What’s Next for SEO Post-COVID: The Three Trends to Keep in Mind

With the initial crisis of COVID-19 coming to a close, there is still a lot unknown. Now that governments around the world are opening countries back up, tech marketers are starting to ask, "what's next?" How do companies who worked at the speed of light to pivot their entire marketing strategies during COVID-19 slowly inch back into normal operations? Is there even such a thing as “normal operations” going forward?

While the tech industry’s 2020 marketing strategies have evolved, some things remain more important now--more than ever! One key marketing aspect is SEO. Working from home, alone, has shown us how much we rely on Google as part of our daily lives. From researching coronavirus symptoms, searching for bread recipes,  or asking a Google Home to tell a joke, Google has cemented its presence in our lives. For tech marketers, this demonstrates how essential SEO is to maintain a strong online presence.

While we were all working from home, Google was hard at work pushing out changes to its search engine. Earlier this month, Google released its May 2020 core update, which many analysts report as massive. For example, the news media industry got a huge boost, while the entertainment industry saw a substantial organic search decline. This is seemingly akin to how our lives have changed during COVID-19. 

 

via GIPHY

With Google’s recent evolution, what new strategies can tech marketers consider in the SEO realm? I break down three trends below.

 

1. Your Mobile Site Is Important

Tech marketers know that Google crawls sites using its mobile-first indexing method. This means that your SERP rankings relate to your mobile site, not your desktop site. This makes sense: over 50% of internet traffic around the world comes from mobile devices.

However, many tech companies focus on the desktop versions of their websites, making the mobile versions an afterthought. Don't do this! Users should have quick, easy and responsive access to the information they are looking for once on your website regardless of the device they use.

To analyze the strength of your mobile site is, you need to ask yourself these questions:

 

  1. Are images responsive or do they display at the same size as desktop devices?

  2. Is there enough spacing between text and CTAs? On those same lines, is the text large enough to read on mobile devices without zooming in?

  3. Can users easily use your mobile navigation? 

  4. Do users need to go through more steps to accomplish the same task on mobile devices compared to desktop devices?

 

2. Speed Is Key

Mobile devices do not have the same hardware that desktop computers boast. Accordingly,  your mobile site needs to be fast or you risk users bouncing and taking their business elsewhere. A large portion of your website’s mobile speed is attributed to the content and resources that loading on your site's pages. Similar to the questions you pondered in the first section, ask yourself these questions: when considering your website’s mobile speed:

  1. Does the site load quickly on cell phones in a variety of web browsers (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox)?

  2. Are there very large image files that slow your site down? (images should be around 350 kilobytes)

  3. How does your site perform on cellular data versus Wifi?

  4. Is there content from the desktop version of your website (e.g. a hero banner) that does not function well on mobile?

Take the time to see how you can improve the speed of your mobile website. To help, Google offers a great tool that analyzes your mobile site and gives a specific to-do list you can complete, making your site faster. 

 

3. Embrace Your Local Search Presence

Over the past couple of years, localized searches on Google⁠—those using "close by" or "near me"⁠—have grown by over 900%! The importance of local search has become more noticeable during the COVID-19 pandemic. People want to find local solutions to their problems to avoid traveling far or leaving their homes altogether. 

Tech marketers need to improve their local presence on Google to improve organic website traffic. There are a few things marketers can do to help with this. 

First, create (or request ownership of) a Google My Business property. This is a great way to open the door to local search queries. With Google My Business, you can keep your operating hours, contact information, website and essential business information up-to-date. Moreover, the inclusion of your company's address can help show your business as a result when users in your operating area search for a solution your company offers.

Second, consider a Google My Business review strategy for local customers. Ask your biggest fans to leave a review about their experiences with you. This helps to boost your legitimacy in the eyes of Google and potential customers alike. Also, respond back to your reviews! If you receive a raving review, show your appreciation. If a reviewer highlights some problems, respond back with an invitation to make things right. To new users who read the reviews, this shows that you care about your customers.

Third, take advantage of the posting feature Google My Business has. Does your business have a new product or service? Add it as a post so that it appears as part of your Google My Business snippet on SERPs. These posts also include CTA buttons, opening the opportunity for more conversions!

As tech marketers begin a new normal, SEO continues to be important in their marketing strategies. By focusing on both mobile and local search presences, tech companies can remain relevant and see growth thanks to their digital marketing strategies.

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