Factors that will shape search marketing in the second half of 2020

Under the influence of COVID-19, many companies around the world are looking for ways to adapt to new conditions. Some brands even try to use the crisis situation as a chance for their growth. Indeed, the companies, that overcame a period of chaos, can eventually find new opportunities for developing and strengthening their businesses. And the key point here is to act quickly and be mobile. 

The pandemic has a great impact on consumers’ expectations, habits, as well as their buying behavior, and online requests. This poses new challenges for search marketers. In order for search engines to consider the brand’s site as an authoritative resource, the brand needs to follow the new trends and to take into account particular factors that influence search marketing. 

Therefore, in this article, we will observe how a business adapts to the new rules of the game and can get the maximum profit from search marketing in the second half of 2020 if considering the essential tips.

New questions and problems

To be more relevant for short-term SEO and PPC campaigns, a search marketer needs to stay on top of what the brand’s clients are looking for. Here we suggest using Google Trends. If the marketer knows what search results are displayed for the query right now (the query must be fresh), he can create relevant content to answer it. And the brand can reap enormous benefits from the campaigns if it has or just about to provide the products and services people are now looking for. 

Data from Google’s search and marketing channels showed that as people’s concerns about COVID-19 had subsided, they began to focus more on their productivity and self-isolation. In particular, requests about cooking, health and household, fitness equipment and classes have grown. Now users have become more interested in leisure activities that do not require leaving the house, and this trend will continue to be in the second part of 2020. 

It is necessary to carry out a permanent analysis of the new questions and problems that people meet, to know about changes in consumer interests and their demands. In such a way the brand can make hypotheses about what the market will be in the second part of 2020, and search marketers can adapt the brand’s activities and its budget to the situation. Such brands have more chances for success than those companies that follow the usual patterns.

SEO strategy 

The COVID-19, which has caused a slowdown in the economy and changes in customer habits, has propelled SEO to the forefront of digital marketing. This marketing direction shows its best sides, allowing the search marketer to achieve strategic goals with less effort. First, SEO isn’t so expensive as advertising. Secondly, it flexibly reacts to a changing situation: it monitors the specifics of search queries in real-time and optimizes content for them. And thirdly, the results of its work are obvious: excellent ranking positions and the company’s success in the long run.

Today, a search marketer needs to look for the most convenient modifiers for the business as availability and performance are currently more valuable and will be in the nearest future. Search queries containing “near me” began to increase in the search results as well as the number of queries for online services. That means the audience that is geographically closer to the brand is more likely to become permanent because of the brand’s fast speed and low cost of delivery. To show up in Google search in local search results, the marketer needs to work out the following:

  • register and set up Google Local Business;
  • fill Google Local Business with the most useful information about the brand;
  • take care of ranking and reputation on Google Local Business;
  • view the search results on the request “Name of organization + address”, and if possible, register the brand in all catalogs of organizations and maps nearby.

Thus, we recommend continuing to conduct marketing activities with the help of local SEO in the second part of 2020. The search engine website is and will definitely be one of the most effective ways to promote the business.

Client’s influence

Consumers will no longer go directly to the site from the usual ad formats. That means a search marketer should accurately make the new ad message in order to improve the effectiveness of the brand’s marketing. 

Now, leading brands rely more on cost-effective alternatives including direct and organic search traffic, and use more linking strategies to drive traffic from most visited sites.

The search marketer should do the following:

  • Increase visibility on organic search. 

The marketer needs to track the effectiveness of search keywords and to monitor where the organic search is the key driver of site traffic. To increase visibility on organic searches and to reduce dependence on paid search ads over time, the marketer needs to optimize the web pages for broad search queries, including customization of meta tags. This will increase the relevance of the brand’s content.

  • Adjust the ad message and expenses.

The marketer will have to rethink the ad creative message before making any changes to advertising expenditures. Then it is better to test different ad formats across all channels to see where the additional expenses make sense.

  • Publish more video content.

Creating new content in the video’s format is one of the trends in 2020. The marketer can use the TubeBuddy service to find the keywords he needs for the brand and use them in video design.

  • Make sure the content is relevant.

Relevant content matters, especially in the search engines. By continuing regularly to publish quality content, a search marketer provides a good ranking for the website on popular demand.

Optimization for Amazon

Experts from ChannelAdvisor, an American company specializing in cloud-based e-commerce software, identified the key trends in the world of online commerce that will be relevant in the second part of 2020. According to its report, the biggest player that has and will continue to have an enormous impact on the e-commerce market is the Amazon platform. 

Amazon is known to everyone as an online store, but its largest source of operating profit is a cloud business called Amazon Web Services. In the fourth quarter of last year, it accounted for 67% of the company’s profits. The venture offers customers cloud services, including storage, web hosting, and machine learning applications that are of particular interest to brands.

Amazon is no longer only a marketplace, but also the third-largest advertising operator in the United States, which is gradually crowding out Google and Facebook. In addition to its digital marketing efforts, Amazon also competes with global logistics companies such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Because of COVID-19, people started buying things online they hadn’t thought about before. Searching and buying behavior has instantly changed. Amazon’s bestsellers (which were phone cases, chargers, LEGO bricks) were quickly replaced by everyday necessities. The company Amazon meets consumer expectations, and, as a result, many customers have already formed their habits around it. 

Optimizing for Amazon and developing the brand’s reputation on Amazon is an excellent solution of 2020 for a search marketer who works in retail.

Page Experience

At the end of May, Google announced a new algorithm that will start operating in 2021. Though it seems like there is much time before implementing this new ranking factor, in fact, search marketers should start preparing for it now. 

The aim of Google’s new ranking factor is the evaluation of the site, considering the way users inter-react with it. Clients’ on-site behavior and functional website features are taken as the major indicators for confirmed ranking signals. 

The list of the new metrics in Page Experience include:

1. The time of content rendering.

The metric evaluates the process of displaying the largest content items on the page and measures the loading speed of the visible part of the content. The recommended time is 2.5 sec after the page starts loading. This indicator is helpful in understanding the user’s experience on the site. 

2. Delay after the first input. 

The indicator is responsible for measuring the time between the first interacting with the page and the server’s response. Click on the page is considered as the first interaction (it can be a click on a link, button, JS element, etc.). The recommended time is less than 100 milliseconds.

3. Cumulative layout offset on rendering (CLS).

This innovative factor helps to measure the visual stability of a website, in particular, unexpected changes that happen without intentional connection. For example, incomprehensible movement of the text, disappearance or change of elements when trying to interact, and other factors that can annoy users. The frequency of occurrence of such displacements is measured by Google Lighthouse.

Besides the updated block with the new metrics, the Page Experience will comprise the familiar factors that influence the user’s behavior such as mobile adaptation, HTTPS availability, browsing security, and lack of interfering blocks.

By improving the metrics of Page Experience, a search marketer can increase the values of both on-site behavioral metrics and click-throughs on the brand site. Now it is a perfect time for a marketer to start optimizing site speed, working on behavioral issues, and improving the mobile version.

Conclusion

By taking into the account all of the above points, a marketer will not only better link the search traffic to the products and services that customers want now and in the near future, but will also increase the conversions on the brand’s site.

The right and well-planned actions of the search marketer will not let a customer leave the brand, even if he is now forced to suspend business operations because of this tough period. Interaction with clients after a pandemic largely depends on the brand’s willingness to be on their side today and to meet clients’ needs in the current situation.

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