The Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic has impacted all industries and businesses around the world. What started as a “pneumonia-like” disease in Wuhan China has become a global plague that has infected almost 2 million people and killed over 120,000.
Businesses around the world are closing their doors and governments are imposing nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus. As the world braces for a global recession it is easy to see that changes to daily life are becoming clearer which in turn affects the economies of the world.
However, it is clear even today that Covid-19 will have a long-term impact, not only on businesses but on individuals too. The thought of going back to our normal lives in a few months now seem like a pipe dream considering the fact that global infection rates are still on the rise. Businesses that closed due to the virus will take time to get back on track if they ever do. The good news is that online shopping seems to be on the rise, leading to a major consumer shift.
Given this change, it is interesting to see what’s going on in terms of what’s happening from an SEO perspective. What are people interested in nowadays? What are they searching for? How are their online shopping behaviors changing?
Here are some of Covid-19’s impact on SEO.
Essential eCommerce Stores
The search for essential ecommerce stores are on the rise. Searches for “toilet paper near me”, “sanitizers near me” or “masks near me” and other related goods are on the rise. Covid-19 has brought major upheaval to everyday life that items not normally bought online are now being searched by people around the world.
When China got infected during late December and peaked during late January, the world experienced a shortage of face masks. In Asian countries like Hong Kong Japan and Korea, face mask use is normal in order to prevent the spread of disease. However, when Covid-19 started to appear outside China, sales and search for face masks soared in neighboring countries leading to shortages. The same is true with hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol and gloves.
When the virus spread in the USA, it lead to hoarding and panic buying of toilet paper. This kind of behavior is vastly different from typical online sales because not only were masks and toilet paper normally bought in pharmacies and groceries, countries like the USA normally don’t wear them.
Health and Wellness
Because Covid-19 has influenza-like symptoms, many people are looking for ways to boost their immune system. Searches for health and wellness products like vitamins, anti-viral herbs, correct hand washing technique, essential oils and home remedies are rising. Searches for coronavirus symptoms are also seeing an uptick.
Covid-19 has no vaccine and cure as of this writing, searching for ways to boost immune system is a way for people to feel that they have some control over their bodies. Other searches related to home exercising, workouts and healthy living are also on the rise. The health and wellness industry is enjoying a +17% in searches right now.
Covid-19 is a new disease with no guaranteed form of treatment or therapy. At this point it is important to separate facts from fiction which is why many people are searching for credible news sources regarding the disease and the current pandemic.
People want to know the real score which is why they are looking for news publications, credible sources and authoritative figures to deliver real data in order to arm themselves with the necessary knowledge to give them a fighting chance with the disease. News mediums are seeing a +34% increase in searches.
Search for travel deals and destinations are suffering an all-time low. With many countries imposing lockdowns and shutting down non-essential business, tourism and airlines are some of the losing industries in this Covid-19 pandemic.
News of cruise ships being refused by ports and limited flights to many destinations and stay-at-home orders are causing a downward trend not only for travel websites but for airlines, tourism and tours across the globe. Overall, the travel sector is seeing a -46% in searches.
Since many people are stuck at home, they are entertaining themselves by cooking or learning how to cook. They are also searching for food deliveries.
Searches for Thai food, pizza and fast food are seeing more than 50% growth, while restaurants and cafes are down a significant number. As more people are being asked to stay at home a while longer in order to curb the spread of Covid-19, searches for recipes and food deliveries will continue to see an uptick.
Dealing with Covid-19 will be the “new normal” for the foreseeable future. As infection rates around the world continue to rise, consumer behavior and search trends will continue to change.
Because of this change, SEO needs to evolve. Monitoring consumer behavior as well as SEO patterns will help you become a better marketer and boost your search engine ranking.