Adapting and Reacting to COVID-19
Design & Development | PPC | SEO | Strategy
We’ve been living with the realities of a pandemic for well over a month now and companies are starting to understand the impacts. It’s important to stop, evaluate and plan for how all of this will change the way digital marketing works now and in the future. Justin Kerley and Andrea Yank recently went live on Facebook to discuss how to use recent data and trends to evaluate your search engine marketing. Don’t worry, we’ve summarized their key tips here for you:
Tools & reports for SEO
Identify content opportunities
- Landing Pages Report (Sort by Goal Completions)
This report identifies pages that are still converting for your business. Head over to your Google Analytics account and look under Behavior-> Site Content-> Landing Pages
You might see that overall leads from your website are down but there are likely still pages that are generating demand.
Sorting by goal completions by descending order can also help identify the pages that people entered and who also filled out a form, reached out, or completed another type of conversion.
Consider if these pages, products, or services should have more time spent on them because there’s still a demand. Or perhaps you might notice that based on the demand you’re seeing, you should consider a shift in inventory or other priorities based on this data.
- Landing Pages Report (Sort by Absolute Change)
Taking a look at this information identifies pages that you might want to spend more time on improving the content. Start by comparing a specific time frame to the previous period. For example, going back to mid March when Safer at Home orders were being issued, through yesterday. You can then change the sort type to Absolute Change to show you pages that shifted the most compared to the previous period. Sorting by sessions to tell you which pages are driving more traffic than they did previously.
- Google Search Console
Under the Performance tab in Google Search Console you’ll find performance. Again, pick a date range around the time frame you think business may have slowed down and compare it to the previous period. You can then look for impressions – specifically, changes in impressions.
This report is going to show you if there are keywords that people are searching for at higher volume than they were before.
Once you’ve identified keywords that have more potential, take a look at clicks. If you’re seeing little to no clicks for the keywords, can you identify pages that you can improve content on or do you need to develop brand new content?
Improving User Experience
During this time, you can also benefit from diving into any user experience (UX) issues you may have on your website. If you’re investing time into generating traffic to your website, you want to ensure that customers aren’t having issues once they get there or are leaving before they reach out to you.
- Site Speed
Invest some of this time identifying how long it takes for your page to load or how long it takes for a visitor to see something. Google’s Page Speed Insights is a nice tool to use that also gives you a list of things you can do to improve your issues.
- Mobile Experience
Within the Page Speed Insights there is a mobile friendly tool that is typically pass/fail. It may give you some insights, like if your clickable content is too close which can cause issues for “fat fingers”. Just using your website, specifically on mobile devices and asking yourself “Where am I getting frustrated or having issues?” can shed some light on where others may be getting stuck. While people are spending more time at home, mobile is typically a device that they tend to use. Not to mention, Google is judging your website by mobile-first.
Tools & Reports for PPC
- Google Trends
At the industry level, we often use Google Trends for our clients to look at how search terms have been trending recently whether it’s by the U.S., a certain state, or even a specific market. White the tool doesn’t give you search volume, it does give you percentage of interest over time.
This is also a useful tool to use for comparing two keywords against each other to see if we are seeing more interest in one version of a term vs another, such as “virtual consultation for X service” compared to “online consultation for X service”. Identifying how people are referring to your products or services can help you decide which keyword to bid on for PPC or how to develop content for SEO.
- Auction Insights
Using Auction Insights for our clients, we’ve identified major competitors are dropping off, whether they’re pausing their campaigns or simply lowering their budget. In the long run this has helped some of our clients gain impression share.
- Looking at Metrics
Rather than comparing your data year over year, instead look at conversion rate and click through rate. Yes, overall impressions are probably down because people are searching less. Volume is down, but you may still have a similar percentage of people who are filling out your forms.
- Audit the Health of your Account
Remember to keep an eye on your quality score, high performing keywords, or calls-to-action, and your ad schedules. People are now searching at different times, determining if your audience is searching later in the evening.
Products/services that requires a longer consideration processes, like in the B2B industry, are still trying to adapt and are looking to eCommerce as a solution. Even if you think a small percentage of your products can be offered online, that’s still a way to supplement leads and sales that you’re maybe missing out on.
- Video and Images
Industrial and B2B industries often focus on capabilities and expertise that they bring to the table. Often times our clients say “If we can get them into the shop or if I can get them in to visit us, they can see what we can do that set us apart.” The challenge is trying to capture that when they can’t physically come to you. Take a look at improving images and pictures of your products, equipment, and array of capabilities. You can also use video to talk through your process, like you normally do when customers are in your shop. There’s no need to worry so much about video production quality, just get your message out there. Quality has taken a backseat for the time being, compared to that personal touch.
- Offer a Personal Experience
While it’s not a digital strategy you can still promote this digitally. For example, a garden shop switching to eCommerce for customers to purchase mulch or plants but also offering 30 minutes private appointments to maintain social distancing. Think through how you can still offer the personal experience within the guidelines.
- Direct to Consumer
Many of our clients are B2B but there is still an opportunity to go direct to the consumer. As an example, a bulk ice cream distributor offering pints direct to consumer because people still want ice cream. Can you adjust your business strategy and sales strategy to still meet demand?
- Call-to-Actions (CTA)
CTAs have been changed and they’re adding more to their text like “Practicing social distancing” or “Following CDC guidelines” which you want to address right away.
- Google My Business
Be sure to keep on top of your GMB and update any changes you may have made, whether it’s updating your hours of operations or adding new categories.
- Remarketing Audiences
We’ve seen that remarketing audiences have been serving less. Keep in mind that cookies don’t identify people, they identify devices. Those that were on their devices at work are now working from home on different devices.
Q: What else are you seeing with your other clients?
A: We keep any eye on Google Trends, but no two are exactly alike.
Q: Are there different strategies we should be using, like paid social vs. Google Ads because people are on social more?
A: It really comes down to your business and how quickly you can make that change.
Q: Is what you’re seeing typical?
A: This is always a tough question – it depends. We’ve overall seen a 20-40% decrease in traffic, but that’s not a hard number. This is still the first full month that we’ve been in this and we’re still identifying trends to see what’s “normal”. But this month will help us understand what June and July will look like.
Q: Which keywords are giving me ROI, driving traffic, and conversions? How do I necessary make changes to my keyword strategies?
A: Brand awareness is important but if you’re seeing the funnel dry up maybe it’s time to shift those budgets and saturate the keywords that are driving traffic and conversions. Look at Search Console, Auction Insights and Google Ads tools to look at changes in impressions demands and clicks. Determine if those keywords align with your capacity. Can you meet the demand if you invest heavily or will you need to make a shift in order to meet that demand? Look at those keyword lists and identify those options.
Just like everyone else, the Top Floor team is closely watching the progression of COVID-19. As marketers, it can be difficult to navigate this completely uncharted territory. Drop us an email if you’re in need of help understanding your digital marketing data and trends.