How Covid-19 Is Disrupting SEO
Covid-19 has brought a whirlwind of uncertainty, leaving a wake that encompasses everything from toilet paper sales to the bolstering growth of companies like Zoom. Our “new normal” means wearing masks and watching football games in empty stadiums. Included in the charitable spirit of change the coronavirus pandemic has dished out so generously is your Google experience. That’s right. Even the way you look up “best Chinese food near me” has been affected by Covid-19.
To understand how your Google search results have changed, you first need to know how search engines work. You will also need to understand a couple of key terms like SEO and SERP. This article will aim to explain these key terms, how they affect the way you use search engines like Google, and how they are being affected by the coronavirus. Let’s dig in.
What is SEO?
You may have heard of this term before, or it might be completely foreign to you. Whichever the case may be, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to understand their efforts.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is a large umbrella term that describes the process of how the search results appear after you make a search request in Google (also called a search query). The overhead view of this process is actually quite simple.
First, you enter your query. This will include keywords. Google will then unleash its army of bots to scour the Internet for web pages that it deems to be relevant based on the keywords you entered in your query. Google will then return a list of websites that it believes best matches what you are searching for. These results are ranked from 1 to infinity, by the relevancy of pages.
That’s the simple view from ten thousand feet above. The actual process of SEO is much more in-depth in the trenches. In fact, there is an entire industry built on nothing more than helping businesses optimize their websites for SEO purposes. Doing so can help them rank higher in the search results. This in turn increases their chance of consumers like you landing on their website and (hopefully) making a purchase.
There are several companies that have made a fortune by being the best in the SEO game. The right SEO playbook can literally save businesses tens of thousands in monthly Google ads.
What Is a SERP?
SERP is the abbreviation for Search Engine Results Pages. These populate when Google search yields not only webpages, but a preview of the websites in one of the top result rankings. This often happens when a website contains an SEO optimized list that Google bots deem a good answer for your query. For example, if you type in “How to Convert String into C++” you will find a SERP for Career Karma’s website that explains the process of turning string into the C++ programming language.
Who Uses SEO?
Besides the easy answer of everyone, the main professionals who are using and tracking SEO metrics are digital marketers. These are the professionals who are tasked with building high-powered websites for companies. Hopefully, it’s clear now how SEO affects the average end consumer, and how companies can benefit from a strong SEO strategy. Digital marketers are the ones responsible for developing and executing a strong SEO strategy.
How Covid Has Affected SEO
As you can likely imagine, search engine queries have changed quite a bit since everyone was ordered to quarantine at home. The entire world suddenly had ample time on their hands. This excess of time has led to a skyrocketing amount of search queries, and what users are searching for has also greatly changed.
The increase in search engine queries and new search criteria has led some companies—and even entire industries—to rank higher than they ever have. Companies in the medical supplies and home safety industries have been in higher demand than at any time since the Internet was invented. Non-coincidently, search queries for these topics have also skyrocketed, resulting in increased web traffic for websites in these industries.
Another result is that the keywords in these search queries have become more competitive. This means that as more users search for specific keywords, the increased web traffic for companies featuring these keywords has made it harder for websites to rank higher in search results.
We all interact with SEO every day. Every time we are searching for something on Google, SEO metrics dictate the websites that we see first. Sometimes a SERP will appear in the search results, which allow us to preview that website from the search results. Digital marketers are the ones who execute well-designed SEO strategies that help companies save big on paid banner ads. Lastly, Covid-19 has disrupted how we interact with SEO based on a larger number of search queries, and a changing landscape of the keywords that users are incorporating in their search.