More of your customers are spending more time online during the
In order to help you grow your website traffic at this critical time, I have asked Matt Lee of Lead Generation Experts to write this guest post.
Times of significant upheaval can lead you to panic, retreat to safety, hide until everything has blown over and then assess the damage to your business and your livelihood. On the other hand, drastic changes like these can present huge opportunities to grow your business through new customers and even new product areas.
I think it’s fair to say that the coronavirus is the biggest period of upheaval we have seen in living memory.
While you might be stuck at home, doing your part to stop the spread of the pandemic, so are your customers and they’ll be looking to use their time indoors to plan their next project. And where will they do their research for this project?
On search engines, of course!
In this article, we will look at why search engine marketing is important for your business and go over how you can use it to your advantage during the
6 Reasons You Should Focus on Search Traffic During the Coronavirus Situation
1. Companies who already had a strong SEO presence are not getting hit as hard.
That’s because SEO is different from other traffic sources and marketing channels.
First, organic search traffic is the highest converting traffic source for building material companies.
With SEO, you can target potential customers as they are actively searching for information about your product. You can influence their purchasing decisions making it so your website is displayed at the top of their search results.
By contrast, most other advertising channels are forms of outbound marketing where you have to interrupt what the customer is doing with some form of advertising. These types of campaigns typically result in lower conversion rates, since they don’t target active searchers who have buying intent.
Second, organic search traffic is free and sustainable. That means you have a lower cost and a higher ROI.
Unlike other paid acquisition media channels, organic traffic doesn’t dry up the moment you stop implementing it. Your SEO campaigns can have growing returns for many months.
That means businesses that have had to slow down their marketing to cut costs can still enjoy a steady source of traffic.
Most companies that have focused heavily on driving organic traffic have not seen large declines in the number of people visiting their websites.
Some of them have even seen increases.
On the other hand, many of the companies that mostly focus on paid advertising for their lead generation have had to cut these costs. Because of that, the traffic and leads that they were getting from these media channels have now dried up.
2. There are more people browsing at home than ever before.
The vast majority of people are stuck at home right now. Many of them are using Google to search for products like building materials, even if they don’t intend to buy anything right now.
From around March 11th until March 28th, most building materials companies saw a slight decline in search traffic (around 20%) after many parts of the country implemented mandatory shutdowns. This was a time when people had to make major adjustments to their lives based on new rules and policies.
However, organic traffic levels for many companies have since bounced back to normal levels, with some businesses even seeing higher than usual traffic volumes. In particular, we’ve seen traffic increase for:
- Products for exterior applications
- Residential construction
- Commercial construction
- Antimicrobial building products
- DIY products
With the influx of browsers who may not have buying intent now using search engines, it’s never been more important to focus both your SEO keyword targets and website conversions on the top and middle of your sales funnel.
This means producing content and conversion strategies for people who are at the awareness and research stages, allowing you to acquire them as leads and influence their buying decisions in the future.
3. It’s a good time to invest in Google ad campaigns
Many companies are scaling back their paid search campaigns. That’s good news for you!
Google ads (and other paid search)
Since many businesses have cut back their advertising budgets, the costs per click have fallen dramatically. In some markets, the cost per click
As I mentioned above, search volumes for certain building materials have remained constant and some have even increased. Combine this with less competition and huge cost per click savings and you have a massive opportunity to acquire more customers for a much lower cost.
4. Get ahead of the competition
Let’s be honest, how often do you check the second page of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)? Almost never. Your customers are no different.
You want your website to be at the top of the front page of the SERPs so that when customers are searching for your products, it’s you they call.
SEO will help your business climb higher up the SERPs and increase organic traffic to your website.
But climbing to the top of the SERPs takes time and careful optimization.
SEO is a continual process. It requires you to optimize different on-page & off-page aspects of your website constantly. If you don’t, you will lose ground to your competitors in the SERPs. This could result in thousands of dollars in lost revenue now and in the future.
This continual process delivers compound benefits now and in the future. Pausing your SEO activities now could be a critical mistake that will cost you in the long run. Both your leads and revenue will suffer. But if others slow down their SEO campaigns and you double down, you could see yourself become one of the market leaders once the pandemic ends.
5. YouTube search traffic is cheap and exploding
Before the pandemic, YouTube was the second largest search engine in the world. And with many countries in complete lockdowns, the site’s never been busier. It’s a gold mine right now, and
- Develop keyword-focused video content to help you acquire organic traffic through YouTube’s video search results.
- Take advantage of Youtube ads. They were cheap before the pandemic — now they’re even cheaper.
6. DIY building materials traffic and sales is on the rise
You are currently at home, but so are millions of other people. It’s likely they are going to be there for several more weeks before they can go back to work.
After getting over the initial shock of the significant changes to our way of life, people have started looking at the things they’d like to change in their homes. Many are now planning DIY projects and will need to research which building materials to use.
Now is the perfect time to target people looking to take on DIY projects through SEO and SEM.
10 Actionable Steps You Can Take Now
1. Work on future SEO initiatives
When (not if) the economy bounces back, those who have invested the most in terms of SEO now will get the most benefits when people return to their normal lives.
This could mean huge payoffs in the third and fourth quarters, since much of the work planned for the spring will have to move to later in the year.
Many companies are slashing their marketing spending out of fear of the unknown or because they need to preserve cash. Working on your SEO will put you at an advantage over those companies. Every day you wait is money left on the table.
2. Update your keyword research list
Keyword research is something most companies do once and forget about.
However, keyword trends and search volumes are constantly changing. The goal posts you were aiming at 2 years ago have likely moved.
Now is a good time to update your keyword lists and targets while you have additional free time.
3. Perform a technical SEO audit
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it’s easy for search engines to crawl and index your site properly.
Most companies don’t perform regular technical SEO audits due to time constraints, so now is the perfect time to catch up.
Use tools like sitebulb.com or screamingfrog.com to conduct technical audits to uncover issues with title tags, meta descriptions, broken links, redirects, sitemaps, page speed issues and more.
Once you have your list of issues, work through it like a to do list and check each item off as you go.
4. Find what people are searching for and develop helpful content
Even if interest in your product has temporarily decreased because of the pandemic, you can use SEO to drive more people to your website.
The trick is to perform thorough keyword research to find out what your customers are searching for now, not what they were searching for three months ago. Then, develop helpful content that responds to their new searches and needs.
You can access this data using keyword research tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush and Answer The Public.
5. Focus on the top and middle of the sales funnel
Search engine traffic has remained the same for many companies, but conversion rates have taken a huge hit. This is most likely due to your website focusing on the bottom of your sales funnel strategy instead of the top and middle lead entry points.
Now is the perfect time to develop CTAs or other conversion assets like whitepapers, ebooks, calculators and visualizers tailored to the top and middle parts of the funnel. These assets will help turn casual browsers into leads so they can later be converted into customers.
6. Develop new ways to sell to the growing DIY market
The DIY market is booming, and the current state of things will only make it grow more. Many building material companies are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this emerging market and springboard past their competition, setting themselves up for long-term success.
Consider using keywords such as “how to” and “DIY” in your upcoming blog posts and other SEO-based content, or take it a step further and implement a DIY-focused landing page on your website.
7. Use staff with free time to develop SEO content
Sometimes your employees will see parts of your business that you won’t. They likely interact with customers more frequently than you do and can offer unique insight into the types of problems they are facing.
If your staff has more free time, why not interview them and see what suggestions they can offer? You’ll be surprised at how many ideas your frontline staff will have.
It could also be a good team building exercise during this difficult time and show the team that you are planning for the future.
If you can, why not ask your customers directly, too? What information do they struggle to find? What type of content would help them in their job?
Your sales team will likely have some very unique insights, too.
8. Create advertising campaigns for high demand products
Advertising costs have dropped significantly as businesses have paused their paid marketing campaigns. This presents a fantastic opportunity to acquire new leads and customers with lower acquisition costs.
Research which of your products are currently in demand and focus your paid ads on them.
9. Acquire more backlinks through outreach and guest blogging
Link building is the most time consuming and expensive aspect of SEO. Now that you have more time on your hands, you may be able to pick up some links on the cheap.
This is a great time to consider implementing a guest blogging campaign. Publications are receiving fewer requests for contributions and are looking for cheaper ways to add more content to their website.
To learn more, see SEO tactic 11 in our previous SEO guide.
10. Generate online reviews and testimonials
There is no better advocate for your business than a happy customer.
Research shows 91% of people read online reviews and 84% of customers will trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation from someone they know.
Therefore, getting customers to leave reviews and provide testimonials is incredibly important.
When things are busy, these requests often get forgotten. Now that things are slower, it’s a great time to acquire more reviews and testimonials for your website.
If local SEO is important to you, then focus on getting more reviews to your Google My Business listing as this is known to influence where you will rank in local search results.
Should My SEO Strategy Change?
It’s likely that the tactics you implement in the short term need to be adjusted, but your overall strategy should not vary much.
The coronavirus outbreak has not caused SERPs to change. Any decline in traffic will be because of lower search volumes due to a change in consumer behavior. If you continue with your SEO activities now, you will maintain or improve your rankings and be in a prime position when consumers start spending again.
I want to thank my guest author, Matt of Lead Generation Experts, the best building materials SEO and content person, I know of in building materials for this timely article.