Coronavirus: What It Means for Your SEO

March 27, 2020

Kerrie Ashall

In a short space of time, Coronavirus is having a massive impact on the world. We are seeing changes in how people are using the internet – whether it is for communication, ordering food, looking for information, or entertainment whilst they are isolating themselves. We are also seeing businesses – and indeed industries – having to adapt, with more people working from home and a greater focus on deliveries.

SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy in the world today and it is closely linked to trends and local, national, and international events. It is inevitable, therefore that Coronavirus is having an impact on the success of the search marketing for your business.

Changes in Searches

With changes in the way that people are conducting their lives, we are seeing a change in the searches that are being made. We already know, for example, that there are fewer searches being carried out for many industries, especially around travel and luxury goods, for example, but massive growth in searches related to media, food, healthcare, and finance. This is mainly centred around the general public’s quest for the latest information, help, and guidelines.

Here’s an example from Google Trends, which shows increases in search frequencies for terms ‘elderly care coronavirus’ (blue) and ‘elderly care’ (red):

But drops for ‘coach holidays’:

The conversion rate also appears to be mirroring these changes, with people less likely to be spending money on travel and holidays, for example, and more on food, cleaning products, and media.

When it comes to Pay Per Click, it seems that we haven’t seen much of a change in the cost per click, but as we have seen people holding back on some purchases, the cost per conversion is going up generally – unless you are selling ‘essential’ items like baked beans or toilet roll.

Google SERPs

Google is adapting their search engine results pages by doing what they can to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is ranking highly. This means that in addition to the search results given as a result of their normal algorithms, they are prioritising data from informative and objective organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the NHS and the government.

They have also launched a new search experience to help people find information more easily.

It seems that at this unprecedented time, Google is doing what they can to ensure that accurate, objective and helpful information is circulated.


Google has also announced that during the outbreak, they are suspending new reviews, replies and Q&As on Google My Business (GMB) listings. This means that you should be taking this into account when you are thinking of your content strategy and local SEO especially. It may be worth re-auditing your listings to see if any improvements can be made in the meantime.

What can you do?

You might be working from home, or your work might have dried up during these difficult times, but it is important to remember that we will come out of this the other side. You can be preparing your business for this time and the one thing that you shouldn’t be doing is ignoring your search marketing efforts, as this is vital to ensure that you’re not being left behind your competitors.

When it comes to organic search, it doesn’t matter how your industry is doing as a whole, what is important is how you are doing compared to your competitors. There is, of course, the chance that budgets or time is tight, but it can be very useful to use this time to get ahead with your online marketing.

With this in mind, here are some ideas of what you can be doing to help your search marketing now, and in the future, and get your business ready for when things begin to pick up again.

  • Think about content ideas – maybe you could interview employees or think about what kind of FAQs you have. Coming up with content ideas now will help in the future.
  • Consider webinars or videos – these are a great way to boost your SEO and reach out to new customers
  • Think about how you can respond to both positive and negative reviews thoughtfully whilst getting your brand messaging across
  • Ensure that any changes in your businesses due to Covid-19 are explained on your website – changes in opening times, whether you are delivering, contact numbers, etc.
  • Remember that while many people aren’t going out, they are spending a lot of time online, so consider cutting back on your offline marketing and focusing on your online efforts

The Covid-19 pandemic is dominating the world at the moment, but it can be useful – for both your business and for your own mental health – to focus on the end of it. It is important for search marketers to be up-to-date and aware of the changes that are happening, as they happen so that the SEO strategies can adapt and your business will be ready to shine as we come out of this difficult time.

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