Plastic letter blocks spelling SEO, representing the coronavirus impact on SEO.

Coronavirus Impact on SEO

The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has most certainly led to a global upheaval, in almost every facet of our daily lives. Entire businesses, economies, and nations make a shift in priorities in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their citizens; quarantine measures are increasingly common in order to slow down the infection rates. Thus, the newly introduced government measures and movement restrictions have led to business owners migrating their services to the Internet, where possible – or halting them entirely. On the other hand, certain digital industries like SEO have experienced a surge in demand – but is this good in the long run? We’ll explore the coronavirus impact on SEO and unravel the details right here!

Industry Shifts

While Wuhan was the first city in the world to showcase its deserted streets to a global audience; it definitely wouldn’t be the last. Soon enough, other badly hit cities across the world implemented similar heavy quarantine measures – leading to eerily empty urban areas across the globe.

But apart from restricting citizens’ movements, it’s suggested that this pandemic might influence people’s shopping habits. Logically, more and more people who used to shop in retail will shift their purchasing online, as the reluctance to leave their homes builds up over time. Depending on how long this situation lasts, the design and development of online storefronts will become important for retail-dependent chains.

Most Hit Sectors

As international traveling grounds to a halt, we can expect the global tourism industry to suffer terrible losses. In fact, Expedia, one of the biggest giants when it comes to travel fare aggregation, is set to lose a whopping $40 million by the time this crisis is over. While this is a valuable affiliate niche on its own, we should note that such losses will also deal a blow to the local hospitality and restaurant niches all over the world.

Also, considering the careful bias against products shipped from China, that’s currently a global trend; drop shippers and other merchants who depend on Chinese products will sustain heavy losses.

Apart from this, we should also note that while the need for SEO services has actually increased in the current home-focused climate; in the long run, this may prove to be a deficiency. If the quarantine conditions last longer than a few months, and the trend of layoffs continues as businesses struggle to maintain cash flow – global purchasing power will severely decline.

After all, while rankings are the immediate point of SEO; at the end of the day, product and service sales are the goal of all marketing, and thus SEO marketing as well. Digital marketing companies like moversdev.com are aware that this pandemic may deal a blow to the SEO industry in the future; if people buy less for a prolonged period of time – marketing budgets will be smaller as well.

A digital image of a phone and laptop with different graphs.
The SEO sector may yet experience losses due to COVID-19!

New SERP Features

As the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up across all media channels, Google has introduced a number of new panels and graphics that show up when users search for coronavirus keywords. Crucially, these serve to give users some objective information from reliable sources on the disease. Largely, the content therein comes from the World Health Organization, local government sources, and the Center for Disease Control.

Apart from that, Google also displays safety tips for the pandemic, including tutorials on proper handwashing. If you want to track the outbreak quickly, Google also provides a useful “Affected Area” panel. It contains a world map that indicates the geographic spread of the virus in real-time.

 A laptop with the Google homepage.
Google is introducing new SERP features in the wake of the pandemic!

Search Result Changes

If you compare the results from mid-March to mid-January, a couple of interesting developments pop up. For one, WHO and the CDC have shifted to the top organic positions, without fluctuating during the entirety of March. Simultaneously, Healthline, WebMD, and similar health publisher websites have retreated from the top 2 pages, even though they usually have top rankings when health queries are concerned.

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has also lost its first-page position. The specific reason for this is up for debate, but the main culprit may be the crowdsources content displayed on Wikipedia; seeing as the coronavirus situation is developing swiftly, it’s more likely for Wikipedia to have inaccurate content right now.

Lastly, as expected, news sites with high reputations and local government sources have replaced Wikipedia and health publishers in the top positions for the time being.

Insights

So, what can we surmise from this information? Websites like the WHO and CDC, along with other individuals and organizations that can provide reliable and official information will experience a growth in organic visibility; largely as expected.

But apart from this, a few other interesting trends have reared themselves in the past month. For instance, websites which provide home workout classes have had the biggest gains when it comes to organic market share, seeing as even people who usually go to a gym must now work out at home.

Natural wellness websites have also made some gains due to both organic visibility increases and some recent algorithm changes. With people being warier than ever to leave their homes, websites that provide DIY tips, healthy recipes, and homemade replacements for store-bought toiletries are making progress.

In addition, websites that are used for showcasing statistics and data have also experienced surges in search visibility. Sites like Worldometer with live stats have become more popular, especially due to their live displays of birth and death metrics. Obviously, people looking for raw data on the coronavirus have found these to be indispensable.

A tablet on a table showcasing pie charts and graphs.
People are more interested in data and metrics than in the recent past!

At the end of the day, it’s clear that Google is focusing on showcasing content from expert organizations, particularly when it comes to global health issues. With misinformation being potentially lethal in this case, the surge of popularity of truly trustworthy sources is completely understandable.

About the Author:

My name is Jacob Daniels – I am a young and ambitious entrepreneur in the world of digital marketing. What started off as simple copywriting work quickly transformed into advanced work in SEO, PPC, email marketing, and other digital marketing activities. I’ve been working for Movers Development for the past two years, during which I experienced incredible personal and professional growth. As an SEO content manager, I now have plenty of experience and acquired knowledge in terms of marketing companies online. I have dozens of projects, published work, and marketing campaigns in my portfolio so far, and I plan on increasing that number in the future. 

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