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SEO and coronavirus: optimize costs and support business

Yeva Yanchuk
Project manager at Sprava Agency
9 Min read
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Optimization is a word that only the lazy did not use now. But this is not only about SEO, but about areas of life and activity.

The business was the first to optimize its costs. Of the often applicable, but not always popular, areas of optimization:

  • office rooms;
  • expenses for tea, cookies and other office goodies;
  • expenses for unused or underused services, software solutions;
  • state and more.

A separate expense item, which is also subject to optimization in many niches, is funds for advertising and marketing. But is this decision strategically correct?

For a SEO specialist who wants to work and earn money, it would be quite logical to say a categorical “no”. But objectively, each individual situation requires its own solution, since two factors have a strong influence:

  • the niche in which this or that business operates;
  • bans and permits in a specific region that are in place in the fight against covid-19.

There are other important things too:

  • the availability of funds for this very advertising, objectively, and not within the framework of “I am afraid of a crisis and therefore I optimize all expenses”;
  • what prospects does the business have for opening in the near future (based on quarantine rules);
  • the state of the site, its SEO-optimization;
  • brand awareness in narrow and wide circles of the target audience;

Who is having the hardest time right now?

First, I want to talk about those who are the most difficult now. This is tourism, and specifically - hotels and restaurants. These are the services that:

  • are not included in the list of primary expenses of people;
  • are services from the list of increased social activity.

If we now look at the plans and intentions to exit quarantine in different countries, we see a sad picture. Greece has started work, but has already closed its borders due to the re-emergence of the coronavirus. Ukrainians this summer can only fly to Turkey, but there are certain conditions. A number of countries have been opened for road traffic, but it is not known how the situation will change. Under the current conditions, some people will consider the opportunity to relax this season, improve their children and loved ones without leaving the country.

While the rules of social distance and personal protective equipment will remain in our everyday life for a long time. And this means that hotels need to think about how to ensure the comfort and safety of tourists during their vacation, and not just about the cleanliness of the room and parking on site.

What should you pay special attention to? On the new conditions for the use of the common pool and sun loungers, catering in the common dining room according to the buffet system. Review the rules for cleaning rooms, the building and the territory, as well as laundry and other issues related to the organization of the hotel.

But the plus is that the main tourist will stay in his country and leave his money right there. In any case, you need:

  • optimize the cost of contextual advertising (stop completely or advertise, for example, only cottages). If you do not understand how best to do this, we will advise and help.
  • stay in touch with potential guests. This means communicating through emails, social networks and the website. If the hotel does not have pages in social networks, it's time to get one. This is your opportunity not to let yourself be forgotten, to be heard, since then it will be even more difficult to start from scratch.

Especially for our clients on the SPRAVA blog, we published two articles about the crisis in the tourism niche:

Message to hoteliers: where the guest goes is also up to you
How does a hotel act during a crisis? Survival Guide

But what about SEO?

On the one hand, these are expenses that do not bring real money now.

On the other hand, these are expenses that will help, when leaving quarantine, to win back a larger part of the market than they owned before. After all, SEO is work for the future, for the future. This is an investment service for those who have plans for more than one year of business development and operation.

My advice: if possible, do not stop working on SEO. If it’s hard, you can always negotiate with the contractor, because agencies are also interested in your growth. And only for those who have a really hard time with everything, put the optimization on the stop.

Let's talk about those who are not easy, but they do not give up

In connection with the easing of quarantine in Ukraine, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, including those that do not have summer grounds, have resumed their work since June 5. However, these rules may change. If covid spreads especially quickly in a certain area or city, then such an area may enter the “red zone” with its own strict rules. Our advice remains unchanged. Restaurateurs need: 

  • stay in touch with the audience (by all available means), 
  • work for delivery; 
  • work for takeaway; 
  • deliver ground coffee (for coffee houses, for example, not only coffee);
  • work with the delivery of semi-finished products. 

In this case, you should not completely stop working on Internet marketing - it is important to rethink which channels to use and how, for maximum efficiency.

"Quarantine" niches

  • Water delivery 
  • Delivery of products 
  • Delivery Services 

These are examples of businesses whose sales peaked during quarantine. But what will happen after? For quarantine, the market will be oversaturated with supply, which means that the struggle “after” will become more competitive and difficult. And therefore, SEO should only work here for those who are in this market seriously and for a long time. For those who simply reacted here and now to demand, there is no point.

What niches were not affected by the quarantine?

These are niches in which: 

  • traffic sank amid panic, but went up a month later, when the so-called “acceptance” stage arrived; 
  • conversions remained or dipped, but not significantly. 

These include: 

  • Repair;
  • Construction;
  • Furniture;
  • Awnings, roller shutters;
  • Windows and doors.

Here the issue of continuing active promotion directly depends on the ability to satisfy the user's desire to “buy”. I.e: 

  • can you provide a safe working environment for your staff? 
  • are there products for sale? 

Here's what it looks like on specific sites:

The number of users searching for clapboard on Google

The number of users searching for clapboard on Google fluctuated, but demand remained

Dynamics of organic traffic in a Regional furniture store

Dynamics of organic traffic in a niche - Regional furniture store

What niches quarantine did not touch

There are those who work, earn money and who have not been affected by the quarantine. Here are the lucky niches:

  • seeds,
  • seedlings,
  • PPA,
  • fertilizer,
  • spare parts (more precisely in terms of agr machinery).

Field and country work did not stop. This is the area where - either now, or not this year. With all safety measures for employees and customers, this business continues to operate. And these are the areas where I do not recommend stopping and reducing the amount of advertising spending. Otherwise, a niche for the fall season or next year can be missed forever.

Here are some examples of how SEO works now:

Organic traffic to the site of seeds and PPA sales

Organic traffic to the site of seeds and PPA sales

Traffic to the site for the sale of seedlings and cuttings

Traffic to the site for the sale of seedlings and cuttings, which, by the way, began promotion in January 2020

A slightly different story with equipment and machines in agriculture. And here the question concerns two sides:

since many productions have stopped or switched to lower production speeds (both in our country and abroad), there will simply be less supply on the market;

on the other hand, they will buy only in cases of urgent need, when there is the entire required amount. It is unlikely that a business will take risks and buy in installments, take out a loan for several years, not knowing what will happen in six months.

But even here the factor of support for domestic producers can play. At least in terms of finding cheaper deals. Therefore, you need to prepare for those who do not plan to stop.

Who needs to just work with compliance?

  • private medicine
  • Beauty Salons

These are the niches that are difficult to work now, but for which there will definitely be demand in the near future. And here it is important to "grab" more. How? Focus on those services (in the context of getting the best results for the top) that are most likely to be in demand in the first place.

And you can also sell a little bit all the time:

  • Medicine - online consultation (for a nominal fee, with discounts for regular customers, but why not?).
  • Salons - sell certificates for services or amounts of funds that can be spent in the center on yourself, at a discount now for later, and in the context of a gift to relatives and friends. Also online consultation of a cosmetologist, dermatologist.

If you have questions, want to consult, you urgently need to understand what to do and where to run - contact SPRAVA digital agency. Working 6 days a week during a crisis

Yeva Yanchuk
Project manager at Sprava Agency
9 Min read
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