID-19?  Well, that depends on your business, your industry, and your audience.  We’re confident that at least a few of these ideas can benefit you and your audiences:

  • Recommendations: books, blogs, podcasts, shows, online courses, recipes.  Example: take a video of yourself giving a movie review.
  • Business training: tell people how you got so good at what you do, offer free or discounted training courses, provide payment plans, giveaways, offer tips on how to work from home more successfully.  Example: make a simple how-to video and post it on your site and your social media.
  • Health: how are you nurturing your body, mind, and soul.  Example: are you doing chiropractic stretches, desk ergonomics, using a standing desk, meditating, breathing exercises, tell your audience how you stay mentally and physically well.
  • Organizing: this can be about your day or your house or your refrigerator, but it’s a great time to get organized (and may save your sanity).  Example: list out how you’ve been homeschooling your three kids while working from home.
  • Activities: gardening, crafts, games, walks, biking, hobbies.  Example: take daily pictures of how your peppers are growing and give details about how you nurture them.

The point of your content now is to be as engaging, supportive, and relevant as possible.  Remember, you’re here to help.


Keep Your SEO and Content Marketing Moving Forward

We’ve said it here before and we’re going to say it again: SEO is a long-game strategy.  You’ve got the time to focus on it now and if you give it a bit of attention, the payoff will be well worth it.

We want you to reap those rewards.

There are great ways you can benefit your SEO campaign starting right now:

  • Watch Google Trends, what are people searching for, can you use those words in your campaign right now?
  • Look at your data and analytics, how are your keywords doing?
  • Keep creating content, now’s the time, save it for later if that makes sense, but use your time wisely by creating evergreen content or educational content that makes sense to you and your buyers
  • Think about what Q3 and Q4 are going to look like for you, what incentives can you provide to get your customers back in the door, think about promotions, offers, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday
  • Give your website an audit, SEO isn’t only about content: is your site functioning at its best speed, how’s your user-experience, is it time to start a blog

Take full advantage of this time to get your SEO where you’ve always wanted it.  If your budget is a concern, check out SEO blogs, look up tutorials on YouTube, look into  online SEO educational courses.  It’s as easy as starting with a list of your SEO priorities, you can start ticking away on those excellent SEO details right now.


Stay Safe

At the forefront of these unimaginable times, safety is the most important thing.  If you aren’t in the position to work or are feeling financial strains that are weighing you down, we encourage you to think of the things you’re grateful for and to stay as busy as you can.

Hopefully these SEO tips will benefit your mind as well as your business.  Propel Marketing and Design is working remotely and here to help guide you should you feel inspired.  If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get your SEO really moving during COVID-19 (and ready for post-COVID-19), we’re here to help.  We provide services, insight, education, and everything in between.

Call or email and let’s discuss how you can stay on top of your SEO campaign during and after COVID-19.