This is not the time to panic. How often have you heard those words over the past month? The only problem is that they never really seem to give you a reason why you shouldn’t, BUT WE’RE GOING TO—seven of them, in fact. Don’t take this to mean that our Miami SEO company isn’t taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. We are. But we also have a number of clients who are uniquely positioned to protect and maybe even improve their SEO games, and that’s critically important to those business partners as well as our ten-year-old SEO marketing firm.
Now is the Time For Resolve
You have an obligation to your health, your family, your community, and the rule of law, but you also want to protect your business from becoming “collateral damage” to the economic crisis. That means employing every tool at your disposal. And for most businesses, SEO is the cost-effective marketing strategy that provides the greatest number of opportunities during both prosperous and difficult times.
Don’t Cut Your SEO Budget, Increase It
There isn’t a manager or business owner alive who doesn’t look for ways to cut costs. And not just when there’s an economic downturn, but anytime. Keeping your business trim and nimble is a proven way for you to get a leg up on the competition. But when you start seeing the markets soften and unemployment tick up, it’s tempting to freeze all activity that’s not directly related to operations. In fact, during the 2008 economic crisis, marketing expenditures were in decline until they came surging back in 2011 (SEO was a big part of this recovery). This is a “batten down the hatches” approach to business, and while it may seem like a reasonable precaution, there’s a strong case to be made that it is the wrong approach. Marketing is what keeps you in the mind of your existing clients, and puts you on the radar of future ones. It keeps you relevant and involved. Even if you believe that there are just no new leads to be had, which is almost never really the case, you can make gains that will eventually pay huge dividends when you are able to expand. The following seven tips not only make a case for SEO in the face of this global crisis, they tell you how to emerge as a powerhouse in your market.
7 SEO and Digital Marketing Tips in the Face of Crisis
1. Lean into the Crisis – Be a Contrarian
Do you think it’s possible that you’re the only business considering cutting your SEO budget? Absolutely not. Right now, your competitors are contemplating the same cuts and trying to make the same decisions. Most will probably do the obvious thing and cut or eliminate their SEO budgets. Their rankings will hold for a few weeks and then start to slip as Google’s algorithms begin to recognize that there’s nothing new or interesting happening on their site. But every time a site drops in rankings another one moves up. That coveted page-one territory suddenly becomes a little more attainable to companies who stay in the game. In fact, any SERP worth landing will be captured by those companies that remain committed to SEO. And in a tough economy, if there are leads out there, that’s where they’re going to be found.
2. Revisit Your SEO Strategy
There are new opportunities in SEO. Maybe you had steered clear of trying to rank for certain keywords because you saw that everyone who had page-one rankings in your geo-market was a Goliath that you didn’t stand a chance against. The rules have changed. Those page-one rankings are vulnerable now. Especially, if they circled wagons and cut their campaigns. Remember, you don’t have to knock 10 competitors out of the organic search results to get on page one. You only need to take out one. Then you can begin working on that final climb to the top.
But don’t stop there. You might be ranking for something that no longer makes sense for your industry. Look at the keywords that you’ve been focusing on and try to determine whether those are still terms that your target audience will be looking for. If not, then that’s a place where you can make some room in your budget and dedicate those freed up funds to go after something of greater value during these leaner times.
3. Improve the Credibility of Your Message
“The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.” – Thomas Jefferson
When people are uncertain and nervous, they seek the truth. If you’ve already been engaged in search engine optimization, you’re aware of the value of factual, reliable information. Google has a way of sorting out sites with superfluous, inaccurate information, so if you’ve been at all successful, it’s because your content delivered a message of value. It’s time to double down on that.
For instance, if you own a family law firm, clients and potential clients may be concerned about how the current health and economic crises may affect things like divorce, child custody, support, et cetera. If you’re a dentist, on the other hand, patients seeking dental care may gravitate to your site if you explain the precautions you take to minimize the risk of infection. These aren’t gimmicks. People resent gimmicks, particularly during times like these. It’s useful, well-documented information, supported by highly credible sources that people visiting your page can rely on. You’re providing a public service for your clients and webpage visitors.
4. Audit the Pages on Your Site
Everyone knows that old, outdated information is a detriment to an SEO campaign, but how often do you read through your dozens of pages of content to make sure that the information is still current? How often do you click on the authoritative links embedded within that content to make sure they’re still working. Here’s a little checklist that you or one of your valued employees can complete for your website. If you find that you even need to change one thing on your site, it will have been well worth the investment of time:
- Read Through All Content – Don’t skim, actually read. Is the information still accurate? If you have a lawyer website, for instance, some of the laws that you discussed may have chanced. Is a current event you featured on a page something that people still remember? Did your office location change cities and you forget to update your geo-indicators? Also, watch the videos on your page for the same reason. Make sure they still work and are reflective of what you want on your page.
- Click on Every Link – As you’re reading through your pages, open the links. You don’t have to stop each time. Just hover your cursor over the blue text (or whatever color you’ve chosen), right-click it, and open the page in a new tab. When you’re done reading that page, make sure that the pages you’ve linked to, whether internal or external, are still functioning. If they’re not, remove the link, or better, replace them with a link that does work.
- Review All Contact Info, Buttons, and Forms – The only thing worse than finding out that the contact information that potential leads have been trying to use to get ahold of you is inaccurate or that your contact buttons and forms aren’t working is not finding out. This is a good time to make sure that one of your company’s biggest money-making tools, your website, is firing on all cylinders.
- Check The Navigability of Your Site – At On the Map Marketing, we always keep site navigation in mind when we are adding new content. It’s an important factor for both SEO and UX (User Experience). But if you aren’t working with an SEO marketing firm regularly, you definitely want to ensure that you didn’t lose navigability when you or your employee was adding pages.
5. Use Your Digital Marketing Campaign to Strengthen Client Relations
This is a time when loyalty is built. There may be ways that you can alleviate the financial burden for your individual clients (B2C) and client businesses (B2B). You may, for example, be able to help your clients through discounts, debt forgiveness, favorable credit terms, et cetera. But if they don’t know that these options are available to them, they may opt to cancel your services without hearing about the great things that you’re able to do for them.
Letting the community know how far you’re willing to go to assist them during difficult times may help your build relationships that will last far into the future. When you’re dealing with the double-threat of a pandemic and an economic downturn, the goal has to be to reduce the number of clients heading toward the exit. Internet marketing can help you achieve that.
6. Provide Guidance to Your Clients
Does this one seem a little meta? After all, that’s what we’re doing with this list. For our Miami SEO marketing firm, our clients’ success is our success. The same goes for your business. If you can demonstrate ways that your product or service is either essential to your clients’ well being or that it can make or save them money, not only will they be grateful for the solid advice, but they’re more likely and able to continue to expand their business relationship with you. If you believe in your product and you know that it benefits your customer, there’s nothing wrong with reminding them of how great it’s been working for them. You can accomplish this via email, blog posts, or even an old-fashioned phone call.
7. Stay Relevant
The fact is, we don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last, but whether it’s a few weeks or a few months, you don’t want to lose the goodwill and name recognition that you’ve worked so diligently to build with your clients or the rankings that you’ve achieved with Google. If you want to stay in the minds of your clients, you need to be proactive during the economic slowdown. That means keeping your message fresh and reminding clients that you’re still in the game. It’s essential that you don’t come across as opportunistic or tone-deaf during a time for crisis, however. Not every blog post, email, or newly published webpage has to be directly involved with bringing in deals. This is a good time to let clients know what you’re doing for your employees, business partners, and the community. By all means, if you’re offering a new benefit that could help your clients, let them know. What you don’t want is for existing and potential clients to think that you’ve shut down.
Remember: Marketing isn’t a Vanity, It’s an Imperative
U.S. businesses are currently spending about $80 billion on SEO per year, and there’s a reason for that. It works. This is a unique time in that small gambles can result in huge gains for your business. This is truly not the time to panic. It’s the time to place your business at the vanguard of the next economic recovery. SEO can help with that.