Huge traffic dips, major traffic gains, certain industries aren't quite sure how to respond - is this the new normal or will these spikes level out? The search volume volatility is coupled with the fact that internet traffic is spiking nearly 50%, according to Akamai. Individuals across the globe are home, in front of their computers and mobile devices, and turning toward search engines for news, shopping, information, updates, and data.
Searchers are changing their habits, even with more time spent online. We're seeing increased demand for grocery related searches and productivity tools, whereas the travel and hospitality industries are taking a drastic hit in their search traffic and interest. Brand searches for two major hotel chains are seeing significant drop offs in the past thirty days and a more than 60% drop in search traffic since the same time last year.
Shifting Marketing Dollars
When traffic falls drastically in such a short amount of time and the demand for brand name searches is no longer there. Brands and companies need to stay relevant and in front of their target audience, even in times of uncertainty. This is where these companies can shift marketing dollars to paid remarketing campaigns to target visitors who have already visited their website, invest in strategic paid social and other push marketing efforts to remain top of mind. Additionally, content strategy needs to shift in an effort to capitalize on the change in search volume by targeting keywords that have seen an increased spike in traffic and interest. As illustrated below, "how to travel safe" surged in the same period of time. A change in content strategy to develop appropriate content would still draw searchers to the website and potentially make up for lost search volume around branded keywords.
Capitalizing on Opportunity
With the transition to work from home, businesses around the world are trying to figure out how to stay connected, see their teammates and clients, and use video to replace in person meetings. Individuals and businesses turn to search engines to determine what will be the best piece of software or equipment to implement as the transition continues with a remote workforce.
If we take a look at the major spike in Google Trends data around the search for "video conferencing" just over the past 90 days, the increase in volume is drastic. There is no way that major video conferencing providers were ready for the onslaught of searches and interest in their products and services for the new remote workforce.
That being said, these businesses are quickly trying to capitalize on the increase in interest and demand. Take a look at the number of paid search ads that appear at the top of SERP results for this specific keyword. These businesses were quick to react and shift their marketing dollars from paid search campaigns to try to convert the new surge in searchers into customers.
Missing An Opportunity
Throughout the State of New York, "Are fast food restaurants open today" skyrocketed 3950% according to Google Trends data. Yet, the content that appears on SERP results are news articles that may or may not answer the question. Local restaurants, offering carryout or delivery, and fast food chains are missing an opportunity to drive traffic from their content strategy or paid search advertising answering this question that New Yorkers are asking, which could drive business and traffic.
"How to cut men's own hair" has seen a 5x increase in search traffic with salons and barber shops closed. Salons and barber shops should be looking at relevant keywords right now to develop content that answers these questions. Position your business or brand as a thought leader by providing relevant information to searchers. Most of the major results to answer this question are videos. Your business could create a well optimized YouTube video to answer the question and demonstrate techniques. The YouTube video could lead to a "How to Cut Men's Hair" blog post with those keywords focused on in the meta title, description, H1s and content on the page. If your salon or barber shop offers an eCommerce store, you should link to the equipment and products needed or even create a bundled package of everything someone would need to cut their own hair.
Remain cognizant and aware of what consumers are searching, how you can provide them with the information (or product) they need which will pay dividends as soon as the barber shop or salon is fully operational. These investments now might not provide immediate return on investment financially, but are generating opportunities.
We need to realize that the new normal of individuals going online is likely to stay around for quite some time as we get past the initial influx of coronavirus related content and move into how consumers are changing their marketing approach to capitalize on their buyers being online right now. It's important to do the research and analyze the trends of search volume in specific categories as more people are confined to their homes, not planning vacations, not traveling and might be looking at more local information and insight as they make their buying decisions.
Think like your customers. What is it that they need or would find useful while homebound?
Ed Peabody, Content Specialist
All experienced content marketers have been there -- you spend time doing research, properly cite your sources, write your content, post it for the world to see aaaand...nothing. Crickets. Nobody notices and nobody cares. But why? Don't they know how hard you worked? Don't they appreciate your fun, yet informative, writing style?
It can be downright discouraging to see your articles or posts receive little to no attention, but don't lose hope. This, dear reader, is an opportunity to take a step back, look at the big picture, do some introspection and most importantly, reflect on today's word of the day: relevancy.
Here, we'll go over some common problems that we've seen from content marketing strategies that wind up falling flat.
YOU POST TOO LITTLE, TOO OFTEN
Post frequency matters and can vary based on the industry in which you operate, especially if your content team is small. For example, if you're a singer, comedian, or other entertainer, putting out unique content on your website and social media every other day is probably in your best interest to build a following. However, if you work for a large organization and want to foster engaging conversation or offer a unique perspective, a more long-form, informative and in-depth approach is necessary.
All-too-often we hear organizations say, "we've decided to put out one blog per week", or something along those lines. For most industries, this is inherently a bad idea. The reason? Quality trumps quantity. Especially if your objective is to rank well organically in search engines. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving to find relevant (hey, there's that word again) content that matches specific user intent. Adhering to a rigid, frequent content schedule often sacrifices quality to meet arbitrary deadlines, when in reality, you should be spending more time doing a deep dive into whatever topic you write about. Many organizations believe that they'll lose relevance if they don't upload new content every week. But in the long-run, a weekly hastily-thrown-together, 200-word post that regurgitates widely known information will not help you as much as a monthly, well-researched deep dive with your unique twist.
Dig a little deeper into the topic, brainstorm your points, find out what's already been said and you can even throw in an infographic for some flair (infographics make great social media sharing opportunities, too!). Take your time with content pieces to ensure they are well-researched and fully informative. Otherwise, you'll be churning out bland content with no unique perspective -- regurgitated talking points that your competition has already covered and probably already ranks well in search engines.
YOU POST CONTENT IN THE WRONG PLACES
Most businesses these days have a website and social media accounts on many platforms in order to rank in search engines and engage with current and potential customers. We've all seen how content goes viral and how social media can truly lend a voice to businesses, giving them a boost in exposure. Many people may think that the more social media accounts they have, the more exposure they get. However, you don't need to be on every platform out there.
Is it truly necessary for your insurance company to have a Snapchat account? Are audiences on Instagram actually interested in seeing office pictures of your law firm? There are always exceptions to every rule, so kudos to you if your insurance company's Snapchat is truly groundbreaking and viral, but realistically, you need to sit down and ask yourself these questions:
Spending time planning and posting content to platforms that aren't optimal for your industry is, frankly, a waste of resources. Instead, concentrate on posting original content to both your website and to platforms on which you may thrive -- if you run a bakery, it would be ideal for you to post pictures of your scrumptious creations on Instagram or Snapchat. If you work for a staffing company, posting job notices on LinkedIn and Facebook is your best bet. If you work for an insurance company, creating informative and helpful long-form content pieces on your website might have the biggest impact. You get the idea.
YOU POST IN THE WRONG MEDIUM
It's not just important to think about where you express your message, but also how you express it. This will be largely dependent not only on your industry, but also the message itself. Well-optimized blog posts and articles tend to dominate much of the conversation when it comes to content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). But with the aforementioned search engine algorithm updates that more accurately target user intent, search engines are beginning to feature various forms of content on search engine results pages (SERPs). These days, you're likely to find Google Posts, Twitter feeds, timestamped videos and more when conducting day-to-day searches. So if a written content piece can be better expressed in image or video form, do it! You're more likely to gain traction through an instructional video for "how-to" or DIY content than you are with an article about it.
YOUR CONTENT IS POORLY OPTIMIZED
When we refer to content optimization, keep in mind that we are specifically referring to written content for SEO. We can't tell you the number of times that we've been hired to take on a website optimization project only to find basic, yet crucial, information missing on important web pages (services pages, cornerstone content, etc.). Even when creating web pages in easy-to-use content management systems such as WordPress or Squarespace, it's important to pay attention to the fundamental aspects of technical SEO. This means providing keyword-researched title tags, meta descriptions, headers, etc. All of these elements come together to signal to search engines what the page is about and what type of page it is.
But these elements shouldn't be filled in arbitrarily. By using SEO tools, you can see what users are searching for, how often they search it and how your competition ranks for any particular search query. This can allow you to make more informed decisions when it comes to content creation both in terms of topics to discuss and ways in which you discuss it. For instance, if you find that government agencies dominate the top search results within a given search term, you should probably shy away from writing about that topic if the objective is to rank in the top positions organically with it. Because search engines rank organic results based on authority, your article is more-than-likely not going to outrank an official government entity. Instead, find a different way to insert yourself into the conversation and be sure to bring something new to the table. If your insights are helpful and relevant to the user, your content will naturally become more authoritative, thereby giving you more exposure by ranking for more keywords and appearing higher in SERPs.
At the end of the day, the real lesson is that you need to be creative, original and strategic with the type of content you produce, the voice you give it and the places to which you upload it. By more intimately understanding your audience and what they're searching for, you can find ways in which to enter the conversation at large and, in the end, become more authoritative. But if you don't have the time, energy or experience to tackle all of this alone, RyTech is here to help. Give your brand a facelift and produce meaningful, helpful content to reach new potential customers.
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