With COVID-19 continuing to bring uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on online marketing efforts and channel performance. As user search behavior shifts, it’s important to understand its impact on SEO campaigns and what it means for the future.

There are many factors influencing SEO campaigns:

  • Changes in Google’s Algorithm
  • Changes in websites
  • Changes in user behavior

A decrease in organic traffic is usually attested to a decrease in ranking position. A lower organic position naturally leads to fewer users visiting a site. Dropping from positions one to two can see variances in CTR (click-through-rate) as high as 20%. These cases require a careful assessment of what changed and how SEO strategies need to be added. But what happens when the algorithm is stable and rankings remain strong?

Estimations of traffic driven from an organic search can be calculated as below.

  • Click-through-rate – Changing from position changes
  • Search volume – Changing from user behavior

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Is SEO broken if organic traffic is decreasing? No, if rankings for qualified terms remain stable. Recent events have resulted in big trends in what users are searching for. 

Looking at two examples below, early trends lead to users seeing changes in their interest.

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The two examples are cherry-picked cases, but understanding that although organic traffic may be temporarily lower from a shift in user behavior, continuing efforts of an effective SEO campaign is recommended for long term success. 

What metrics should be monitored for SEO during COVID-19?

  • Rankings across core keyword groups
    • Are keyword groups declining, stable, or improving?
  • Queries in Google Search Console
    • Are they changes in branded vs. non-branded traffic?
    • Are they COVID-19 related searches that can be turned into opportunities?
  •  Conversion rates
    • Less traffic might lead to artificial higher conversion rates
    • What changes in user behavior can be identified?

What does Tinuiti’s SEO team expect in the future? View our take on the COVID-19 impact on SEO here

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