How Covid-19 impacts search and changed consumer behavior
by Irina Ciutaco
March 26, 2020
According to Retail Dive, a new report from DISQO proves that while 46% of people made purchases in response to Covid-19, 67% said their shopping habits didn’t change fundamentally. 41% of consumers purchased cleaning supplies in the second weekend of March while only 13% really ‘’stocked up.’’
Online businesses that implement changes and empathize with their customers are assuring their future post-pandemic time. Communication with consumers needs to be transparent and not focused on sales.
For example, impressions and traffic for ‘’non-perishable food’’ had an increase when news regarding social distancing and shelter-in-place was announced.
Let’s have a look at the most important changes so far:
First of all, eCommerce websites selling essentials have big spikes in impressions and traffic, as people are searching for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and thermometers. Moreover, new search queries have appeared such as ‘’toilet paper near me’’ and ‘’hand sanitizer near me’’.
Since gyms have closed, impressions and traffic spike for products such as ‘’ring fit’’ and other indoor fitness options have increased. Once people started to work from home, searches such as ‘’office chair’’ and ‘’office desk’’ started to appear in search results.
How to manage better?
As people need to prevent being affected by Coronavirus, the demand for essential products is higher than ever. eCommerce managers should take into consideration this fact and create product pages, based on impressions/traffic data. Crawl these pages for errors. Make them easy to find in the site navigation.
Health and wellness websites and apps are rising
Google has recently promoted content that gives advice and information on products such as medical problems, as for example ‘’Your Money’’ or ‘’Your life’’ issue depending on their quality rater protocol. Due to Covid-19, health and wellness websites have an increase in impressions and traffic. Typical searches include “coronavirus symptoms.” ‘’antiviral herbs’’, ‘’antibacterial essential oils’’ and ‘’antiviral foods’’
A good example of a healthcare app is Xpeer, providing learning for healthcare professionals. Xpeer contains 10 courses specialised for internal medicine and general/family/primary care practitioners. Courses consist of sets of short videos with supporting learning material that take around 60 minutes to complete. Since Covid-19 became a pandemic, Xpeer created an up-to-date video e-learning series on its app available in Android and iOS. Using Xpeer, doctors are being trained, having access to engaging content.
How to manage better?
Expertise and authoritative content are highly sought after now as people are consulting on the Internet their medical questions, there is a responsibility on those who provide the information to ensure that it is accurate and trustworthy.Thirdly, websites that provide recipes seem to have an increase in impressions and clicks. As people are now cooking at home due to social distancing restrictions on eating out.
How to manage better?
By using recipe structured data (providing more information on your recipes such as cooking times, nutritional info and reviews), you will increase the way your recipes come in Google Search Results Pages and essentially rank higher. But this advice can be used in any aspect of search optimisation. Google loves information, the more you give it the higher you will rank.
The fourth industry that is getting significant traffic is traveling. You might assume that travel websites have been affected by Coronavirus restrictions and social distancing; but on the contrary, people are checking for discounted flights due to the cancellations. Queries like “cheap flights” sustain this theory.
On the other hand, hotel and cruise queries are losing traffic due to the fact that some locations such as Disneyland have been closed down.
How to improve:
As Kevin Gibbons, founder and CEO of Re:signal – an SEO and content marketing agency from London, posted on Twitter, travel agencies will likely shift for customer support and reputation management, not acquisition.
eCommerce managers should control query data in order to see where their audiences are, in order to inform PR representatives.
Gaming websites are very popular at the moment
Italy is going through one of the worst periods since the lockdown imposed by the Italian government. This has led to a dependence on the Internet for work, health and education purposes. According to Luigi Gubitosi, Telecom Italia Chief Officer, Telecom Italia mentioned that there was an increase of more than 70% in Internet traffic over their landline network, mostly coming from online gaming like Fortnite.
Publisher websites are in big demand
Searches like ‘’coronavirus map’’ are very popular for people interested in knowing how coronavirus is impacting the stock market.
How to manage better:
While journalists are following the news related to Covid-19, SEO professionals can offer support by checking log files to make sure that AMP pages aren’t serving errors.
Check pages by publish date to ensure that the search engine bots are crawling the new pages straight away.
Last but not least, volatility is impacting all websites
In times of crisis, volatility is something very common. Now is the best time to take into account of your website’s data, which will give you a hint about your audience needs.
In a time when brands need to reduce their campaign spend, organic search is for sure one acquisition channel that doesn’t turn off during budget cuts.
At this moment speaking the language of SEO might be more important than ever as we need to keep up with the difficulties of the Coronavirus crisis as it provides valuable information about what customers search for. If you know what people are searching for, you are at an advantage in being able to provide it to them.
Posted by: Irina Ciutaco