Coronavirus SEO Impact - Snapshot for Google Search Console

Recovering Website Traffic & Leads after the Coronavirus Hit

  1. Coronavirus SEO impact – organic traffic decline by industry
  2. Coronavirus SEO impact – organic traffic growth by industry
  3. Overcoming the Coronavirus SEO Impact: a Case Study
  4. Takeaways and Tips

We are almost through May 2020, and the coronavirus topic is still far from being forgotten in the circles of marketers and business owners, who have been impacted by this terrible 2020 pandemic. Moreover, if you haven’t felt the impact yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going smoothly for you (some businesses are still good at demand generation, but cannot convert this demand into paying customers). So, has your business suffered from COVID-19? 

Definitely, if you are in travel & hospitality, retail, real estate, advertising, or non-profits, you have already experienced all the difficulties there could be: personnel cut, revenue loss, market volatility — the list could go on and on. What about the marketing metrics impacted by coronavirus? One of the most important metrics to track here is your organic traffic since the decrease in this area is usually the harbinger of the upcoming decrease in leads and an empty sales pipeline.

Coronavirus SEO impact – organic traffic decline by industry

For some businesses, the coronavirus SEO impact has been pretty severe, as the loss of organic (free) traffic during crisis times means  close to no business for them. Let’s have a quick look at the most impacted industries within the last 3 months.

  • Advertising
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Ecommerce
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Insurance 
  • Manufacturing
  • Non-profits
  • Real estate
  • Retail
  • Software
  • Technology
  • Telecom
  • Transportation
  • Travel

This means that if your company is in one of these industries, you have most probably had a first-hand experience of the coronavirus SEO impact and have seen your organic traffic numbers go down by a lot. So, is there anything you can do about this or should you just wait it out? 
Our advice would be to start working on the traffic recovering strategy immediately. You could either generate content for those users that are planning their future activities or explore related topics. For example, travel sites could still generate demand by sharing content for those planning their trips for the next year (post-coronavirus), or dive into related content trying to answer the questions people ask about travels & coronavirus – like, is it safe flying during the coronavirus pandemic? Sharing educational content about foreign cultures and traditions as well as scheduling virtual tours is also a good option.

Coronavirus SEO impact – organic traffic growth by industry

But it’s not all of the industries that suffered a loss. For some, the coronavirus related traffic changes brought an immediate advantage. Here are the industries that benefited the most:

  • Finance
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Media

If you’re among those lucky ones, though — don’t rest on your laurels. Even though we’ll still feel the effect of the coronavirus SEO impact for a couple of months at least, now is your best chance to capitalize on an unexpected traffic spike and turn it into a long-term traffic growth trend for your company. How can you do this? Find a couple of ideas below.

Overcoming the Coronavirus SEO Impact: a Case Study

I’ll share a story of one of Marketechy’s clients who we have been working with long before the coronavirus SEO impact became a thing.

Pre coronavirus marketing strategy

So, first of all, a little bit of back-story. A client of ours is a relatively young SaaS product, a direct mail automation software that enables businesses to sync their online and offline marketing activities. We started working with this company inin July 2019, and our core project is focused on SEO & content  to generate traffic & demand for this direct mail automation product.

In order to build a long-term digital marketing strategy, we analyzed the major market players, conducted  competitors’ research, explored the niche, and built a keywords list to target. Based on all of that, we have developed a content strategy aimed to bring more traffic & leads to the customer’s website. And here is how it all looked like for us:

Organic traffic results before coronavirus SEO impact

On the graph above you can see a snapshot from Google’s Search Console, showing how the search traffic and search results impressions grew from July 2019 till the end of January 2020. As you can see, everything was going pretty well: our SEO & content strategy started showing results, and by 2020 we have doubled the website’s organic traffic. 

And yes, we have noticed this drop too

However, there is nothing to worry about here. This happened back in December, and it signifies a typical seasonal traffic decline for most of the businesses around Christmas time. Of course, if you are selling Christmas trees, such a drop must be a bad sign for you.

Coronavirus marketing & SEO impact

As 2020 started and our traffic doubled from the beginning of the project, we had a very clear understanding of our further steps in regard to the content and SEO strategy. Everything was going well up until the point, where it wasn’t. 

Then March came, and COVID-19 stroke Europe and the US. Along with lots of businesses, we were awaiting this moment, but nobody really knew what was going to happen. So here, how it looked for our client.

Coronavirus SEO Impact - Snapshot from Google Search Console

At Marketechy, we knew very well that businesses usually fall into two categories: those that cut their marketing expenses immediately as crisis strikes, and those that understand that marketing is the only thing they shouldn’t cut as it is going to generate business for them even during such turbulent times. However, we couldn’t predict how our client’s customers would react to this whole coronavirus situation. 

A positive thing about this whole situation was that Google still kept showing us in their search results:

The purple line of the graph above shows the number of website’s impressions on Google’s search results pages. In March, this metric stopped growing for our client, but it didn’t drop completely — and this was a good sign. The traffic drop lasted for around two weeks, and we started checking our main traffic generating pages to dig into the problem. As we haven’t found any major issues, we decided to wait a bit more and observe how the situation is going to unfold. 

Here is what we saw a week later:

The website’s search traffic started to pick up slowly. Our content and SEO team was working super hard not to lose this momentum. And here is the situation one month later:

The website’s traffic fully recovered and went back to growing. Finally, we could breathe a sigh of relief and continue our work on the next important task – conversion rate optimization. 

Takeaways and Tips

Okay, so I’ve shared our (and now I dare say it out loud) success story about recovering from coronavirus SEO impact. What are the major takeaways and the tips you could apply to your own recovering strategy? 

  1. Track what is happening with the traffic to your website daily. When you notice the drop, don’t freeze and panic, continue with the plan. If the traffic drop continues in 2 weeks — maximize your efforts, add new keywords, add more content, and review your best-performing ones to strengthen them.
  2. Analyze search queries bringing you traffic during the crisis. Study the intent behind those search queries that bring you users.
  3. Come up with more content ideas to satisfy the search intent. 
  4. Work both on traffic optimization & conversion optimization.
  5. Monitor the results & adapt your strategy.

And what about your site’s rankings during coronavirus? Marketechy would gladly look at your organic rankings and provide a brief SEO audit for free. Contact us here.

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