Guides & Advice

Tips for managing your PPC & SEO campaigns during the COVID-19 outbreak

By Al Davies / June 23rd 2020

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This pandemic is unlike any situation marketers have been put in before – and for many of us, unlike any circumstances we’ve had to deal with personally. For most businesses, it’s meant adjusting daily working life, as well as adapting to the ever-changing situation we find ourselves in. For us at every1, it means daily video meetings and trying to emulate office banter over Slack.

But more importantly, it’s meant adapting client campaigns during COVID-19, by looking at changes in buyer behaviours and working with our clients to be creative – as well as patient – with new ideas and strategies. Marketing has always been about trial and error; making changes and updates to your strategy and reviewing results and goals is essential to its success. Marketing plans shouldn’t put on hold for coronavirus, but simply need adapting to the needs of the business at this time.

With that said, we’ve created a few tips for managing your PPC and SEO campaigns during the pandemic – and beyond, ensuring that when the time comes for this situation to end, you’ll be able to bring your marketing strategy back up to speed.

Tips for managing your PPC during coronavirus

  • See if your ad text needs updating or add new site link extensions

We’re all aware of the current ‘trends’ and themes surrounding the pandemic. From social distancing to essential services, there’s new topics and subjects that can help adapt your PPC ad campaign messaging. If you sell a particular product or service, see how you can adjust this offering to fit with new demands from customers and clients. Changing your ad text and messaging means you can now make new products or services priority.

And if you don’t have anything new to offer, address your current messaging, making sure it’s sensitive to the current climate. Ad extensions can be used to add new information about store hygiene measures or a change in opening times – just make sure this is also reflected on your landing pages.

  • Review budgets

A lot of your competitors right now will be trying to cut back on costs and marketing budgets are usually the first to go. If you’re one of the few players in the market right now, competition is less, and customers are more.

  • Update your negative keyword list

Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic etc. are all hot topics at the moment, but they may not be helpful in terms for your conversion rate. If you’re seeing a high click through, but no conversions, take a look at your search terms. If you can see a trend, add these types of terms to your negative keyword list, so that when users are searching, your ads won’t be shown unnecessarily. Unless you are offering something in relation to the current pandemic, appearing for these searches won’t help you achieve conversions. And what do conversions make? PRIZES! Or at least a better ROI.

  • Cost per clicks have decreased

As the competition have put their campaigns on pause throughout lockdown, cost-per-click rates have dropped. But, as things are slowly starting to ramp back up, the competition realises the need to be in the market still, as well as new competition from either new businesses, or companies expanding their offering to help revenue bounce back.

With stores reopening and lockdown measures starting to ease, this is starting to slowly increase – and we’re expecting to see some new players on the market too. Think about all the new takeaway businesses that have recently launched or established companies offering new services and products. Soon, PPC will be back to its competitive playing field – but as long as you’re playing, you’re still in the game.

  • Adjust ad schedule

Use your data to your advantage. During this period, we’re seeing a lot of changes to when people search and convert. With individuals on furlough, staff working from home, and more restrictions in the shops, consumers and clients are searching, buying, and contacting companies at all hours of the day. Adjust your ad schedule to match up with the data you’re seeing, so that your ads will be served when your audience has the most intent.

  • Review ad campaigns at device-level

Again, let’s dig down into data. At device-level, you can see how much your cost per conversions are – if a certain device is taking up too much spend and not generating enough conversions, either reduce the amount you’re bidding on that device or don’t bid at all. With more people at home, working from laptops and tablets, you might find desktop traffic reduced – and remember, this could be a trend in your data you see prolonged, especially if offices don’t go back to ‘normal’ soon.

Tips for managing your SEO during a pandemic

  • Note changes in user behaviour

Changes in user behaviour can affect your SEO efforts dramatically – and with so much change happening in the world at the moment, it’s no surprise that you need to adapt your SEO campaign to fit with changes in user behaviour. This can span from new devices being used, less direct traffic to your site, more social referrals, and huge spikes in overall traffic, especially if you offer a product or service that is a necessity during this time. Think toilet roll, face masks, and online schooling.

Again, looking at your data is the best way to spot these changes, address them, and then adapt your techniques. If you’re seeing more traffic to your blog, get some more content written and uploaded or if you’re getting a high increase in traffic, but no conversions, check you’re targeting the right keywords and phrases on your site.

  • Review queries in Google Search Console

If you are getting a lot of unwanted traffic, that isn’t converting and isn’t relevant, review search terms in Google Search Console. This will let you see which keywords are driving traffic to which pages on your website – if people are landing on the wrong page for a main keyword, then you could be losing user engagement at the first hurdle, and need to change your SEO efforts accordingly to get people coming into the right page.

  • Update your blog or news section with regular content

Excellent advice all year round and through a pandemic too. If you’re not providing your audience with regular, fresh, helpful content on your blog, you’re missing out on relevant traffic and reducing your bounce rates.

Use data to find out how you can help people and offer advice through your blog. If you run PPC campaigns through Google Ads, use the keyword tool to find trending terms and topics. If you don’t, visit forums that are popular in your industry and see what real life people are discussing – answer their questions in a helpful article.

Creating content like this will also help to build trust, especially if you’re seeing a lot of new traffic come to your site. User behaviour has changed and individuals are branching out online, trying new businesses – but they need to see trust factors first before they convert. High quality, helpful blog content is way to aid that.

If you can’t create new content right now as you don’t have the resource, plan some articles in for the next few months, by researching trending topics and keeping abreast with what’s happening in your industry.

  • Repurpose blog content

Checked Google Analytics recently? That spike in traffic might just be coming through to an old article that’s suddenly become relevant again. Don’t just leave it at that; repurpose that article to actually make it relevant for today, such as turning it into a infographic.

  • Update your Google My Business listing

Often a user doesn’t even need to click through to your website if the information is easily accessible via Google’s search engine results page. However, if your Google My Business Listing isn’t up to date and complete, users will look elsewhere – and by elsewhere, we mean your competitors. If your business has new opening hours because of reduced staffing etc. then update them on your website and on your Google My Business listing. The principles haven’t changed – things need to be consistent and coherent.

  • Update website security to improve trust factors

Individuals are starting to branch out from their trusted brands, especially if they don’t have what they need in stock or they’re not offering the service they’re after. However, we’re an untrusting bunch and if a site looks dodgy, it’s almost certain it is dodgy – and consumers will agree. Ensure your website is secure, from stating where you store users’ data when they fill in a form, to having an SSL certificate.

  • Add a coronavirus message to your website, if required

A simple banner message at the top of your website as soon as people land on it will help with user intent. Let them know if you’ve made changes because of coronavirus, for example, if you have a store re-opening, send people through to a dedicated page with relevant information about social distancing – and anything else you think will help the user.

Lasting thoughts

Have a plan in place for lockdown recovery

The best we can be in these weird times is prepared, so have a plan in place for lockdown recovery – whether that’s creating more content for your blog or increasing spend on your PPC campaigns, just having some kind of tangible idea of how you’re going to market after lockdown is a step in the right direction.

Make sure you can be found online

If you don’t have an effective web presence, then you can’t be found online. Adapt your SEO and PPC strategy for the current climate and make sure the customers you want can find you.

Stay ahead of your competition

Concentrate on yourself, but keep a close eye on your competition. Being the loudest isn’t always the best way to market, but being present in a time like the pandemic and lockdown, ensures that customers won’t forget about you.

Adapt, adapt, adapt

Sticking to the same campaign ideas we had before lockdown won’t help – in fact, it can be a major hindrance. If companies aren’t willing to adapt, or simply stop optimising their websites and pause their PPC campaigns, it won’t be as easy to recover once lockdown is officially over.

At every1, we know times are hard, so we’re on hand to offer any advice you may need regarding your SEO and PPC campaigns during the pandemic.