Improve SEO During the Lockdown? It is Possible.
We are currently seeing larger-than-normal shifts in Google positions for many websites that we monitor.
Many of those that are improving are the ones which are proactively keeping their websites and offsite information up-to-date and current. Those that are allowing their presence to stagnate are falling behind. So there is an opportunity to come out in front.
Some of our clients’ sites have seen more traffic in the last couple of weeks than ever before. It depends, partly, on which market sector you operate in.
Keep Google in the loop – guess what, they like to know what’s going on!
Google recommend that you update your opening times on Google My Business and upload a statement about what you are doing during the coronavirus outbreak.Google have released a special new post type called a “COVID-19 update” to help with this and they are encouraging all businesses to use it.
Don’t worry about flagging your business as temporarily closed on Google My Business. Google gets it!
However, Google review edits, replies and some other Google My Business functionality is running slowly as Google staffing is interrupted during the lock-down. So some review replies might not appear immediately. Don’t worry, they will appear soon.
E-commerce SEO lockdown tips
If your e-commerce store is closed or has reduced availability, make sure you clearly say so. A sitewide banner is a good idea.
For those of you using WordPress, there’s a useful WordPress plugin called Sitewide Notice WP which is really easy to install and configure.
If your e-commerce store is closed, make sure customers cannot place an order. Many e-commerce platforms offer the ability to switch off product ordering whilst retaining the product catalogue.
We recommend not mothballing the entire store (and definitely not the whole website), as you will put your SEO at risk. You can notify Google to partially index your site to reflect the new, limited availability. You can do this quickly by updating your sitemap on Google Search Console.
Make sure you update your feeds, such as Google Shopping feeds, to reflect any limited availability or delays in delivery.
Google switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites sooner than you know it!
Google will ONLY be using mobile-first indexing from September 2020. This means Google will crawl your site as it appears first-and-foremost to mobile users instead of to desktop users. There are often very significant differences in content between mobile and desktop versions.
When Google first started, it crawled sites as they appeared to desktop users. For the last few years, Google has been switching to mobile-first indexing for most sites. And from September 2020, Google will ONLY use mobile-first indexing for ALL websites. In short, design your site for mobile FIRST from now on.
Data protection – what’s going on with my data?
Coronavirus has driven up concern about how personal data is being stored. Thousands of new organisations are being set up – from neighbourhood and community support groups to new startups developing products and services around Coronavirus.
What’s more, the government has new powers to collect data including health information. And we’ve all seen government public health messages on our mobile phones now.
For those concerned about changes in data protection handling, the Information Commissioner has set up a new web hub where all these matters are addressed: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/
We are working as normal
It’s a crazy time for us here at Dotwise just as much as it is for all other businesses. We are working on a skeleton staff, until the lock-down unlocks.
Contact us using our normal phone number 020 8399 4920 or email address firstname.lastname@example.org at any time for more advice and suggestions for your business.
Above all, we hope you are all well and healthy. We are following the government’s advice to stay at home, look after family and keep well. Remember, businesses can be restarted, lives cannot. We hope to speak to you very soon.
The Dotwise team