Virtually every industry known to humankind has been beset by the continued spread of COVID-19. Certain sectors of the economy have nearly been wiped out entirely, so seriously have they been disrupted, whereas others are simply undergoing serious changes that will reshape the collective future of the marketplace. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the search engine optimization sector will be permanently changed by the pandemic, especially since so many SEO agencies have already embraced this moment as an opportunity for fostering change.
How, exactly, will COVID-19 reshape the future of search engine optimization? Here’s a review of what SEO agencies will look like after the pandemic, and what steps are being taken now to usher in that transformation.
SEO agencies must market reinvention
For a long time, SEO agencies have earned their keep by promising businesses big and small that they can transform their digital operations by embracing search engine optimization tactics. After the coronavirus is eventually vanquished, SEO agencies must continue to market reinvention, but this time with a pitch that’s specific to the world after COVID-19 has passed us by. SEO agencies will argue to business owners of tomorrow that, in order to weather future pandemics, they must embrace SEO as a means of becoming a mostly-digital operation that can sustain itself without the need of in-person commerce.
Oftentimes, that will be easier said than done. There’s compelling research which indicates that consumers spend more money when visiting stores in-person than when doing their shopping online, for instance. This won’t be an insurmountable hurdle for SEO practitioners; truly savvy SEO agencies will note that excellent SEO services boost both ecommerce sales and in-person foot traffic, for instance. Nevertheless, in making their sales pitches, many SEO agencies will convince business owners who aren’t tech savvy that SEO is mostly focused on drumming up online sales. In doing so, they may inadvertently shoot themselves in the foot.
This is because business owners will still prefer reverting back to “business as usual” at the first opportunity, at least in the vast majority of cases. SEO agencies will thus have to make a nuanced pitch which explores how SEO services can bolster ecommerce sales while also drumming up foot traffic. Though this may sound easy to many industry experts, doing this in a way that appeals to entrepreneurs who may be totally unfamiliar with search engine technology or information technology in general will likely prove to be difficult.
New consumer trends must be analyzed
No SEO agency can provide results to their clients without understanding consumer trends. This is an important thing to remember in the world after COVID-19, as consumers will likely behave far differently than before, even in their rush to return to normalcy. The Harvard Business Review has done an admirable job outlining the three broad behavioral trends that will likely reshape our marketplace in the world of tomorrow. If SEO agencies aren’t able to capitalize on changing consumer trends, they’ll never be able to make convincing pitches to prospective customers, and in doing so will quickly become obsolete.
SEO agencies will also have to grapple with the fact that marketing budgets are often the first thing to find themselves cut when a time of economic turmoil sets in. Across the country, business owners are worried about whether they can keep their lights on for another few weeks, which will lead many of them to eschew advertising and marketing materials altogether. While SEO practitioners understand the importance of modern marketing regimes, business owners who are pressed to their last few pennies will need serious convincing. Most SEO crisis tactics which this pandemic have produced are focused on connecting with consumers during this time of turmoil before engaging them with excellent content.
Finding profitability when the sun rises
The marketplace of tomorrow is hard to predict with absolute certainty; some SEO agencies may find that specifying in local SEO is their only way to remain competitive, for instance, whereas others will find that broadening their appeal and reaching out to international clients may be the better choice. As is true in virtually every industry, the SEO sector will thus employ a myriad of tactics to endure and exploit this crisis for its own sake, and practitioners must remain aware that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to an economic downturn.
Nevertheless, a couple of concrete tactics will likely become the industry norm as SEO practitioners seek to find profitability when the sun finally rises. The pandemic can’t last forever, and when it reopens SEO agencies will be forced to reassess the composition of their workforce. Agencies which previously failed to invest in marketing gurus may find that such experts are needed to predict the consumer trends that will redefine the reopening of the global economy, for instance. Others may be forced to slim down their staff sizes – sometimes permanently – if this pandemic keeps draining their income away.
SEO agencies will be far different after the pandemic has subsided, but those which continue to endure will be all the stronger for it.