Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about constant adaptation to Google’s new algorithm and search updates as well as consumer behaviors and preferred content mediums. With the spread of COVID-19, these SEO adaptations are even more important as states across the U.S re-open retail businesses, restaurants, and other commercial industries that maintain COVID-19 infection control guidelines.
Many service providers, B2C, and B2B companies are able to slowly resume their operations if they can maintain strict COVID-19 guidelines for customer volume, mask requirements, social distancing and other infection control procedures. Building SEO campaigns that reflect your COVID-19 operational changes is crucial to maintain your potential revenue and digital visibility. Patients need to find information and resources to determine if visiting your brick-and-mortar stores are safe or if you offer goods and services through systems that are safe from coronavirus.
Companies that need to get back on track with their local SEO efforts can incorporate these simple and effective strategies to get started:
Google My Business updates are crucial during this time
Google has released several Google My Business updates to ensure that businesses can frequently update their customers about new changes that help them provide goods, based on CDC guidelines. A list of the major coronavirus updates on Google My Business are as follows:
- Support links that pin donation and gift card features on your Google My Business profile
- Online check-in and virtual appointment links can be featured on GMB for service providers
- COVID-19 posts and business updates are featured on Google My Business and on Search and Maps views
- Temporary change in hours to reflect new COVID-19 updates
- Temporary closures and announcements to inform customers
Technical Schema Markup updates are helpful for Google Search
Coronavirus updates posted onto your main pages and social media are helpful, but search engines may not take the time to accurately reflect those changes without some technical help. That is where new COVID-19 schema rules and updates come in.
Google previously announced new schema markup rules and Search Console features that help publicize coronavirus announcements related to your business. Through Search Console, users can add temporary schema to reflect new announcements and major changes that your customers need to know about. Here is a list of those changes according to the Google Developers team:
- Announcement of a shelter-in-place directive
- Closure notice (for example, closing a school or public transportation)
- Announcement of government benefits (for example, unemployment support, paid leave, or one-time payments)
- Quarantine guidelines
- Travel restrictions
- Notification of a new drive-through testing center
- Announcement of an event transitioning from offline to online, or cancellation
- Announcement of revised hours and shopping restrictions
- Disease spread statistics and maps
Free Google Ads credits are available until the end of 2020
Google also provided upwards of $800 million in Google Ads credits advertising for small businesses that qualify for COVID-19 relief. Any business that has a Google Adwords account can apply and get free credits, which vary depending on the size of the business.
However, a business has until the end of 2020 (December 31st) to activate the credits, which are part of Google’s major COVID-19 relief efforts for businesses. The credits are useful to help maintain PPC costs and potentially drive ads related to new services, changes, and pivots due to coronavirus.
If you have further questions about addressing COVID-19 challenges related to digital marketing, please contact our team today for a free website audit and SEO consultation.