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The effects of COVID-19 on SEO
The effects of COVID-19 on SEO

Coronavirus Impact on SEO

We first started to hear about COVID-19 in December 2019, and gradually cases were reported from March 2020. As the pandemic started to gradually invade our lives, little did we know that soon every single aspect of life, from business life to social activities and travel plans, would be so deeply affected. While trying to stay at home as much as possible to protect ourselves and our environment, our working patterns also significantly had to change shape for many industries. Sectors suitable for working from home started moving to remote working, while those whose jobs are not suitable continue to go to work whilst maintaining social distance, incorporating other necessary precautions. The pandemic effects continue to be felt, not only in the way of working for employees, but also the way whole sectors now engage with customers, many brands continuing their activities via online sales, some closing their high street stores and outlets at least for now. Alright, so what now?

A few familiar things… A few different things…

For many brands, the fact that physical stores are closing or have closed for an indefinite period of time actually means they must now completely focus on the digital environment. During this period, we will see brands who are already more visible and accessible in organic results, benefiting from their solid SEO work so far. However, COVID-19 has also impacted SEO itself, reshaping this area of marketing in many different areas. Therefore, the world as we know it is, well, at least a little different from the one we knew prior to COVID. In this article, I will share how your SEO strategies will be affected and what you can do during these pandemic times to adapt well to these needs.

First of all, when looking at any sector, its important to understand the unique impact, we can see the impact has been completely different. Tourism, food, cosmetics, textiles… Not all sectors experience the same effects during this period. As challenges and opportunities alike impact each sector to greater or lesser degrees.

Below you can see data on various sectors from Neil Patel:

Traffic Growth and Decline SEO - COVID-19


So what should these sectors do?

In recent days, almost all sectors are trying to publish content using ‘Coronavirus’ or ‘COVID’ because the search volume of words related to coronavirus is very high. However, targeting COVID-19 related keywords and publishing content that is not directly related to your industry on your e-commerce site will not benefit you with potential customers, on the contrary, this could negatively effect the amount of relevant traffic you see.

Before creating any content these days, ask again whether the topic is relevant to the products or services you offer; You should also pay attention to whether the content you publish on an epidemic-related issue is based on ethical or expert opinion.

Important points:

  1. 1. Search for words that directly or indirectly relate to coronavirus. If you are not a news site, you should avoid titles like "What is coronavirus?". Depending on your industry, you can find the appropriate words by searching "coronavirus" or "COVID-19" in keyword analysis tools to examine what other related words could be relevant for you. These will be directly related keywords. You can also use indirect agenda words if they are suitable for your target audience. For example, since working at home has become so widespread in this period, if you are a website that sells furniture or home improvement products, you can create content focusing in on "How to Work at Home?”, or even “Efficient Home-Working“. If you are a brand that sells sports products, you can answer the questions people are looking for with content like, "Exercises to do at Home". In fact, as we know, Google looks at what people are searching, and will then create a reflection in the search bar revealing the topics people are most curious about / most searched for during this period. This can act as a helpful guide in crafting content.

  2. 2. Discovering new categories for your brand. During this period, people are not only looking for information about the epidemic, they also want to hear creative and proved measures to protect themselves against the effects of it. Therefore, creating new pages or categories for products, which specifically address those questions around protective measures is vital. Of course, this must be directly related to your industry. For example, if you have already been selling products such as masks or gloves on your site for a while and you do not have special categories for them, you can give these products more focus by creating categories of their own such as ‘masks and gloves’ instead of giving them under ‘cleaning materials’. You should definitely feed your new categories with specific targeted content using relevant keywords. Here, you shouldn't just think of words about the epidemic. You have to think about every step people take in their lives to ensure they are protected. For example, people wanted to stop buying bread from local stores, instead they started to make their own bread at home, thus creating new opportunities. You should take into account possible trending words like this, by follow people's needs, and then quickly targeting groups of words in accordance with your unique products and services. You can see how the search volume for breadmakers increased in during the early weeks of the virus:
    COVID-19 - Curfew and Breadmakers

  3. 3. In this period, hygiene is not only valid for individuals but for everything in the habitable environment. Therefore, no matter what product you are selling, you can create content highlighting the hygiene aspects of your products and preemptively answer the questions in your users' minds by writing content about how to clean your products. Your visitors may want to see an informative page with cleaning suggestions for your products during this period. For example, if you are a phone brand, that may include topics like "How to clean / keep cleaning your phone?”.

  4. 4. When creating new content, avoid things that intentionally or not presents itself expert opinion or information on health or medical issues, as this may mislead or misinform readers. Try to be ethical and reliable.


COVID-19, has surely affected the whole world, and created a wide wave that affected all sectors. In this process, brands who will be able to survive are those who understand how to engage customers across digital platforms, meaning any investment during this time will leave them in a stronger place as we move into a post-COVID world. For this reason, during this pandemic period, it will not only be those who are ahead in search ranking who make an impact, but also those who can engage peoples real questions and needs, providing the answers people are looking for, who will have done the right thing and therefore will see this reflected in online traffic flow. In some ways it is not so different from the world we know, ethics and genuineness are familiar themes that ring true with customers, but also there are some subtle changes that mean SEO is also a little different from before this time.

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