When COVID-19 first hit, we were all surprised and frightened.
When its economic impact began to become clear, many companies went into risk management mode and started reducing costs.
From what I’ve heard, at many companies, slashing PPC budgets were high on the list of cost reductions.
Thankfully for many in digital marketing, SEO wasn’t hit as hard. And sometimes it wasn’t affected at all, or companies started investing even more into SEO.
Companies understand it can take months to reap the rewards of investments into SEO and content marketing.
Investments made now can start sprouting ROI after the world has begun looking like the pre-COVID world we all know. Let’s call it the post-COVID world.
By harnessing time that was freed up because of the current situation, many companies have already started to create awesome content. Both offline and online.
They’ve already started preparing for the post-COVID world. Smart move.
In this article, I’ll walk you through several tactics you can act upon right now. I’ll include some examples to get your creativity flowing.
Content Your Target Audience Needs Right Now
Your company may very well be in survival mode. If that’s the case, you need results ASAP.
And because you can’t spend any money on PPC, you’re focusing on SEO and Content Marketing instead.
To achieve results fast, your best bet is to improve existing content that is sought by potential customers right now and is performing reasonably well already.
1. Keyword Research
Grab your top-performing content pieces and look up what queries they’re already ranking for.
Use whatever data you can get your hands on; from Google Search Console, Google Trends, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, AlsoAsked, Scout Suggest, QuestionDB, and AnswerThePublic (don’t worry, that creepy guy in the background is gone!).
Collect all the relevant queries, check how you’re currently performing, and split the queries into:
- Queries with Page 1 rankings.
- Queries with Page 2 rankings.
- Queries that you rank for below Page 2.
2. Improve Existing Content
For the first-page rankings, you’ll find that even with some minor tweaks to your content, you’ll be able to move up a few spots, or win a featured snippet.
For the second-page rankings, it’s usually a little harder.
You may need to add sections to your existing content, or create a separate page for it hub-and-spokes style.
Targeting queries with very specific content will often win you a featured snippet as well.
Add some helpful FAQs to this content as well. Further down, I’ll explain why.
3. Consolidate Existing Content
Now analyze the queries where you’re ranked below page 2.
Chances are, you’ll find some related or maybe even highly similar content.
Individually, these pages may never perform well, but by consolidating this content into one stronger page, you’re giving them a fighting chance.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
4. Write New Short-Form Content for Long-Tail Queries
Now to incorporate the low-search-volume question-like queries that you found during keyword research.
While these queries’ individual search volumes aren’t that high, their combined search volume and low competition make them worth pursuing.
Incorporate these queries into new, short-form content pieces.
Here’s an example from our own site that addresses one specific query:
5. Implement FAQPage Schema Markup
Now we need to get creative and mark up content with the Schema type FAQPage.
This allows you to significantly extend your snippet with the FAQ box, like this for example:
Google’s quick to pick up on the implementation of the FAQPage Schema markup, so this should garner you results quickly.
Implementing the Schema markup isn’t that hard, but if you want to stay away from writing the JSON-LD code yourself, you can use a tool to generate it.
6. Create Tools for Your Target Audience
Aymen Loukil’s SpecialAnnouncement Schema markup generator does the heavy lifting for you if you want to add the COVID-19 SpecialAnnouncement markup to your site.
7. Create New Content That’s Highly Relevant Right Now
Creating new content that’s highly relevant means it will be picked up and drive traffic to your site immediately.
Here’s an example from the folks over at Tidio who created a massive list of tools that offer special COVID-19 deals.
Content Your Target Audience Will Always Want
Now, if you have done all this and still have time left, here’s an extra move you can make: invest in content that your target audience will still want in a post-COVID world.
This content will not lead to an immediate surge in website visitors and customers, but you typically see consistent growth with this type of content if you maintain it well.
It truly is an investment that will start delivering ROI later on.
Typically, this work produces in these content types:
- Resource pages
Here are a few examples from the digital marketing scene:
- Aira Digital’s link building book: It provides immense amounts of value right off the bat and is given away for free. Will it lead to new customers right now? Probably not. Will people remember its quality and that Aira gave it away, asking nothing? I’m convinced they will.
- Find SEO Tools: A simple site that lets you find SEO tools quickly. It already lists over 200 tools. Instant value provided – and it’s gone viral on SEO twitter.
- This collection of PPC statistics: Very useful if you’re out for statistics to back up your arguments.
- Onely’s Maps showing how many people access the web through mobile devices.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of the extra time that the COVID-19 crisis has left you with.
First focus on low-hanging fruit to achieve quick results, and if you’ve still got time left after that, invest it into content your target audience will always need.
Good luck, and stay strong!
All screenshots taken by author, April 2020