The COVID-19 outbreak has affected billions of people around the world. The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other and has also changed how a majority of businesses engage customers. Brand engagement now differs vastly from before.

The bottom line is, if your small business is to succeed, you need to adapt to today’s market climate.

With many businesses forced to close because of COVID-19, maintaining a digital presence has become even more important today. People are shifting their shopping behavior toward online buying. This means SEO and content marketing will be a crucial part of how small and medium enterprises do business.

COVID-19 and Its Impact on Online Activity

Internet usage has grown exponentially during the outbreak. All online activities including electronic money transfers, online gaming, movie and video streaming, virtual meetings and social media have experienced significant upticks in usage.

Online searches have changed too. A significant number of searches focused on health and news. This means a decline in web traffic for other, non-relevant websites. So, what does this all mean?

At first glance it will look like SEO is pointless if your small business is nonessential or temporarily closed. But taking advantage of SEO is even more important now for small businesses. Let’s explore why.

Does SEO Still Matter?

The decline in web traffic notwithstanding, SEO remains vital to small businesses. Here’s why.

Evergreen Content Is Still Relevant

While COVID-19 and its related topics dominate online searches, it will subside, becoming less relevant as time marches forward. Evergreen topics and content within your business niche will still generate traffic and maintain relevancy.

SEO Isn’t Just About Traffic

SEO isn’t only about building website traffic. It’s about reaching people who have shown interest in your products and services. SEO helps you identify and reach qualified leads that you can nurture into customers.

Gains from SEO Are Long-Term

You don’t see any gains from SEO immediately. It will take months before you see any benefits, so taking action now is important if you want to reap success later. When it comes to SEO, you need to play the long game.

Web Searches Are Becoming More Important

Earlier, we talked about how traffic to websites from search engines is declining, but traffic to search engines aren’t. People who used to rely on other mediums of information are turning to search engines to get the answers they need. Search engine platforms are also becoming more sophisticated. This means SEO will become even more important to businesses in the near future.

Why Should Small Businesses Pay Attention To SEO?

Now let’s talk about why SEO is still important to small businesses despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few reasons small businesses need to pay attention to SEO.

Local Search Is Even More Important Now

The pandemic has forced many to stay close to home. This means that local search has become a crucial part of the business arsenal of small businesses. Local SEO lets small businesses appear in searches tagged with “near me” and “open now”.

If your business hasn’t reopened, optimizing your website for local search lets you engage with potential customers and lets them know when you are reopening. You want your business to be ready once you are allowed to reopen again.

People Are Supporting Local Business

Customers across the US are starting to support local businesses over big brand names. Local SEO will help your business connect with potential customers who want to go local.

SEO Is Cost-Efficient

SEO is a more affordable option versus traditional marketing methods. It does require a sizeable investment in time and effort, however, if you want to understand and fully benefit from it, it’s well worth your time and effort. The coronavirus outbreak has slowed down operations, which means we now have time to work on an SEO strategy.

SEO Strategies in The Age Of COVID-19

SEO is a critical part of a small businesses’ marketing arsenal, but just where do you start?

Here is a quick list of the things you can do to get the ball rolling on your SEO strategy.

  • Produce high-quality and relevant evergreen content.
  • Be consistent with your content.
  • Make sure you target coronavirus related search terms and unrelated search terms.
  • Create a Google My Business profile or update an existing one.
  • Get your business featured in a local media article and be sure they include a backlink to your website.
  • Update your content that is already performing well on searches.

The Bottom Line

Despite the many challenges raised by the global health crisis, SEO still matters to small and medium-scale businesses. Taking full advantage of SEO is a cost-effective potential solution that is useful to many small and medium enterprises that are hard hit by the viral outbreak.

SEO strategies also help small businesses stay visible in today’s market, and can help your small business gain visibility once the new normal begins.

Jake Eisenberg is a motivated, strong-minded individual with a passion for internet marketing. I developed a managed-workforce-provider for companies looking to strengthen their brand, generate more meetings, and increase their sales.

SEO stock photo by Cienpies Design/Shutterstock