The latest Google update seems to have delivered positive results for frequently visited sites during the coronavirus outbreak. Google stated that they have never seen as many searches for a single topic over a sustained period of time as ‘COVID-19’, so it is clear that the pandemic has influenced the latest update.
As with all Google updates, Google reviews the trustworthiness of websites. Those sites, which are most trusted, tend to do well, as they provide accurate and informative results to users. Google is constantly learning and improving on how relevant search results are, and so websites providing the best answer for a query are chosen ahead of the competition.
Marie Haynes, an expert in the SEO industry, summarised the latest update perfectly:
‘While past core updates have seemed to focus heavily on trust, and protecting the safety of searchers, we feel that the main advancement Google made with the May 2020 core update is in understanding what it is the searcher is looking for, and presenting them with helpful results. In other words, Google got better at determining relevance.’1
The way users search has changed during the pandemic. Google has seen an increase in search queries using ‘how to’ searches for recipes and DIY guides, as people look to do things for themselves and overcome boredom at home.
SEO thought leaders and experts have highlighted an increase in visibility for news sites, and websites focusing on health, fitness, nutrition and pets, whereas sites that promote activities such as live events, travel and tourism have seen negative results due to lower search volumes.
Websites we naturally interact with more during lockdown are seeing hugely positive effects, whereas those that do not offer updated information or have failed to adapt how they go about offering their products and services are experiencing a downturn in results.
Blue Frontier is not only a G-Cloud Supplier providing various IT services to the healthcare sector, but we also provide SEO services to healthcare clients. Any Google core update which affects ‘Healthcare' influences some of our own clients.
The volume of health-related searches during the pandemic has understandably spiked, with users searching not only for ‘symptoms’ of COVID-19 and additional information, but also for advice on other medical issues with lockdown limiting people visits to hospitals, doctors and pharmacists. There has been a huge rise in the need for virtual appointments with a GP or therapist.
The pandemic has had a disruptive impact on artificial intelligence. Machine learning models trained on 'normal' human behaviour are now finding that ‘normal’ has changed, and some devices no longer work as they should. Google’s algorithm uses artificial intelligence so it comes as no surprise that they have had to make some updates.
Google’s advice remains the same as before, and the general advice is to continue to produce insightful content and keep your site healthy by adopting the best SEO practices and correctly optimising your website.
However, there are steps you can take that will have a positive impact:
As the May Algorithm demonstrated, user search behaviour has changed. Conduct some research via Google Trends or check out Think With Google for insight and inspiration.
Ways to align with your customer base during the pandemic:
- Brick & mortar shops selling products online.
- Food outlets and pubs offering online ordering for pickup and delivery, even for a traditional Sunday roast!
- A personal trainer might begin virtual training sessions for clients, à la Joe Wickes!
- Artists and bands can look to host a YouTube livestream to teach classes.
Google ads obtain website traffic quickly. Keep customers informed of your latest products and services as they change during the lockdown period, and make use of the ability to optimise your campaigns for the right audience at the right time. Likewise, social media advertising is a powerful way to remain relevant.
Should you need any help with PPC, have a conversation with our Pay Per Click experts about utilising your paid ad spend effectively.
Update your business hours, change your location information, or adjust the types of products or services you offer. It is easy enough to update your Google My Business profile, which will also update your details on Google Maps. Make sure to share details on all of your online channels.
Creating useful and informative content has never been more essential. Find topics with high search value that fit your niche and service offering by conducting some keyword research or using Google Trends.
Perhaps you can give some insight into remote working tips or how to remain productive, or you have some useful advice on how to reopen for business as lockdown is eased. As we have already outlined, aligning with the wants and needs of your customers to keep them engaged is really important. By understanding the needs and desires of your target market, you can cater to them during this time with helpful tips and advice. Your relevance and willingness to adapt will stand you in good stead in terms of sales and reputation.
Blue Frontier offers a full end to end digital service, so whether you need help adjusting your website for improved visibility online, you are looking to boost your brand to remain relevant through carefully considered social media and advertising campaigns, or you need IT support to help your teams adjust to working from home, we have you covered. Just fill out our contact form and we'll be in touch!