Although things are somewhat returning to normal these days, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still crystal clear across nearly all industries. Unfortunately, some sectors – like travel, construction, and even advertising – have been hit quite hard and their organic traffic numbers decreased significantly.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Neil Patel published some research detailing a significant shift in online organic traffic. Many industries are still trying to recover from this slump in sales and traffic, even as businesses are starting to re-open.
I know that most of us San Diego marketers are feeling the pressure these days to help our clients regain the momentum that was lost in terms of sales and organic traffic numbers. Many even question how digital marketing will change as a result of the craziness that has happened in 2020.
Unfortunately, a lot of things are still up in the air as businesses have re-opened – and been required to shut down again due to recent spikes of COVID cases throughout the country.
So, is there anything that you can do in the meantime to improve organic traffic numbers? Certainly! Although it may be difficult to grow conversions for some industries, there is still plenty of opportunity for growth during the pandemic.
Here are four things that you can do to help grow online traffic and reach wider audiences if your numbers have dropped throughout the past year.
1. Give New Social Trends a Try
It should come as no shock that the use of social media is at an all-time high. According to research from Numerator, 64% of people admitted to using social media more since the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no doubt that social media is a major marketing tool. But, you must pay attention to how and why people are using social media right now.
The same study from Numerator found that in addition to staying connected with friends and family, most people used social media for distraction. 53% admitted to going on social networks to get their mind off of the news and 49% were looking for inspiration for things to do.
Now is not necessarily the time to create content solely to convert customers with obvious promotions. Instead, focus on creating content that captures your audience’s attention and gets them familiar with your brand.
Pay attention to the shift in platform usage as well. Video streaming has exploded, so you may want to expand into additional networks like TikTok or YouTube to engage – of you haven’t already.
The San Diego Zoo for instance jumped on a number of popular trends throughout the pandemic. During the time when the zoo was closed to visitors, this outlet allowed people to stay engaged. It also kept the zoo at the forefront of people’s minds, which likely drove in donations and excitement for its re-opening.
During “down time” when traffic numbers and/or conversions are down, it may be a good time to launch a YouTube channel or focus on more interactive content creation. It’s also a great time for a rebrand if you want to launch a new “aesthetic” for your social media presence!
2. Hunt Down New Keyword Opportunities
COVID-19 spurred a lot of trends – including several keyword related ones. Take a look at some of the phrases that exploded in growth at the very beginning of the pandemic:
Who would have thought that phrases like how to cut your own hair, make bread, or find cute sweatpants would be in the top searches on Google?
Re-evaluating your keyword lists should be common practice at this point in the pandemic. There could be ways to incorporate newly relevant keyword searches into your blog content, for instance.
Take some time to think of ways to tie in the current circumstances to your brand, such as:
- Tips for using remote business solutions like Zoom.
- Travel ideas and safety tips.
- Ways to keep kids entertained safely at home.
- Creating at-home classrooms or work offices.
Take this as an opportunity to refine your current targeted keyword list and see if there are some lower ranking phrases you can target. Narrow down your niche content by finding specific search phrases that are relevant – but not highly popular.
Remember, these might not be at the top of the list in terms of search traffic. But if competition is low, it could be worth pursuing.
3. Ramp Up Your External Link Content
The importance of linking did not dip at all throughout the pandemic.
If the organic traffic numbers on your own website have been dwindling or your rankings have slipped, focus on building external links. Inbound links and the linking domain authority make up nearly 28% of local ranking factors for organic search results on Google. By building up your presence on other authoritative sites, you could boost your own site’s ranking while also driving in traffic through those links.
Pitch content ideas to other related blogs in exchange for external links.
Reach out to blogs that reach similar audiences as you and see if they are accepting guest posts. This can also be a great opportunity to give your company or lead marketing writer better credibility and establish thought leadership.
If organic traffic numbers are dwindling – whether it’s in pandemic times or not – going back to basics with link building will always put you in the right direction.
4. Consider Podcasts or Livestreams
Consider expanding your content library even further by trying mediums like podcasts or livestreams. Podcast downloads have spiked by 6% since the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, podcasts on specific topics (like finance and business) have increased by an incredible 78%!
People certainly have a bit more time on their hands. Many are looking for ways to absorb information while they work from home or simply try to get a workout in while the gyms are closed/restricted. This has created a perfect opportunity for marketers to engage with their users in a new way.
It can be really easy to go local with this, too. Take San Diego Magazine’s Happy Half Hour podcast as a great example.
Lots of restauranteurs have been able to keep in touch with their customers by sharing their stories on the podcast. During this time when local restaurants are struggling, sharing their founder’s stories or talking about the incredible food offerings on this podcast can be a unique way to drive in new customers.
Now could be a good time to launch your own if you feel so inclined!
You should also reach out to other podcasts and pitch them an idea for an interesting collaboration or a reason why you or someone on your team should be featured on their show. Podcasters are always looking for ideas for their next episod
The same goes for hosting webinars or even social media livestreams. Since people’s schedules are a bit more flexible while they work from home, they may be more inclined to tune into live conversations.
There is no doubt that this global pandemic will have a lasting impact on the way businesses operate and advertise for years to come. Marketers are truly more important than ever during these trying times – but they must be able to adapt and pounce on new opportunities to stay relevant.
The best way to grow your organic traffic numbers these days is by understanding how to attract customers in the current climate. Now is the perfect time to expand and change – and these are just a few ways that you can do it.
What are some other marketing strategies you have used to grow throughout this crazy year?
Joanna Besley is a Content Marketing Writer for E2M Solutions Inc., whose primary writing focus is on marketing topics and SEO. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the San Diego area hikes, traveling outside of the country, and trying out new vegan restaurants.