Searching For Answers

Read on to learn how to plan for crises, pivot your messaging in the midst of crisis and watch our recorded webinar and download our free communications plan template.

One look at a typical day’s top Google search terms will tell you all you need to know about where we’re at as a society in this moment: COVID-19, stimulus checks, Fauci, PPE… 

In a time when a pandemic has rocked the globe and there is uncertainty across all facets of life, businesses everywhere are reverting to tried-and-true practices in an attempt to bolster their audiences and maintain some sense of normalcy. While many consumers are searching for hard-to-find essentials or what to watch on Netflix, there are still opportunities for all businesses to stay relevant online in this continuously changing climate. 

According to thinkwithgoogle.com, the top five behaviors in search during the pandemic are: 

  • Assembling critical information  
  • Discovering new connections 
  • Adjusting to changes in their routines 
  • Praising everyday heroes 
  • Taking care of themselves and others 

SOME THINGS REMAIN THE SAME… 

No matter what industry you’re in, this pandemic has likely impacted both your organic and paid search efforts. In a world where people are changing their search practices almost daily, search terms that land your business on a consumer’s results page are more important now than ever before. Marketers should be taking proactive measures to ensure that organic and paid search strategies are staying in line with their organizations’ goals and objectives – just as you always should, but now with extra pandemic-fueled agility.  

…WHILE OTHER THINGS ARE DIFFERENT 

Here are a few interesting things we’ve found and some steps you can take to actively improve your reach and influence during this extraordinary time. 

While terms related closely to “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” have seen huge upticks in traffic, other terms associated with the crisis, or events that have happened as a result of the crisis, have received higher amounts of search volume as well. For example, search behaviors for terms like “Tom Hanks,” “Tiger King” and “how to change your Zoom background” have shifted drastically in the last 30 days. If your company is drawing irrelevant traffic from being included in search results associated with these topics, it’s your job as a marketer to realign your organic and paid keyword mix with search traffic that’s important to your business.  

“it’s your job as a marketer to realign your organic and paid keyword mix with search traffic that’s important to your business.” 

On the other side of this spectrum, marketers can use search terms that combine COVID-19 terms and their brands as a tool to boost business and engagement – but only if it’s done right. If your brand is being pulled in with coronavirus-like search terms, consider creating a COVID-19 page on your site that feeds all information related to your business and the crisis to your customers. Optimize your home page – or main navigation – to lead users to this content. Your website can also be used as an area for promoting any community-related or philanthropic activity that your brand has executed during this time when engagement with your customers, members, employees or others can feel disconnected. Introducing this content can be a new outlet to retain brand loyalty and optimize your digital presence for current search trends.  

With foot traffic being down for a large majority of industries, marketers need to make sure their businesses adjust to an effective online presence and provide accurate information to customers actively reaching out via search. First, make sure your business has an up-to-date Google My Business listing. This means ensuring store hours and relevant information have been adjusted to the new standards created by the COVID-19 crisis and including relevant information that can be communicated to customers through your Google My Business listing, including touchpoints that can make or break a customer’s potential to engage with your brand during and after the coronavirus era.  

Additional efforts to maintain relevancy might include implementing an email campaign based on what you can provide your audience during this time. Take inventory of what you can offer, and then build a campaign that cuts out the fuss in order to directly reach your audience. People are empathetic toward authenticity, so monitor the impacts and write candidly and honestly about the support you need. 

When we cross the finish line of this pandemic, we’ll have all been impacted in different ways. Optimizing for search along the way is one way to protect your brand and remain relevant online during uncertainty elsewhere.  

To learn more about ensuring success in communications during a pandemic, watch our recorded webinar and download our free communications plan template.