How Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Search Traffic in Different Industries and What Should Be the Appropriate SEO Response?

The coronavirus pandemic that is raging across most of the countries of the world has already had a devastating impact on the economy. While the majority of business is operating well below optimal levels due to lack of demand, some others are seeing renewed interest. Virtually every SEO is now trying to figure out the impact of the epidemic on key SEO metrics. As may be evident, each industry is being affected in a different way due to the difference in search behavior. As is evident, SEOs will also have to respond to the dynamic situation accordingly. Some ways in which the epidemic is impacting SEO metrics and what can be an appropriate response:

Traffic to E-commerce Platforms Selling Essential Items Spiking 

Everyone must have noticed the huge spike in traffic to e-commerce websites especially those that sell essential items like handwashes, sanitizers, floor cleaners, toilet paper, thermometers, and other health and hygiene items that are in huge demand currently. Due to the surge in demand, many items are also not easily available, which has given rise to search terms like “hand sanitizer near me”, “toilet paper near me”, etc. On the other side, the demand for non-essential items like home décor, luggage, furniture, etc. has bottomed out. There has also been a rise in searches for items that people are seeking to substitute their normal consumption like office chairs for working at home, home fitness equipment because the gyms are closed. 

Since the demand has shifted to products with which people can try to deal with the coronavirus, e-commerce platforms can think about creating a new segment of pages for listing the products that are currently in high demand based on the traffic data. It is important to crawl those pages often for errors and monitor the log files to make sure that search engine bot errors are not being served. Most importantly, SEOs should keep a strict watch on the query data to ensure that the pages have the content to fulfill the current search intent of visitors.

Surge in Traffic to Health and Wellness Websites

The personal health niche has always witnessed a fair degree of volatility due to the many fads as well as health issues that suddenly seem to crop up. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a huge surge in traffic to health and fitness sites with people trying to find information on how to stay safe as well as buy personal protective equipment and hygiene products. There is also a lot of interest in finding out what the symptoms of the disease are and how to take preventive measures, including natural remedies. There seems to be fewer queries on popular topics like weight loss, intermittent fasting, etc. As per Edition.cnn.com, the fitness industry valued at $94 billion is being compelled to reinvent itself on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Some studios like Modo Yoga that is known to have locations in France, Canada, Australia, and the U.S.A. have started providing free classes for everybody on Instagram Live.

SEOs will do well to strive for authoritativeness and expertise in the content they post to be able to gain the trust of their target audience because it is very important that they give factual and correct information at this crucial juncture regarding the information on how to tackle the coronavirus crisis. 

Slight Increase of Traffic to Recipe Websites

With more people being forced to eat at home instead of dining out, there has been a little increase in the traffic to recipe websites. People are trying to figure out what can be made conveniently at home with the limited groceries they may have been able to get. These websites are likely to be more popular with the passage of time if the current situation continues and restaurant and food delivery services remain shut or operate below capacity.

SEOs can try to make their recipes more visible on the search engine results page by using structured data to showcase their offers so that they are able to capitalize on the increased demand for home-cooked food recipes. A good idea would be to create special sections on recipes that use ingredients that are easily available or use a fewer number of ingredients to make life easier for users. If you need help with content creation and alignment, you can undertake search engine optimization by Social Market Way, a leading digital marketing SEO agency. 

Huge Disparities in Traffic in the Travel Sector

It will be easy to assume that due to travel restrictions and concepts like social distancing, travel websites would be taking a big hit, however, many different kinds of behavior are being witnessed depending on the niche the website is addressing. In the initial days, there had been a huge surge in traffic to the sites that book flights as people rushed to reschedule or cancel their bookings as well as try to get refunds. There is also a sharp spike in searches for cheap flights because a lot of people assume that with the spate of cancellations, most airlines would be discounting their fares significantly. However, queries for hotels, bed-and-breakfast joints, cruises, adventure sports, destination weddings, etc. have witnessed a sharp decline.

Most companies in the travel sector would do well to focus their efforts on providing timely and efficient customer support, travel advisories, and managing their reputations instead of new customer acquisitions. SEOs will be able to assist by keeping a close watch on the query trends to spot shifts in the audience demand and using the information to realign their support and public relations activities. 

News Website Traffic Witnessing a Sharp Spike

As the number of cases and fatalities mount across the world and the lives of people are thrown into complete disarray, it is not surprising that people forced to stay at home are increasingly turning to news publishing websites to understand what is happening all over the world and in particular, in their state and region. As a result, there has been a massive surge in traffic to news publishing websites as users try to satiate their hunger for updates across a large number of issues, right from the latest statistics to the impact on the stock exchange.

SEOs working in the news publishing sector can do their bit by keeping a strict watch on their log files to ensure errors are not being served on the AMP pages, monitor web pages by the date of publishing to ensure that that the new pages are being crawled by the search engine bots. They can also use the search data to understand the topics that are trending at any given point in time as well as coordinate content with a long shelf life to compensate for the volatility in the news.

Conclusion 

As is evident, the impact of the coronavirus is different across industries; in some, it has had a negative impact while in others, there has been a surge of interest. SEOs will need to understand how the search traffic has undergone a change and react appropriately with tactics that will help them to refocus on the changing needs of their target audiences. At a time when there may be pressure on advertising budgets, realigning SEO with the demands of the audience can ensure businesses survive and even thrive amidst this flux.

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