COVID-19 and “self-isolating” have the internet in the midst of a massive shift in search behavior that’s impacting search results and traffic. While it is easy to guess that internet search traffic is up, as a website owner you have to be aware of the smaller trends within that increased search and how they could relate to your industry. If you don’t have some of the basic tools in place to help you spot these trends you are missing out on potential ROI.
Some Current Search Trends Include:
- The percentage of Desktop search traffic is now back above the percentage of mobile search traffic for the first time in years. With the increase use of mobile devices, Google and the other search engines adjusted their algorithms to make searching on smaller screens more user friendly. Now the search engines are scrambling to adjust for the return of search queries using the larger laptop and desktop screen sizes.
- Keyword searches have changed, searches for “keywords” like “restaurants” and “dining” are down while searches for keywords like “home delivery” or “shop at home” have increased. Knowing your website’s related keywords and how they are trending is a vital aspect of SEO.
- Search engine traffic patterns have changed. Social media searching is up while retail website searching is down. What time of day people are searching has shifted as well, there is more consistent search “waves” throughout the week rather than “spikes”. This is important if you are using PPC and you have been “targeting” specific times. “Coronavirus” specific searches are up in the mornings and evenings so basically people are checking when they get up and before they go to bed.
- On demand services like home delivery are up, while Lyft is down (but probably only short-term once people can travel it’s better than mass transit). Essential supply retailers are up while other retailers are down while people conserve their finances. Recipe websites are up.
Tools to Help With Internet Insights
Every business website should have Google Analytics installed as a core component to provide an understanding of how your customers are interacting with your website. Google Analytics is not only free, but it is comprehensive.
You can read more about Google Analytics in my article, “Internet Marketing Tip of the Day, Set Up Your Analytics” where I discuss how to set up analytics in more detail.
Keyword Searches and Website SEO
In my article, “Internet Marketing Tip of The Day, Make Sure Your Website is Optimized” I talked about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). When we optimize a website, we find the most relevant keywords related to your website. A woodworker’s website for example, wouldn’t want to simply target the keyword “wood” because it is a keyword a large number of people are searching for because the term is too general and there is too much competition with other website’s using that keyword. Rather than broad keywords, you want to focus on relevant niche keywords for your website like specific types of wood you like to use or woodworking techniques.
While optimizing your website is critical, until the business climate clears up some you may want to budget more conservatively so paying someone to optimize your website might be on hold. There are a couple of tools you can use to check keywords related to your website.
If you have Google Analytics installed you can log in and click “Acquisition” then click “ All Traffic,” followed by “Source/Medium,” once in that screen if you look across the top of the report in small print you will see “Keyword” if you click on that tab it should show you what people are searching for when finding your website.
If you are looking for a free tool to see what your website looks like, I use the Screaming Frog SEO tools as part of my daily routine. The free tool Screaming Frog SEO Spider allows you to see your websites page structure including urls, title tags and meta descriptions that can give you a pretty good idea of what keywords your website is targeting as well as how well it is structured. Of course Veteran business owners, if you made it this far into the article you can always email me and I can take a quick look for you.
Google trends is a free tool that you can use to see what is currently trending in Google search. From trending topics to what people are searching for in your area it is a good tool to use to see how your industry is doing.
Always Be Productive and Proactive
Whether you are making sales or not, it is important to be productive and proactive on the internet. Launching your business website doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road and you can just sit back and watch the traffic roll in. Being successful on the internet means watching for trends that you need to adjust for or can capitalize on. It often depends as much on your marketing and networking skills as it does on your product or service. COVID-19 is requiring business owners to make adjustments now and in the future and by keeping up on the latest internet trends, business owners will be better prepared to meet these new challenges. Like the saying goes, if you are not running your business, it will run you.