Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
“Search me” are two words that can be discovered on literally every list of common idioms and are omnipresent in our language. To IT professionals, any Digital PR agency and CMOs, they’re also top of mind when it comes to SEO and have become even more important as we recover from the pandemic. COVID-19 brought big changes in searches, traffic, and online reviews to many brands and some may persist for a long time.
Google My Business changed since the pandemic was declared and temporarily suspended online reviews. Observers believe an assumption was made that there would be more complaints because of the daily stress levels. In addition, Google altered the COVID-19 search page so that visitors could self-categorize what they were seeking. Some observers believe Google may continue to utilize this form of category style menus in the future.
Brands should revisit their SEO strategy and repair any structural elements that are misconfigured. One thing often overlooked is the server and attention must be focused on maximizing it by ensuring fast site speeds.
The Next Few Months
The first thing for a company or brand that was affected by the pandemic to do is to visit the front lines of SEO with the free Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. Doing so gives a quick view of whether impressions have gone up or down over a certain period of time. Consider how the numbers changed with certain keywords and make changes where necessary.
Similarly, analyze the website, especially if it ranks new keywords. If they’re converting, utilize more of the same. If not, consider others. And at the same time, correct any other technical problems on Google Search Console as well as any crawl search issues discovered.
2021 and Beyond
Get to understand and become extremely familiar with schema. It’s a form of data modeling the form of which leads to the organization or structure of a database. Google and all the other major search engines, including Yahoo, Bing and Yandex, got together several years ag and collaborated on the framework for schema.org.
Search engines heretofore attempted to match words with products but today it’s all about intent. Not only will employing schema give a big boost to a brand’s algorithm, but it will help create a bigger imprint among all search engines.
Before the pandemic, only 7% of all websites were believed to have executed schema. Ecommerce sites led the way. Brands that get ahead of the schema wave will likely find themselves in a better position going forward.
To get the most out of a schema – Google relationship, get a free version of Yoast SEO or Rank Math if using WordPress for the brand’s website or invest in their premium upgrades for more features. At the same time, be sure to update Google My Business to maximize the potential of the brand’s Google recognition.
Brands using Shopify need to custom code some fields. Shopify has some valuable plug-ins that work with schema and which allow brands to insert products, review stars, and prices. The addition of these make the brand even more appealing on consumer searches. Google Tag Manager is even more powerful in working with schema and is also free but will likely require help from a programmer.
About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, the 2020 PR agency of the year, and a leading Legal PR firm.