How SEO will Boost Irish Business Recovery during COVID-19.
Last weeks budget here in Ireland is one that will not be forgotten for many decades to come. Tagged as a €17+ Billion ‘Green’ , ‘Pro Business’ budget. Its main aim, is to provide dramatic but necessary supports for the Irish SME & Health Service sectors whilst embracing clean, green energy strategies as a way to pivot and re-build the Irish economy (Post Covid). As SEO has now become the most important marketing channel during the COVID-19, we explore how it will boost Irish Business Recovery.
There has been a major focus in this year's budget on key areas of the Irish economy, especially the digitalisation of Irish SME Commerce. Irish shoppers have been slow in comparison to their European counterparts in accepting online payment gateways as a secure method for purchasing eCommerce products.
These attitudes were reflected in the latest CSO report on Irish household and internet usage, where consumers mainly used the internet in 2019 to buy or rent holiday accommodation and other associated goods and services. Although Fashion and Clothing came in first as the most popular, it still only represented 51% in internet usage from this industry sector, so it would be fair to say that the other 49% still rely on ‘brick and mortar’ stores to complete their purchases. (just on that note, in 2019, 70% of all Irish Online Shopping was completed on foreign eCommerce websites).
2020 figures will look very different. The investment in digitalisation is not just to allow Irish SMEs compete against international eCommerce merchants it’s also to curb the impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The pandemic has boosted the need and usage of online shopping across all sectors of the Irish economy.
So where can SEO help boost Irish Business Recovery?
If we look at the last point in the previous paragraph, it lights the spark to the idea that SEO has such an underlying impact on how eCommerce and digitalisation will help boost business recovery during the COVID-19 restrictions. SEO, being the cornerstone of all search engine activities has never been more important to marketers as over 70 % of all online experiences begin with a search engine. As a result of the pandemic dramatic changes have occurred in what users search for, they need more guidance now, this provides Irish businesses with an opportunity to embrace user curiosity by optimising their content for search engine authority. We’ve pulled together some other reasons why SEO can help Irish businesses boost their recovery rate and leverage the content they use to be thought leaders in their own markets.
The volume of searches on search engines.
Organic search, accounts for nearly 53% of all website traffic, split down further Organic represents 83% vs Paid Search traffic at 17%. ‘Paid Search’ driven by PPC / Google Ads took a dive when the pandemic hit with many companies not getting the return on their ad spend. (R.O.A.S.) Content and search terms were not satisfying searcher intent so as a result paid traffic took a nose dive. There are over 3.5 Billion searches performed a day on Google alone so it’s hard not to think how important this channel is to any brand marketer. Paid Search is really there to support organic, it’s more immediate and targeted, but it operates in a ‘paid ‘ environment so ad exposure can come down to budget spend and size. Although there are the obvious stipulations by Google on Ad Copy and keyword relevancy, PPC is more of a secondary advertising channel. New trends in paid search have shown that most user traffic ignores ‘Top Of Page’ results, resulting in a downward spiral in PPC click-through traffic performance.
Brand’s that are optimised for search will no longer require Branded Google Ad campaigns as to do so creates a costly advertising situation known as ‘keyword cannibalisation’ (where branded product keywords used in paid ads are also producing highly visible organic search positions). SEO allows brands to tell the story more through organic search content, it's more natural and more valued by the end user.
The longevity of SEO outpaces other marketing channels.
Although search engine optimisation is a long term, continual investment, it provides high quality traffic far into the future. Cutting down on advertising costs, warming leads with interesting, relevant information and providing value in an incentivised customer journey, SEO is perfectly aligned to digital experiences. The content that you publish now will also serve you again in years to come. Updating content is a great and convenient way to re-publish and re-circulate historic high performing articles, that will provide more longevity for your brands search visibility. For Irish businesses investing in a new content strategy to align with their SEO tactics will prove invaluable now and in years to come Post-Covid.
SEO provides a clear direction in mapping out the customer journey.
As content planning is essential for SEO, both combined, create a powerful experience for potential customers. Search intent is satisfied by optimised content that has been planned into the customer journey, it grows trust in a brand, deepening relationships. Irish companies can use this period to develop an SEO and content strategy that will provide a clear path for their customers, allowing their brand story to develop. Most leads will absorb at least two to three pieces of content before they make a decision to purchase a product or a service.
Diversifying away from traditional demand generation tactics will also be key for Irish companies to boost their recovery rate. Audio Marketing has become a very useful tool in building brand awareness and authenticity, it’s also become a prominent touch point in the new digital era of customer engagement. When developing touch points like these on a customer journey map, Irish companies should use SEO to trigger these platforms to show in search results, building intuitive and modern options for users to chose from.
E.A.T. can give you the competitive edge.
E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority and Trust) can give Irish businesses the edge they need to bounce back from COVID-19. Google encourages companies to integrate E.A.T. as part of their content strategy. Using a combination of high engaging marketing channels, Irish businesses can further their digital experience allowing them to connect closer with their customers. E.A.T. is all about ‘Brand Experience’ as you yourself can be a Brand representative or ambassador, you also can leverage E.A.T. yourself to better the experience for your customers.
SEO provides a full spectrum of reach.
SEO provides a full reach to market, whether it be local or international. This is a great opportunity for Irish businesses to reach customers who might never had seen them before. Optimising and localising their content publications for both local and international markets, providing insights and new opportunities for them to highlight their industry expertise.
SEO allows you to create differentiated experiences to customers from different geographical regions where no other marketing channel can. Optimised local business listings give Irish businesses the opportunity to keep all their business information up to date with current COVID considerations. Similar for larger international markets where you can develop website content that builds a sense of thought leadership and expertise for foreign prospects to absorb.
In uncertain times SEO can provide a clear plan and synergy across all other marketing channels.
If you’ve traditionally used paid marketing channels as a means of creating awareness and demand for your products or services, then think about how SEO can boost your recovery as well. Most web traffic will search to find products or services like yours on search engines. Why not have synergy across all your marketing channels by using the same relevant keywords and search terms included. You can use, through SEO processes, to find the most relevant search terms to trigger your business website in organic search results. Social Media and other marketing channels provide great insight into your brand story and can be highly effective customer service platforms, but your website is where your users really find out more about you. Give them the information they need to build trust in your brand and drive them closer to converting into a buying customer.
Plan for the future, plan your SEO strategy for a Post-Pandemic World.
With the uncertainty of what the post=pandemic world will look like, SEO is probably the safest bet in terms of deciding on what marketing channels Irish businesses should choose to follow. Search is critical for discovery, but also provides the greatest insights into what users think about your brand and the content you provide. Search queries found through Google Search Console will indicate changes and pivots you will need to make in order to stay relevant and rank high in SERP’s. Don’t forget that Google is constantly evolving, to stay highly visible and relevant takes some effort from you as well,
SEO is not a takeaway service but a long term investment, as we don’t know when the pandemic will end, we do know that it has changed consumer search behaviour for ever. In a post-pandemic world SEO is the most stable marketing tool available for Irish businesses to understand and respond to user discovery.
Bricks 2 Clicks Marketing was established to help Irish Businesses develop a continued, adaptable SEO strategy for the immediate COVID-19 restrictions and also to help them prepare for the ‘new normal’ post pandemic. For more tips on SEO follow us on Instagram @bricks2clicksmarketing or why not reach out to us on email with any other SEO queries at firstname.lastname@example.org