SEO & COVID-19: Expect the Unexpected

by | Last updated Mar 19, 2024 | Digital Marketing, SEO

Read Time: 4 min read

Summary: TL;DR: COVID-19 has caused significant shifts in search behavior, leading to fluctuating search rankings for many websites. Despite the crisis, it's crucial to maintain your SEO strategy and adapt to the changing landscape. Focus on building trust with educational content, updating Google My Business, monitoring Google Search Console and Trends, creating new content, and enhancing schema markup. Additionally, prioritize technical aspects like page speed, site structure, broken links, and user experience. By staying proactive and leveraging available data, you can position your website for success once normalcy returns. For SEO support during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Hurrdat for assistance with your marketing strategy.

For many of us, COVID-19 is having a huge effect on daily life. In times of crisis, the world can seem upside-down and, unfortunately, the same can be true for your search rankings.

Search behavior has changed significantly in recent weeks with shelter in place orders issued on the East Coast and West Coast, along with other self-isolation methods taking hold across the country. This has resulted in wildly fluctuating SERPs—and unless you’re an e-commerce website selling essentials or a health and wellness website, the chances are your website traffic is down or, at best, erratic.

YouTube video

How Searches Have Changed During COVID-19

Take a look at these screenshots that highlight just how volatile the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) have been over the last 30 days.

SEMrush Sensor

screenshot of the semresh sensor tool


screenshot of the mozcast seo tool

What Should You Do When a Crisis Strikes?

Well, as strange as it may sound, you should continue following your SEO strategy as much as you can. Obviously, some concessions should be made, as not everything would be appropriate to do in the current climate, and some focus can shift to other ideas. In fact, now’s a great time to ramp up your SEO efforts. One of the main advantages of SEO is its relative cost when compared to other channels; therefore, it can be a cost-effective way of reducing spend while maintaining visibility.

In these uncertain times, customers are looking for trust, so now’s the moment for your brand to increase educational content that can help build trust and brand affinity with potential customers. In turn, this can lead to more conversions further down the road.

However, unless you’re a health organization, research institute, community support, or other medical company, you should not write content about the pandemic, its statistics, its prevention, etc. Leave that information to the professionals who are on the front line and have medical/emergency expertise.

So how can you build trust right now when you’re not a health expert? Use the tools at your disposal to monitor your brand presence online. Here are few ideas to help you stay on top of things…

Update Google My Business

Use your GMB page to let your customers know about key changes to your business operations. Update your business hours, update your description, and inform customers how your operations are being affected. Publish posts with relevant and timely information and, most importantly, make sure your contact information is correct.

Review Google Search Console

You can use Google Search Console to monitor changes in organic traffic to your website. You can quickly spot peaks and troughs in traffic that will help identify the changes in how customers are interacting with your website. Pay closer attention to the search terms that are driving traffic to your website to identify potential content opportunities.

Review Google Trends to monitor the key search terms that are vital for your business. Monitor how things are changing in your industry. Take a look at the growth of the search term “curbside pickup” has grown over the last 30 days as the effects of government instructions have been felt.

screenshot of the google trends tool

Write New Content

Embrace the data you’ve gathered and use it to identify potential content opportunities so that you can focus your efforts on creating that content. As demand shifts, you’ll want to be on top of that change to provide the answers and trust signals your customers are looking for. You may end up creating more content that you originally outlined in your SEO strategy, but this is one of the times it’s good to deviate from that plan.

Add/Update Schema

Now’s the time to evaluate the schema markup (i.e., structured data) that you have on your website, if any. This is one of the easiest ways to inform search engines about what your company offers. From product and event markup to video and speakable schema, there are many ways in which you can take advantage of adding or updating the schema markup on your website.

SEO Is More Than Just Content

If all of the above isn’t enough to keep you busy, then you might consider fine-tuning the technical aspects of your website. For example:

  • Check page speed – This is a key factor for search engine ranking.
  • Check site structure – Can users and crawlers navigate your site effectively and efficiently?
  • Check for broken links – These create a bad user experience and are a negative signal for crawlers.
  • Check your UX – How easy is it for customers to reach their goals/convert?

These are just a few of the checkpoints worth looking into to keep your website at its most indexable.

Even in these unprecedented times, you should remain focused on your SEO efforts, even doubling down if you can. Use the data at hand to find the opportunities that are out there and optimize your site accordingly. By focusing on your SEO now, you will put yourself in the best possible position once things return to something resembling normality.

If your business needs help during this time, Hurrdat is here to provide support with our SEO Marketing services. If you need assistance managing or updating your current SEO strategy, get in touch with our team today!

Ross Allen


Ross Allen is a man of diverse interests, including craft beer, golf, and spending quality time with his wife. However, his true passion lies in search engine optimization (SEO), a field he excels in as the SEO Director at Hurrdat Marketing, where he works with all types of clients from small-to-medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 companies. In this role, Ross leverages his expertise to assess client needs, develop SEO strategies, manage projects, and support his team. He also handles analytics and reporting, delivering comprehensive reports to both clients and internal brands.

Originally from Leicester, England, Ross started working with computers after a gap year, eventually pursuing a full-time education in multimedia computing at De Montfort University. His introduction to SEO at a language travel agency marked the beginning of a fulfilling career.

You May Also Like…