It’s safe to say that the global events of 2020 probably did not feature in business plans at the turn of the year. Amid the COVID-19 breakout, towns, cities, and entire countries and economies have fallen into lockdown, causing significant amounts of stress and uncertainty.

As the world begins to open back up again, the way businesses operate internally and exactly how they engage with their customers has been altered indefinitely. Just as shops and restaurants have had to adapt to social distancing and personal protection measures, so too have companies needed to massively up their digital games. Online visibility, brand exposure, and engagement have taken on new levels of importance.

It’s a critical, though perhaps unsurprising fact, that internet usage sits at an all-time high. This has shifted the focus of resource and budget allocation far further online for countless businesses. In fact, eMarketer predicts a 20%+ growth in digital advertising for the remainder of 2020 and projecting another 20%+ lift in 2021, even amid ongoing economic uncertainty.And, thought the future may remain uncertain for companies of all kinds and in all sectors, one thing remains clear: search engine optimization has never been more vital for survival and success.

More People are Spending More Time Online

More and more people are obliged to work from home, stay out of public places, or socially distance to mitigate the risk of a further spread of COVID-19. Therefore, companies worldwide have to undergo an accelerated transformation to ensure that their business model can continue to not only cope but fully function and grow. With a growth in web searches comes an amplification in online competition, meaning far more companies are competing for the vaunted “Page One: of Google’s search results. To put volume into perspective, Internet Live Stats shows that Google currently receives over 77,000 searches per second – a 92.5% increase to 2019’s average searches per second! (Internet Live Stats 2019)

Competition is rife; making your brand visible is critical. Companies that stay relevant and on-trend with a strong SEO strategy and level of exposure, while ensuring they are flexible and agile enough to react to whatever change gets thrown at them, position themselves for growth.

Local SEO is Even More Vital

If you are a local business, local SEO should continuously be at the forefront of your mind. For companies offering local services, it’s imperative to ensure that your website and social media accounts appear at the top of search rankings once a user inputs a relative query. Putting local SEO tactics into practice will help guide businesses into a stable position amid volatile times. Tactics may include:

  • Creating a Google My Business account
  • Honing in on local keywords
  • Encouraging customers to leave reviews

Local SEO will help your local business appear for the “open now” and “near me” search phrases. Without considering it as part of your company’s strategy, there is a significant chance that your business will miss out.

Start Now to Enjoy Benefits Later

Author Jim Yu further well states the argument for SEO at this time by saying, “the lasting impact Coronavirus will have on consumer behavior remains to be seen. As the situation changes, SEO remains our most effective method of understanding and responding to our customers’ needs now and in the future.”

Featuring on Page One of Google search, from an SEO perspective, is the ultimate end goal. A study conducted by Advanced Web Ranking states that 67% of all clicks go to search engines’ first five results, while Ahrefs declares that only 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google Top 10 within a year. The path to the top requires resilient patience and determination. Ahrefs also says that it takes (on average) 950 days of SEO efforts before your strategy will land you on Page One. That’s a few years of researching keywords, building links, generating effective content, writing blogs, and optimizing social signals.

Making SEO a Marketing Priority

The global pandemic is proof that no one ever truly knows what is around the corner. However, it’s very apparent that search engine optimization is a necessary investment – not only to remain competitive amid today’s boom in internet searches, but to fortify and build your long-term search engine visibility. Marketers who say, “Let’s do some SEO” as a one-off tactic when launching a new campaign or website miss the point: the metaphorical equivalent of trying to buy flood insurance when the water is already up to your waist.

Lewis Miller

Marketing Specialist, Retina

As marketing strategist and social media expert for award-winning digital communications company Retina, Lewis is a central part of the content and creative team. Lewis is adept at mapping out the best strategic route for a business to connect with their customers, especially through the business-critical world of social media. His ability to see the story and find opportunities for clients to speak with their target audience and tell their brand story has seen him work on and lead hugely successful campaigns for organizations such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Jumio, and IBM.

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