Words by Kylie Moody, SEO executive, Blueclaw Media Ltd
How is coronavirus going to affect my business? The main question on every business owner’s mind at the minute.
We want to share some tips on how to manage your SEO during the pandemic to serve your current customers accurate information and optimise your site’s performance in preparation for the recovery.
CURRENT SEARCH TRENDS FOR JEWELLERS
Having unfortunately fallen into the non-essential category of businesses, jewellers have inevitably seen a dip in interest during the course of the pandemic so far.
UK Google Trends data for the term ‘jewellers’ over the past 30 days shows a steady decline from mid March onwards.
The trend for ‘jewellery’ over the same period also shows a decline, but with more noticeable peaks at weekends. We do, however, need to consider that, despite the pandemic, Mother’s Day probably contributed to these peaks.
The trend data on the whole illustrates that, inevitably, interest in jewellery is decreasing.
SEO is a free form of marketing that you can partake in to help your site gain visits from what little search traffic is left in the industry.
SEO can also help make improvements to your site overall, which is a great way to prepare for when search traffic picks back up. Because it will, and you need to be in the best position possible for that time.
HOW TO USE SEO NOW
Although we can see that generally interest is decreasing, it is important to remember that there will still be some people looking for jewellery. Maybe because someone they know has a birthday coming up, or just because they have more free time to shop online now that they’re spending more time at home.
While it is obvious that shopping habits have changed dramatically, there are still some quick things you can update on your site to keep business moving during this period.
As people are confined to their homes and aware that deliveries from most places are taking longer than usual, there’s an increasing chance that customers are going to try to shop local.
It is now more important than ever to ensure that your local SEO is up to scratch. Optimising your location-focus landing pages for local keywords will help to improve your visibility for these search queries.
And you’ve no doubt had to change some of your processes due to COVID-19. You should tell your customers about that, as that’s what they are searching to find out.
Some of the changes you could inform your customers about include:
New health and safety measures you have implemented.
The government has enforced certain rules which will have given you no option but to change your processes. The new laws have also probably left some customers feeling a bit nervous about ordering due to risk of infection through contact in the delivery process.
So, tell your customers about these new measures you are taking to adhere to the laws in place. This will likely help to build trust and, although not strictly SEO, could help to keep conversions occurring.
Changes to delivery service
With a backlog of deliveries to ship out on either your end or your couriers, your delivery times are likely to be longer than usual. Or, you may have chosen to suspend all deliveries until the new laws are softened.
Either way, have a banner on your site to ensure customers are aware of your changes to delivery service. This will manage their expectations and minimise the risk of a bad customer experience by unexpectedly not receiving their items within the normal 3-5 days.
Changes to returns policies
As new government laws forbid people to make unnecessary trips, your customers will have trouble getting their orders back to you for refund for the foreseeable future. If you’ve extended your returns period, inform users of this at the checkout to provide reassurance at the point of conversion to help drive them to complete.
Updated details for how and when to get in contact
You’re probably working from home and working from home tends to mean your hours are more flexible. Or you might be working over time to try to keep up with a backlog of orders that was caused when you were making the shift to home working.
Either way, your customers may still need to contact you for extra information about products, issues with their orders or to arrange deliveries. You’re not likely to be available at the same times as before, or even on the same phone line, so make sure your new contact details are up to date on your website.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Google My Business ties in nicely with Local SEO and will help to improve it by providing your customers with accurate information before they land on your site.
You should update your basic information in Google My Business, such as:
- Contact Number
- Hours of Operation
Google is currently allowing you to update your name to reflect changes you have made, such as providing delivery if you didn’t already.
Be aware, however, that Google have announced that they will be temporarily removing some of its features due to new restrictions as a result of Coronavirus. The features to be removed were the Reviews and Q&A sections, presumably so that they can better monitor information being uploaded to make sure it is accurate in these uncertain times.
USE SEO TO PREPARE YOUR WEBSITE FOR RECOVERY
Over a quieter period, you’ll have more time on your hands to focus on your online marketing. Whilst it’s tempting to cut your marketing budget at a time of business decline, it’s probably not advisable, as this is what will bring customers back once the pandemic is over.
If this is a job too big for your team, now’s a great time to get in touch with experts who are able to take this to the next level and ensure your site is up and running, to the best of its ability, when things go back to normal.
Revisit your SEO strategy
Revisiting your SEO strategies and getting solid foundations in place ready for the recovery period will stand you in good stead for when your search volume for the jewellery industry returns.
Although SEO doesn’t have an impact over night, you can definitely start to see improvements using a tracking tool like SEO Monitor, which can give you information about how your rankings and overall visibility have improved.
This is the perfect time to conduct a content audit on your site to see what’s working, what you can update and what just needs removing.
An old site is likely to have blog posts dating back years that are very thin or just contain outdated news, that under normal circumstances, you don’t get the time to do anything about. Decluttering your site and updating content could help to increase relevance, improve visibility and make overall site performance better.
Likewise, a technical audit can be time consuming, confusing and just something you don’t usually get around to doing. Now is the time.
Running a crawler such as Screaming Frog or Sitebulb will give you loads of insight into the behind-the-scenes of your site, indicating anomalies and errors that require updating. Fixing these identified issues will improve your site’s performance ahead of the recovery period; whether it’s loading time, site security or architecture, technical changes can have a massive impact.
All sites need to build links to improve their off-site SEO, but there is the small matter of having enough time to provide relevant content that will earn you them. Now you have time.
Take time out to step back, look at what your competitors have gained links for, look at what the big players in the industry have gained links for, and identify how you can pick up those links too. The Link Intersect tool on ahrefs is perfect for comparing your link profile to your competitors, this can give you ideas for what off-site content works well. Gaining links will improve your site’s authority and help to improve your ranks in the SERPs.
If you need any digital guidance over this uncertain period, have a chat with us to see how we can help you on the road to recovery.
We are a Leeds based Digital Marketing agency, specialising in data-driven SEO, PPC, PR and Content Marketing.