The pandemic has impacted several aspects in our daily lives, especially in our day-to-day activities, work, and business among others. Many people were forced to stay at home. And work practically shifted to remote and work-from-home working setups.

One can observe some COVID-19 effects on SEO rankings and its volatility during a short time frame. The search behaviour during this time has also unexpectedly affected rankings.

Companies and businesses also needed to be adaptive and flexible with the paradigm shift because of coronavirus. Marketing strategies, consumer behaviour, sales, among others changed so much. Businesses owners and marketers need to re-strategise efforts to survive the crisis.

When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, there was a significant change in search patterns globally. 

Expert Opinion on COVID-19 Effects on SEO Rankings

In a live session with a panel of experts with Search Engine Land, they have discussed the volatility of Google search results since COVID-19 broke out.

“If you are seeing changes, it’s either related to changes in search traffic patterns by the world or Google adapting to that,” said search consultant Marie Haynes, “and I don’t think they’ve written a specific algorithm for [the coronavirus] –they’re adapting to how the word changes their searches, and I think the trick for us  now is in trying to interpret what’s happening.”

Double down on YMYL 

Your Money Your Life (YMYL) pertains to websites and webpages that can affect a person’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability.

If you got a website that offers self-care tips, a mommy blog that publishes parenting advice, or a website that diagnoses ailments based on symptoms, these are examples of YMYL pages. 

“Google has been tweaking everything around YMYL and these health kinds of things,”said Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz. 

He was pertaining to the confirmation of Google that they may prioritise Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) signals in the ranking algorithms. With the health crisis now, these may have been more implemented in the algorithms.

“And now, this crisis comes along and I wonder if it is triggering all that work they’ve done over the last six months with core updates to a degree maybe that they didn’t anticipate…it’s almost likely they set the stage for reworking the algorithm around these problems and this their live test,” said Meyers.

Why is it important for us?

It is unprecedented that there is a volatile change in the rankings even with the regular updates and changes in Google’s algorithms. It is also a rare sight that a worldwide health crisis has cemented and reinforced the EAT signals more than ever. 

This gives digital marketers and SEO professionals a glimpse of what can possibly happen. We witnessed drastic changes when the search behaviour deviated the norm. Unforeseen circumstances can help us to gain better understanding of why our rankings have risen or fallen.

Even when the search behaviour may return to normal, businesses and publishers should keep data on how COVID-19 affected SEO. Keep in mind that this might not be definitive data in the future. However, it can help us grasp the extent on how search impacts rankings.

Tiffany Tolones is a content writer and a social media manager with experience in writing for media companies in the Philippines. She creates content for lifestyle, tech, and Korean-related niches.

Share this article