Businesses had high hopes pinned on the year 2020. The momentum gained in 2019 should have propelled them higher. They aimed to move forward on the back of the work done and progress made in 2019. The year 2020 was supposed to fulfill their goals, their mission, vision, and any agenda they set out to achieve in 2020.
However, none of these businesses could have predicted the crisis in COVID-19. COVID-19 weakened and crippled every industry. The crisis continues to impact companies across the world. Even the consumers were not immune to the crisis. Their ability to seamlessly procure commodities was suddenly removed. The pandemic brought various activities to a screeching halt.
The COVID-19 crisis turned the world upside-down. It disrupted the way businesses handled their operations, sales, logistics, and more. Many companies succumbed under the growing strain and collapsed. A few that survived reinvented their processes to suit the new normal.
Many eCommerce companies had a hard time adjusting to the pandemic. The lack of a swift response and immediate measures made them lose a significant amount of sales and customers. The collective loss of SMBs in various industries led to a severe economic downturn. Lots of businesses were nearing bankruptcy and relying on the government to bail them out.
During the economic downturn, all of the businesses that survived were hoping to restart, revive, and reconnect with their consumers. But, of course, due to the crisis' financial impact, they lacked funds to run extensive marketing campaigns. Digital marketing campaigns took a massive hit. These campaigns were deferred, their budgets reduced or withheld till normalcy returns.
Almost every company turned to SEO to elevate their status, reach their target audience, and capture desired revenue. In a limited budget, they could achieve high rewards. SEO became the favorite for many. SEO was the prime marketing tactic deployed by all marketing experts. Paid advertising was no longer seen as a viable choice.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website by optimizing the content to be discovered through a search engine's organic search results. Driving more traffic to your website will help you to convert more visitors into leads. These leads can then be turned into loyal customers. In essence, SEO is a great way to increase revenue and grow your business.
Organic traffic on your website comes from various searches on search engines. The best way to increase organic traffic is through SEO. The more you optimize your website, the more likely it is to appear as a top-ranking page in search engines.
Internet usage skyrocketed during this epidemic. It is at the highest it's ever been. Elderly and those who were repelled by the idea of shopping online turned to the digital medium. Due to this, the search volume crossed into another dimension. Now, all you need to do is use this opportune moment to exploit the increased reliance on search engines in your favor.
Economic Downturn From COVID-19
The pandemic paralyzed every facet and department of the eCommerce business. The sudden lockdown imposed in regions worldwide restricted movement of goods. Manufacturers procuring raw materials from global sources faced a severe shortage.
Globally too, operations had ceased and most sites saw near to zero occupancies of laborers. Due to this, they didn't produce any components that manufacturers in the United States needed to create their SKUs. The ones operating with half the workforce could only create a minimal output.
The indefinite containment measures in many regions meant that goods couldn't reach their destination on time. The inability to transport goods created further voids in the inventory. The retail stores that remained open, faced a severe shortfall of products.
Other retailers, despite having enough stock, witnessed a depleted footfall to their stores. Consumers had stopped rushing to nearby stores to fulfill requirements. The risk of contamination caused them to pick other avenues for acquiring products.
Competitors that alternated between physical and virtual storefronts were able to meet consumer demand with ease. Thus, the impact from the pandemic warranted a virtual presence. Stores could no longer view online selling as optional. Only the ones that adjusted and adopted eCommerce survived.
But the resultant financial impact was so severe, that businesses ended up in a tight spot financially. Despite an eCommerce presence, they could not promote and market themselves to the fullest. The limited budget restrained their marketing abilities. As such, they sought something that would work just as well but be less of a financial burden.
Limited Offline Reach
As soon as the pandemic set in, the first thing that happened was a lockdown. Lockdown limited consumers to their homes. When your target audience is sitting at home, you can't persuade them through billboards, flyers, hoardings, and yard signs. The offline elements that were otherwise very effective in informing and educating your consumer base suddenly seemed futile.
Brands that had spent heavily on offline advertising right before the pandemic blew their efforts and investment down the drain. The containment measures meant no one was going to even glance at their outdoor ads. The epidemic induced economic fallout meant these companies no longer had a robust financial pool to fund future campaigns.
The offline campaign that should have resulted in more orders and sales ended up being a catastrophic failure. The traditional offline marketing avenues didn't make a whole lot of sense. Due to absolutely no presence of civilians on the streets, brands decided to tweak their marketing strategies. Marketers wanted to capture consumer attention and keep investments low.
Even though street traffic is picking up nowadays, brands still are quite unsure. The lockdown measures are still up and running in some places. Whereas in other areas, it is still very inconsistent - there isn't a lockdown today, and then there is. Brands don't want to start another round of offline marketing.
Offline avenues no longer invoke the same level of excitement as they did in the pre-pandemic days. Putting out a poster or distributing leaflets and brochures is not sensible when users are too cautious about touching anything. In essence, companies need something that will be not only economical, but also prove impactful.
Besides being budgeted, any effort must improve the accessibility to consumers. The cost-effective strategies and long term benefits meant SEO was the only tactic to drive qualified traffic to an eCommerce site. The incoming visitors would conduct transactions and increase the revenue and profits.
Why Is eCommerce SEO Important?
Consumers still have an increased reliance on organic searches to acquire information. Their first thought is to immediately "Google it." Consumers always gravitate towards search engines to obtain reviews, ideas, suggestions, and more. Thus, there is a good likelihood that they'd do the same for eCommerce needs as well.
In this scenario, your eCommerce brand cannot overlook SEO for too long. The value you gain from SEO far exceeds the little effort and time that is invested. All that is needed is an effective eCommerce SEO strategy to help Google crawlers identify and understand your eCommerce website's content.
How Is eCommerce SEO Effective?
- Organic search is easy to analyze
- People are still dependent on organic searches for buying products online
- Consumers still require services and products
- eCommerce SEO sets your business up for long-term returns - even after the pandemic
eCommerce SEO can help businesses stay afloat during the economic downturn. The financial crisis looming over your company can be easily circumvented with a dose of SEO. That's right, inject quality SEO and restore your brand's eCommerce performance.
Capabilities of eCommerce SEO
When it comes to SEO, there is no limit to what you can achieve. SEO involves a wide variety of tactics that are utilized in tandem to improve your position on SERP. Once your eCommerce company ranks higher, expect an avalanche of visitors to your website. The stream of visitors will increase the chances of conversions.
The plethora of SEO tactics works collectively to help your brand achieve peak position. Optimizing your website may involve creating content, editing and updating content, modifying HTML, indexing activities, link analysis, image optimization, and more. Typically, digital strategists and content creators work together to optimize the eCommerce website to rank well in a search engine.
For the above purpose, you'll need a host of popular tools. These SEO tools are what most SEO specialists prefer to run their SEO campaign. If you are to start any work, these tools are indispensable. The tools include Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, UberSuggest, Google Search Console, WooRank, Deepcrawl, and many more.
What Makes SEO the Ideal Strategy During the Economic Downfall?
1. Brand Awareness
Consumers research online before purchasing anything. More often, they go through search engines first before opting for other channels. If you outrank your competitors, then it builds more awareness about your company. Increased visibility will lead to higher Click Through Rates (CTR). This will increase the traffic to your site. Now, more consumers recognize your brand. As a result, your branding gets stronger and becomes more fortified in the minds of consumers.
2. Brand Credibility
People trust Google. If your website consistently shows up on every SERPs first page, you instantly gain credibility from users. Regularly ranking higher for various relevant topics in your industry will boost trustworthiness around your brand. It goes to the extent where users see your brand as the number one source for all information.
Ultimately, users seek informative content while conducting an organic search. Thus, becoming a trustworthy brand for every little thing in your domain will lead to a higher preference over your competitors. Improve the expertise, authority, trustworthiness of your content, and improve your Google E-A-T score.
3. Cost Effective
One of the benefits of eCommerce SEO is the ability to derive impactful solutions economically. Compared to PPC and offline marketing, which costs money and drains excessive resources, SEO is cheap and often free as well. The only drawback is the amount of time needed to produce content and stay on top of it.
However, due to the economy in a downfall and operations slow or halted, SMB owners have enough time to set the wheels in motion. In a limited budget, eCommerce owners can create long-lasting improvements around their brand. You no longer have to worry about wasted ad-spends. Instead you'll have enough SEO fueled, relevant, and informative content to rank higher and increase your Click Through Rate (CTR).
4. Local Search
Due to the containment measures, consumers are seeking out nearby businesses. With numerous shutdowns and people unable to venture far, local search optimization became even more vital. Local SEO tactics will help you rank higher for "open now" and "near me" searches. The searches on mobile are another reason why. Some people search for things at the exact time they need them.
Anyone on foot, in proximity to your store, can do a "near me" search to locate your store. It is a huge opportunity to rank higher for a small coffee store or a relatively small book store. Google My Business is quite helpful for this. Add more info about your store- including images, videos, relevant content, and more to show up higher. Keep the profile as detailed as possible. Even add your business to other directories like Yelp, Bloomberg, and other directories.
Furthermore, optimize your website content for local searches and optimize your metadata with location-based content. You can also add local schema to your website's pages to make it easier for search engines to understand who you are and where you're located. You may want to use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to review the schema on your site. Aside from this, set up social media signals and prioritize Google reviews.
SEO assisted, relevant, and educative content will continue to enrich your audience's minds forever. Integrate long-tail keywords and LSI keywords while creating your blog posts and landing pages and see the magic of SEO unfold. Identify high converting keywords and place them in your content. Content is also what you need to address the sanitation concerns that your consumers have about your products during this pandemic.
Send emails, newsletters, social media updates, and utilize other channels to update how your brand is coping during this epidemic. Show concern and express the human side of your brand. Optimize and integrate pandemic related search terms into your content. Create awareness about your brand such as how it deals with the disruption, sustainability, and growth. Tell them about all the protocols and measures you have incorporated.
6. Quality Traffic
Once the brand's credibility increases, expect more of your web pages to show up at the top of the SERP. If the SEO in place is done correctly, expect only the buyer persona that matters to end up on your eCommerce website. Instead of traffic from random and unknown sources that have no desire to become potential clients.
Every time someone conducts a relevant search using a high-volume keyword, your website will emerge at the top. The user will click on the search result and follow through to your eCommerce site. Only your target audience is drawn to your eCommerce website. This is the quality traffic you want to pull towards your website and not the traffic from undesirable segments.
7. High Conversion
Due to only interested consumers landing on your website, the likelihood of conversion is high. The visitors are eager and seeking a product or service from your company. They aren't from a segment that got misdirected to your website. Their retention time on the site will rise since they discovered exactly what they wanted.
Such consumers are satisfied with the content on the site. They are impressed with the overall website and have made up their mind to collaborate with you. Say goodbye to junk leads. Now receive inquiries only from your target audience. Small technical changes in SEO resulted in increased order placements and better conversion rates.
8. New Demographic
When your brand's position on SERP goes up, it is quite likely that people globally can see the change in position. Upon searching, Google suggests one of your webpages as the most reliable source of information. The same trend is witnessed outside your region. If Google's algorithm sees your web page as worthy and meets its criteria, expect your page to show up higher in the other areas.
Your SEO work can start attracting clients from around the world. The familiar territories and demographics will continue to foster orders. With SEO, you'd be able to access new regions that were otherwise alien to your brand. The power of SEO helps you to acquire customers from unfamiliar places.
9. Long-term Benefits
SEO is all about gaining trust from search engines. It is quite possible to do so over some time. Consistent quality content, fueled by accurate SEO, can produce significant gains in the long run. SEO may take a little longer than most other marketing tactics, but there is plenty you can do that is worth your while. While the pandemic is on, it's a good time to invest in SEO for long-term benefits.
A leading SEO brand, Ahrefs, found that 99% of the pages in the first position on Google were older than one year. It goes to show that even Google takes a while to recognize and establish your content as worthwhile. However, if the web page proves to be a hit, then expect it to occupy top position for a very long time.
The easiest way to outclass your competitors is to leave them trailing in search engine pages. Knowing that your target audience will likely do an organic search to locate the desired product, all you need to do is take a higher position than your SERP rivals. You get more clicks, you win more orders and increase your revenue.
When people search for a product or service you offer, you want them to come to your web page and not your rivals. eCommerce SEO optimizations help you win the click against competitors and stay on top. The consistency of your brand at the top will lead to prospects then preferring you directly. They may not even use a search engine. All they will do is bookmark your site and come straight to it.
One facet that all SEO campaigns focus on is Mobile. If your eCommerce website isn't mobile-friendly, expect an expert to initiate a mobile makeover for your eCommerce website. Mobile is nowadays the most significant source of traffic. Consumers are more dependent on their phones than on any other device.
A mobile-friendly or a mobile responsive website ensures that your customers are provided a positive online experience when they access it through mobile devices. During the pandemic, more people are conducting local searches on mobile. If a customer were to access a mobile incompatible web page, they would likely withdraw without conducting a transaction.
Such losses add up and reflect on your spreadsheets at the end of the quarter. To neutralize the problem, make your eCommerce website mobile friendly at the earliest. During the economic crisis, your business can't afford to lose orders.
Consistent quality eCommerce SEO efforts will pay rich dividends in the long run. Your target audience may be a little preoccupied with their businesses and lives in the current phase. However, as soon as the situation returns to normal, expect them to head straight for the search engines to conduct an exhaustive search.
The robust eCommerce SEO strategy in place ensures you minimize the impact of the economic downturn. You even get to go about your daily operations as usual, without the need for physical contact with your clients. SEO continues to work its magic as you focus on other business development ideas.
SEO may take some time- so you might not generate the desired number of traffic and leads immediately. But rest assured, the efforts will pay off in the long run. When you and your clients come into full-force post-lockdown, expect the SEO campaign to bear fruits. Your business will emerge as the key player in your industry.
In 2020, marketing campaigns saw a tectonic shift. The companies that generally relied on Google ads, Facebook ads, and offline ads, decided to look for alternative ways to maintain their digital presence. The severe shortage of funds limited their marketing investments. Most of them went in the direction of cost-effective and economic strategies.
They realized the true worth and value of investing in eCommerce SEO. A strategy based and accurate eCommerce SEO campaign could boost the eCommerce website's traffic, engagement, sales, revenue, and profits. SEO emerged as a savior for budget-constrained SMB's that struggled in the COVID-19 economy.
If you're looking to cut costs to sustain your business, then save the trouble for your SEO campaign. Increase the budget allocation on SEO. SEO keeps your eCommerce business in the minds of existing customers and improves your presence on potential customers' radar. Consistent SEO efforts will keep you relevant online.
Make SEO a priority during this economic crisis. If you want to sustain your business and evolve from here, eCommerce SEO will be crucial. eCommerce SEO is the best solution for companies experiencing financial burdens. Capitalize on the accelerated reliance on search engines by consumers to revive your business. Search is going to become even more critical as we go ahead!