The coronavirus and COVID-19 are disrupting SEO, SEM and SMM. What are the
impacts? What measures should we take? What’s next?
What impact is the coronavirus having on SEO, SEM and SMM?
The coronavirus originated in China in December 2019 and has spread steadily around the world since, going from an epidemic to a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since mid-March, the virus’s country of origin has been gradually recovering, with fewer and fewer new cases per day.
Since December, we’ve watched the terms “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” go from less than 2,000 to over 12 million monthly searches worldwide, according to data from SEMRush. This disease is becoming the number-one concern, conversation topic and search term in the world for all search platform users.
This has a huge impact on SEO due to the way page traffic is likely to be affected.
Visitors’ behaviour while confinement measures are in force leads them to purchase
products through e-commerce retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Canadian Tire and the
like. This situation will decimate small retailers’ traffic and cut them off from many
SEM will change from businesses closing for a few weeks and finding themselves in dire
straits as a result. They have no choice but to cease operations, given that the global
economy is on hold for a while. Amazon, for its part, reduced its advertising while hiring
over 100,000 people worldwide to fulfill all the online orders it’s having to process.
Finally, the coronavirus will impose the same sort of changes on SMM as on
SEM— Facebook advertising is way down overall, since all the stores are closed.
However, various product categories are seeing increased traffic on the social media
platform thanks to the confinement rules in effect.
What measures are being taken to inform people about the coronavirus?
Given the various disruptions going on, Google has just communicated with its users to ask them to update their Google My Business listings. Businesses are encouraged to provide their current opening hours and phone numbers, information on any COVID-19 cases in their stores, and posts detailing what products are available. This also gives local businesses a chance to promote their delivery service while they can’t have their
Amazon and Google announced that they would ban ads for any coronavirus-related
product such as antibacterial gels, face masks and gloves. Google only allows public
service announcement (PSA) ads from the government or various organizations
working to inform citizens about COVID-19. This measure ensures the right people can
get out their message more clearly.
Facebook, for its part, has activated a notification to remind its users of the precautions and steps they need to take to protect against the coronavirus and limit its spread. The social media giant had previously deployed this tool for major events such as the 2019 California wildfires or the terror attacks that hit Paris in November 2015.
Facebook will donate over 100 million dollars to provide financial aid to small businesses
and help them through the economic upheavals to come.
YouTube only relays COVID-19-related content from local governments and NGOs to ensure the public gets the most accurate information.
How can we fight the coronavirus?
Since March, all Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from
home to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and contain the pandemic that’s currently raging all over the world with no end in sight.
Google has announced it will extend free access to Hangouts Meet premium features to
all customers until the pandemic is over to encourage remote meetings between
The government has issued public health orders to limit travel as much as possible in
order to contain the virus so that we can resume normal activities within a few weeks.
These directives will help protect everyone’s safety, but at a cost to the global economy.
The watchword is “flatten the curve”!
This situation will definitely test your patience. On the bright side, there’s never been a better time to catch up on all those Netflix series you’ve been meaning to binge-watch! How about finally ordering the books and video games you were too busy to enjoy?
PS : Please do comply with the Quebec and Canadian governments’ instructions. It’s
essential to stop the spread of COVID-19. Here’s where we all need to step up and show