Agencies are challenged to find ways to retain affected clients. They need to understand what’s going on and help their clients stay afloat with new tactics, adapted to the COVID-19 context.
We wanted to get a better idea of how our agencies’ clients are affected by this crisis, so we deep dived into our data on 4000 websites. We got an aggregated view on how the change in our behaviour, as consumers, impacted agencies’ clients’ traffic for both March and April.
Here’s how the latest data looked:
By now, it’s probably even more challenging.
So we decided to act fast and in March we launched a tool for SEO agencies to help them understand the shifts in demand after COVID-19 while supporting their clients with critical business decisions.
Search Trends after COVID-19 uses the last 13 months data from Google Ads’ Keyword Planner.
The data is presented with SEOmonitor’s close variations aggregation system, meaning you get a search volume that represents the sum for all the close variants for the main keyword you’re analyzing.
So, when you find three keywords like "water filter", "filter water" and "filters for water" showing an estimated monthly search volume of 90.5k in the US, you should know that the number represents the combined search volume of all three. We do that in order to eliminate possible traffic doubling and other errors.
Therefore, we’re showing search trends at a keyword level and at a topic level, looking at the last full month of the current year versus the same month of last year (e.g. March 2020 versus March 2019). And we’re calculating it like this, in order to evade regular seasonality and truly reflect market changes after the coronavirus.
Also, we’re constantly updating our data, as soon as Google pushes it, to keep it relevant to the fast changes in demand still happening right now.
We wanted to highlight both the search trends at a keyword level and at a topic level, so SEO teams can look for keywords with similar search intent and present new trends for your clients to pivot and adapt their strategies short-term.
We’re using our Topics tool data for this, that generates semantic fields, in order to show the broader impact a shift in demand has for a niche, category or intent.
Let’s take a look at “essential oils” on Topics. You can see a significant increase in the UK market for keywords such as “aromatherapy essential oils”, “natural oils” or “aroma oil”, but also “oils for skin” or “aromatherapy supplies” which gives you insights into what people are interested in now, as they’re spending most of their time indoors and can inform short-term content marketing strategies. SEO is about the immediate impact now:
SEO agencies can use Trends to highlight significant volume movements and proactively present options to their clients. Right now, it’s about adapting to current demands more than playing the usual “SEO is a marathon” strategy.
As you have to be on top of day to day and month to month trends, you will need to do reforecasting quite often for your clients. These two tools combined can help you with extra keyword research and discovering the important changes in the client’s markets.
Furthermore, as Search Trends surfaces the “exploding” and the “tanked” keywords and topics, with a filtering option on particular verticals also coming soon for a faster experience, you’ll be able to discover more than the intuitive trends, identify relevant content marketing opportunities and even support your clients with data that can help them make critical business decisions.
If you have clients in this situation, especially local businesses, then you can shift the conversation and look for ways to answer new demands.
Let’s say your client is a liquor store or a grocery store that also sells alcoholic beverages. You’ll see that “wine delivery” had quite a spike in the UK market for March 2020 compared to March 2019. Then, if you explore the keywords with similar search intent, you can see that the 252% increase in the YoY search trend can be attributed to such rising interest in: “same day wine delivery”, “wine by post” or “wine gifts”.
Digging into the keywords with the combined tools is easy and gives you different ways to capitalize on how online behaviour is changing, so you can alter the strategy and help your client make the most of it. You can think about focusing on hidden opportunities with keywords that may have lower demand, but higher intent like “online wine store”, “sending wine” or “wine presents”.
You can highlight for your clients the areas in which they can expand in terms of answering online demand: special holidays services and products, online gifts, different types of delivery etc.
So, for the clients that are struggling with low demand, it’s important to be easily found by their customers now and to have FAQ optimized landing pages and other types of support content to be in the conversation, be accessible, capture customer data and so on.
For the ones that can pivot, it’s also important to refocus and adjust strategies to new products and services, new verticals etc. Let’s take travelling equipment as another example: the searches may be down for “trekking shoes” or “buy tents”, but you can shift your short-term strategy and showcase sports equipment like “yoga mats” or “dumbbells”.
You can also find content marketing opportunities like “7 minute workout” or “free yoga online” and see how you can create new conversations there.
With our “exploding” keywords and topics view, you can get new insights into a certain vertical or niche and explore opportunities there. Again, you have to be mindful of business logistics and client capabilities / stocks, but you can get creative with the short-term strategy here.
You’ll be able to identify relevant content marketing opportunities and even support your clients with data that can help them make critical business decisions.