We wanted to put to together an outline of digital priorities to help your business or organization assess the impact that COVID-19 may be having on your digital strategy. This includes some concrete actions you can take now to mitigate the negative impact, and identify new opportunities. If you read the blog post below, we will attempt to assist you in planning for the next four weeks ahead.

Before diving into the details, the summary of the 4-week guidance covers the following topics:  

  1. Week 1 – keyword research: do a fresh round of keyword research to see if search behavior has changed
  2. Week 2 – keyword rankings: check your current keyword rankings to see if you have dropped in any key areas
  3. Week 3 – landing page impact: check your landing pages for any immediate volume or conversion impact
  4. Week 4 – systems audit: audit your website for technical SEO issues, and your Google Ads account for any waste.

Keyword Research Review (WEEK 1)

First, it is important to assess whether you rank for all the keywords that the people you serve are using to find you. It is possible that there are new needs that have arisen with COVID-19. As are result, you may need to add additional keyword tags to your website, or add additional keywords to your Google Ads or Google Grants account, in order to reach the people you serve.  It is also important for most businesses to rapidly shift to a new protocol of posting the maximum amount of client communication on your website and social media accounts. This will help the people who you already serve, but it will also help new customers find you via the additional keywords in the new content.

Keyword Ranking Analysis (WEEK 2) 

Second, we advise that you check which keywords you currently rank for in order to see if any rankings have shifted. In order to find which keywords you rank for, you will need to look in two different places. First, you should look in your Google Search Console account in order to see a comprehensive list of your SEO keyword rankings. We recommend looking at the last 14 days, as well as the last 3 months, in order to see which keywords you rank for “consistently,” as well as how those keywords have changed over the last 14 days. Based on what you find, you should consider adding new keyword targeting to the pages on your website, as well as writing blog posts on new topics for which you don’t yet appear. Below, you can see inside one of our Google Search Console accounts in order to see how the data should look when ranking stays relatively constant over the last three months, and if you scroll further within your own account, you will see the actual keywords themselves, and how much each one has risen or declined:

The second place you will want to look to review your current keyword ranking is within your Google Ads account (if you have ads running). This is a similar process to checking your keyword ranking within Google Search Console, but unlike in Google Search Console, there are multiple factors under your control that may or may not cause keywords to decline. In addition to checking for changes in keyword volume, you should look at your Change Log to see if keyword bids were adjusted up or down, if Campaign budgets changed, and, finally, you should check to the Auction Insights tool to see if competition has increased or decreased. In some cases, we have seen cost-per-click decrease within campaigns, which is likely due to a pullback from some competing advertisers.

Review Your “Change Report” for SEO Landing Pages (WEEK 3)

For at least the next four weeks, we pulled the paywall down on the training lesson on Royku that shows you how to create a landing page “change report,” which you can access here. This lesson will show you how to check whether specific pages on your website have increased or decreased in either total SEO volume, or total conversions from SEO, and it is critical to assessing whether your keyword ranking is actually impacting your website.  Unlike a keyword ranking report which deals in more abstract metrics, this SEO change report will show you the actual impact of SEO traffic to your website, and we recommend running the report several times over the next four weeks.

If Possible, Complete A Full SEO and Google Ads Audit (WEEK 4)

Now is a very important time to make sure that you don’t have any wasted opportunities stemming from your website SEO fundamentals, as well as any wasted budget within your Google Ads accounts, and we recommend auditing your Page Title Tags, Meta Description Tags, 404 Pages, Internal and External Linking, and other factors that drive results for your organization. And on the Google Ads side, we recommend analyzing all aspects of your advertising in order of “expense” — in other words, working your way down from the most expensive ads to the least expensive, the most expensive landing pages to the least expensive, the most expensive keywords to the least expensive, and so on.

These audits can generally be completed within approximately four weeks, and you can of course expedite these actions in order to accomplish them more quickly, but the audits should be “informed” by the keyword research, keyword changes, and SEO landing page changes you may have identified in weeks one through three.  We hope that this is helpful to you as you think about your priorities over this challenging period.

 

Will Marlow is a search engine marketing consultant who loves helping high growth companies optimize and improve their PPC results: and he holds seven certifications: Google AdWords Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping, and Video Certification, Google Analytics Certification, as well as certification as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.

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