SEO Checklist for Creating a Coronavirus Marketing Strategy

By Shea Lynch / April 28, 2020 / Search Engine Optimization

During these unprecedented times, many businesses are struggling with how to effectively communicate with their customers while operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.  

Businesses need to act now to maintain brand awareness.

Without it, businesses risk being forgotten by their audience for not maintaining their messaging and marketing efforts. This is true whether the stay-at-home orders are in place or not.

But social distancing and the pandemic restrictions make it even more difficult — and necessary — at this time.

Utilize this SEO checklist for crisis management to create an action plan for marketing your web presence to overcome this crisis and work towards recovery.

☑ Create a Landing Page

Keeping customers and potential customers up to date with business information is imperative.

To do this, creating a central hub with information about changes to your business hours and services during the coronavirus pandemic is a must.

Building a landing page is a great way to keep customers up to speed, and it’s oftentimes the first place returning customers will look.

If your business is open, update your customers regarding restrictions, business hours, changes to your services, and ways customers can reach out with questions. It would be ideal for the landing page to include links to specific resources as more content is developed.

More importantly, if there is a potential for face-to-face interactions with your customers, establish a plan that will keep your business clean while also protecting the staff and customers. To ease the worries of your consumers, include the plan and how you enforce social distancing on the landing page.

☑ Create an Alert Banner

Design a graphic that alerts customers of changes during the coronavirus pandemic.

This could be directly embedded as a banner or used in a pop-up linking to the landing page you just created.

sample of the City of Redwood’s alert banner linking to coronavirus resources featured on their website.source: redwoodcity.org

Embed the banner on key pages, such as the homepage, contact page, and service pages. This will help reach the most customers as possible.

☑ Ensure Local Listings are Updated

Local listings, such as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, and hundreds more, are high-ranking directory websites that customers and platforms use for important business information.

Consumers are looking for contact information, hours of operation, address, reviews, and more. Some industries offer specific details like take out or delivery only for restaurants.

Ensure these listings are accurate with changes to business hours and utilize Local Posts on Google My Business and announcements on Bing Places to reiterate these changes.

It is important to monitor all business listings on a regular basis. It is less than ideal, but consumers are allowed to suggest changes to the listing. So, if someone assumes the business is closed, they will make that suggestion to Google. If the change is accepted by Google, people might think your business has closed, which is anything other than ideal.

Your social media profiles likely also have business hours that will need to be updated. Be sure to monitor accounts on platforms like Facebook to ensure hours and messaging are consistent, and to keep those lines of communication open with customers and potential customers when it’s needed most right now.

☑ Optimize Content for Zero-Click Searches

Zero-click search results appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and directly answer questions without users having to click to a webpage.

Create an FAQ page with common questions your customers have about your business. Then, optimize the content using FAQPage schema markup and Speakable markup for voice search.

This markup could pull these questions and answers in zero-click search results and voice search and will help customers get the information they need quickly.

screenshot of zero-click search results for hotel’s cancelation policy during coronavirus

☑ Use & Update Event Schema Markup

Additionally, if your business was supposed to host any events, make sure to utilize Event schema markup to let your customers know if an event is canceled directly in the search results.

Conversely, if the business is scheduled to host virtual events, utilizing this markup will increase visibility for the event in your local area.

screenshot of business events during coronavirus

☑ Focus on Soft Conversions

Now more than ever, customers do not want to be directly sold to and are sensitive to companies trying to cash in during the pandemic.

Developing opportunities for soft conversions will help your brand maintain relevancy when traditional call-to-actions aren’t working.

Soft conversions are actions on your website by potential customers that show interest in your product or service, such as newsletter signups and total time spent on the site. They are different than traditional conversions, such as phone calls and contact submissions, but still indicate interest in your product or services.

Create call-to-actions for stay-at-home guides, recipes, newsletter sign-ups, virtual events, and utilize social media to get a pulse on the needs of your customers.

Once the severity of the pandemic has lessened and restrictions are lifted, your business will be top-of-mind for those who are in the market.

To learn more ways to help your business survive the COVID-19 outbreak, let us know. We’re all in this together.