People are now searching online more than ever before. Regardless of the economic climate, it is important to keep your brand at the top of the list for searchers when they are making a decision to purchase. During economic downtimes, investing in digital marketing can be a smart choice for securing business growth.
The more trust you build with your online content, the more likely users are to click on your content in the search results pages. That’s why managing and updating your brand’s digital presence is recommended during these times. Dated or inaccurate information can confuse and even deter consumers.
Your company website can be a way to communicate with your audience about COVID-19’s impact and also an opportunity for you to move your business forward in an economically challenging time – all from the safety of your home.
Here’s a few things to help proactively manage your digital presence while we’re all weathering the storm.
Update your Google My Business page
Keep customers updated about changes to your business operations such as opening hours and services by updating your Google My Business page. Google has even created a special COVID-19 Post category that enables businesses to include changes to how they are operating, special hours and temporary closures, requests for support and safety and hygiene related updates.
Keep an eye on Google Analytics & Search Console
Web traffic, especially traffic coming from organic search, is an important indicator of where demand for your products and services has shifted. Spikes or declines in traffic can show you what kind of information is most important to your customers during this time, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Be aware of Google’s local review ban
Google has temporarily disabled new local reviews as well as the ability to reply to reviews, with no announcements on what will happen to reviews left during this period. A business will have no idea if a customer leaves a review or even has a complaint and could potentially miss out a customer that they need to respond to immediately. Finding alternative ways to engage with your customers can enable you to serve them better during this period. Reviews are important in rankings for Google Maps and local search results, so, while you may not want to heavily push Google review requests at the moment, to shut them out completely might have detrimental effects further down the line.
Use your website to inform your audience
It is advisable that local businesses make their COVID-19 related announcements and information prominent and easily accessible on their sites. For businesses that have been significantly impacted by the crisis, it may be necessary to explain how you’re adapting on a dedicated page or directly on the homepage. Google recommends displaying a banner or popup informing visitors of the business status so that users can continue without uncertainty.
Business owners can also add relevant updates to their profile pages, as well as FAQ updates on product or service availability, event status and specific news with structured data to keep users informed directly from the search results page.
Keep your website updated with information not related to COVID-19
While COVID-19 is dominating the world’s attention, Google’s robots are going to continue crawling the web and updating their rankings. It may feel difficult to update content on your website right now, but it’s also an opportunity to better prepare your business for when this crisis is over.
Be Safe, Stay Secure
Trust is a valued commodity at the moment. However, hackers are taking advantage of the current situation. Hackers are using malicious malware to promote Coronavirus discount codes and scams to get sensitive information from consumers. Cybercriminals are also using trusted brand’s identity in phishing attacks.
With security being a top priority, here are a few things to help reduce the risk:
Secure your site with SSL
Google announced HTTPS in 2014 as a ranking factor to encourage businesses to make their websites more secure for visitors. HTTPS protects things like financial information, browsing history, and more.
Update plugins or apps
Hackers tend to look at old plugins or tools for weaknesses. Ensure you to keep them regularly updated, so you are less likely to be targeted.
Monitor log files for crawl errors
Log file analysis can help identify how search engine crawlers are accessing your website and reveal if anything is trying to compromise your site. It helps to gather stats about the usage of a website or web server.
Build trust through SEO
During the COVID-19 crisis, getting your content noticed online will be more important than ever because this is where people are looking for answers to sensitive questions from businesses and brands they trust. Trust is vital in these unprecedented and life-changing times.
Continue to create SEO focused content on topics that are relevant to your audience. Keep your website, content, and messaging unique, up to date, and relevant. It is an important time for auditing your current digital marketing objectives, to be mindful of your messaging.
The importance of social media has increased over the past month, with more visitors to the most popular platforms, staying in touch with the latest news feeds and keeping up to date with friends. During this time, if you are already on social media, keep talking to customers by posting regular updates. Be mindful of how people are feeling during this crisis by showing empathy. Keep messaging aligned to your brand identity, share relevant third-party content where possible and avoid making any bold political statements or criticising others.
As the market shifts further into the digital space over the coming weeks and months, now is a great time to think about improving online brand presence. Look out for next week’s insight for more on this. If you would like support with any of the recommendations outlined above or need a digital marketing strategy to help your brand stand out, then get in touch to speak to our team.