Search engine optimization (SEO) has been around just about as long as businesses operating in the online arena. It didn’t take long for many companies to see the potential inherent in the worldwide web to build a recognizable brand identity, reach new consumer audiences, and deliver a convenient shopping experience. As soon as a competitive environment arose, optimizing for search traffic became imperative.
Since the ‘90s, SEO has been an important factor in competing in the online arena. However, it has become even more crucial since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. With people forced into isolation, e-commerce has become more than a convenience – it has become a lifeline, offering consumers access to everything from necessities like food and medication, to consumer goods and entertainment, to opportunities to exercise and connect with loved ones.
This, in turn, has intensified competition, but also offered a means for many businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to stay afloat by shifting their focus from bricks to clicks. What role does SEO play and why is it more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19?
Connect with Consumers in Need
Whether you deal in food, merchandise, entertainment, or communications, for example, your customers need your services more than ever before, even if they can only get them via online platforms. Google has worked hard to create a system by which users can trust rankings, insomuch as the highest ranked search results are the most relevant.
SEO is designed to put you at the top of listings for relevant searches, so working to attain the highest possible page rank through exceptional content, relevant keywords, and targeted SEO strategies is a must. When you achieve top placement, customers know they can trust Google’s results, and you’ll have the opportunity to connect with them when they need you most.
With businesses flocking to fill consumer needs via virtual means, the online landscape has become even more competitive, and if you drop the ball on SEO efforts, you’re going to fall behind. Achieving high rankings is a major feat, but you have to work to maintain top placement. With an ongoing SEO strategy that allows the flexibility to scale for unanticipated events, like the COVID-19 crisis, you have the best chance to maintain positioning and remain competitive.
With many states still in the early phases of reopening and consumers wary of returning to real-world shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, it could be awhile before businesses get back to normal. In the meantime, it will be difficult for business owners to continue paying for rent, utilities, and labor with only a fraction of the income they once enjoyed.
Operating in the online arena can make up for some of that shortfall, but only if you find ways to increase online sales enough to cover the spread, so to speak. SEO is essential to growing your online presence, gaining visibility, and increasing targeted traffic and conversions. The expense is also significantly lower than the many costs associated with reopening a real-world business before customers are ready to return.