Customer Journey, Search Terms Take New Direction With COVID-19 -- Are Brands Ready?

The world has changed. New search terms such as "contactless delivery" and "business continuity plan" have emerged. There are many more "near me" searches and searches for legal-related content using the terms "legal help,"employment law" and "business protection." Then there is "facemask" and how to make them. The keyword "meditation" is hitting an all-time high.

Despite all the chaos, SEO principles remain the same, according to Jim Yu, CEO at BrightEdge, who makes suggestions on how to better understand brands and their customers. 

“The entire customer journey is changing and we will not go back to the same old" -- but SEO principles remain the same, says Yu, who makes suggestions on how to better understand brands and their customers.

He says digital previously was used mostly for acquiring new customers, but he believes it will now directly impact the entire journey. 

Begin by understanding your customer, Yu says, and know how COVID-19 has affected and changed their behavior. Put yourself in their place. Consumers are searching more for certain products and services. They use video conferencing to stay in touch with loved ones and colleagues when working from home. Some turn to online learning, online grocery shopping, and finding instructions for projects to do at home.



Yu has spent the last few weeks working with customers across a variety of companies, many of whom work at Fortune 100 brands. Many believe that because the crisis has touched nearly all corners of the globe with interruptions to the supply chain and travel restrictions, marketers can no longer rely on traditional marketing methods.

Two things are evident: most everything has shifted online, and organizations and brands are being asked to do more with less. And while Yu’s company BrightEdge focuses on SEO, the company is seeing a huge uptick in demand for information.

Yu believes the relationship between SEO and business strategies will become more tightly intertwined during the next 12 months.

There are several reasons for the changes. For starters, people still need products and services. In addition, organic search reaches the consumer when they are in a state of need, and when there is scarcity people normally turn to search because it’s affordable and efficient and helps protect and build brand equity regardless of the crisis.

There has also been a major increase in the amount of content available online. This is coming from brands responding to COVID-19 and from brands pivoting their approach to offer products, services and communications to support those in need. Marketers also are looking for real-time insights to understand consumer behavior.

Search volume in the last week spanning online learning, working from home and video conferencing averaged about 400% higher than the previous 11 weeks

Interest in Online Learning related topics has surged. The term “online classes” shows the highest volume of search with daily search surging to more than 2,000 per day. The term “remote learning” shows the highest growth rate with the latest week averaging more than 800% higher search volume

Sites are using content with topical relevance to COVID-19 and including multiple variants of target keywords such as “virtual learning,” “online learning,” and “remote learning” to win in organic search.

Interest in video conferencing-related topics continues to surge with “screen sharing” and “video conferencing” gaining the most.

BrightEdge also continues to see a rise in demand for purchases such as over-the-counter painkillers and herbal medication. The company’s health and wellness customers are experiencing a surge in impressions and traffic. People are turning to search engines like Google and Bing to ask medical questions.

People are also turning to SEO to answer their medical questions, so it is vital that their content must be of the highest quality, accuracy, and authority.

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