COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way our world operates, at least for now. High level, it appears there’s nothing this pandemic hasn’t impacted even partially…including, your relationship with search engines. While stay-at-home-orders increased internet usage exponentially, your business or industry may have noticed a dramatic decrease in search traffic.

As many states approach the second and even third stages of economic re-entry, we expect to see search skyrocket again, this time, for goods and services offered by small businesses most consumers have anxiously awaited as well as those in demand during the pandemic.

Which highlights the questions: is your business visible and optimized for post-COVID success?

If you’re uncertain, it’s time to take a closer look at SEO and Google Ads.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization: 

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one of the most impactful digital marketing efforts: increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic. Careful enhancements can make your website both search engine and user friendly, driving greater traffic, conversions, and ultimately, sales.

As users resume or continue searching for your services and expertise, SEO ensures your page appears in relevant search results. 

What Do Search Engines Want?

As mentioned, effective SEO strategies don’t just consider search engines, but the users themselves. Given that engines like Google and Bing aim to serve the highest quality and most relevant results, websites should be kept up to date with relevant information about your business.

Why is SEO Important Now?

Arguably, SEO has never been more important. Social media and paid advertising can funnel traffic to your website, however, a great majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. While search for most small businesses sank during the initial lock-down, consider this: COVID has guaranteed that search is only going to be even more ingrained in our lives. In months and even years to come, reliance on search engines can only accelerate. Capitalize on the continued spike and ensure lasting results, by prioritizing SEO now.

·   Local search is crucial with consumers contained within their communities

·   Many consumers (up to 75%) are looking to support small businesses

SEO for Small Businesses as We Recover from COVID-19

If you’re considering investing time and resources into your SEO, where should you start?

  1. Fix Your Technical issues: Speed, broken links, un-optimized pages, and duplicate content can all negatively impact your site’s traffic and ranking.
  2. Create Compelling Content: Search engines and users alike appreciate high-quality, value-rich content. Ensuring your site hosts a variety of well-written, long-form content will work towards keeping users engaged and search engines happy.
  3. Keyword Research: Keywords help search engines identify your content as relevant and solution-providing. To help your business rank in the right search results, your page must contain relevant keywords. Ultimately, you’ll want to identify how your audience searches for the expertise you provide, then ensure those keywords are used appropriately throughout. 
  4. Optimize Your pages: Check on your page Titles, Meta descriptions, and body content. 
  5. Optimize Google My Business: Search will skew towards local intent in the months to come, making this free-to-use Google platform essential. Your SMB’s Google My Business listing boosts local presence, offers free Google advertising, and may edge your business above competitors 

SEO is one of the most powerful digital marketing efforts that can provide lasting, measurable results for your site and business. If you aim to elevate your SEO, consider BrandRep’s award-winning Search Engine Optimization Service. 

As businesses scramble to grab customer attention, SEO works overtime to ensure your business captures consumer traffic. As we explore best practices to optimize your business for post-COVID success, let’s take a closer look at another invaluable tactic: Google Ads. By bundling SEO (organic search) with Google Ads (paid search), you help increase exposure, generate relevant leads, and catapult your brand ahead of competitors. 

Google Ads:

If you’ve ever noticed those advertisements that appear alongside search results, you’re familiar with Google Ads, or pay-per-click advertising. Google Ads is the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that provides businesses with the opportunity to reach interested audiences. 

How Do Google Ads Work?

Every time a search is initiated, paid Google Ads are displayed on the results page, based on relevance and bidding. When a user clicks on the ad, the advertiser  is charged a small fee. 

Why is Google Ads Important Now?

You may be hesitant to invest in Google Ads, or resume advertising efforts but such advertising may sustain your business through COVID and beyond. Consider the following:

·   Your competitors may be temporarily falling out of the Google Ads race, providing your business with an opportunity to launch successful campaigns with less spend. Bidding wars for your desired keywords are at an all-time low.

·   Leveraging Google Ads even during uncertain times can create valuable revenue to help sustain your business through future uncertainty 

Google Ads for Small Businesses as We Recover from COVID-19

Remaining visible in 2020 is critical to your brand’s perceived credibility and reliability – two important factors considered by your target audience. Google Ads campaigns work to do just that: keeping your business top of mind and providing solutions to your consumer concerns. 

Let’s take a closer look at Google Ads best practices, in the age of a pandemic:

·   As your business looks to ramp up and reopen, running ads may be the best way to communicate updates with your customers

·   Consider focusing on engagement and retargeting to capitalize on increased internet usage

·   Check existing campaigns to update any messaging or product offerings that no longer apply

·   Ensure ad copy reflects how your business is responding to the new environment 

·   Consider adding in-market audiences to reach new customers

·   Consider building out custom audiences, applying different messaging strategies based on where they may be in the buying journey 

·   Focus on in-stock products and best-sellers

·   Decrease bids as soon as demand tapers off. As the market continues to fluctuate, you’ll want to avoid unnecessary spend

Much like SEO, Google Ads is a powerful tool when leveraged accordingly. If you’re unsure about your next steps, please don’t hesitate to connect with a BrandRep expert. 

Optimized for Re-Entry 

As consumers continue to rely heavily on search engines for solutions and services, SEO and Google Ads can ensure your business is there to serve them best. Now is the perfect time to take a closer look at your optimization efforts, and consider just how visible, value-rich and user-friendly your online presence is. When done successfully, both SEO and Google Ads can help achieve real goals and lasting results – through COVID and beyond. 

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