Managing your online presence during the Covid-19 crisis

By Core Optimisation,

We all now have seen that the global Covid-19 pandemic is having wide reaching effects for not only people’s health but also the economy. As a result Google have made a few changes to Google my business as let’s face it, nothing right now can be considered business as usual. While right now business is secondary to people’s health, people still need to shop and as a result people are searching Google more often to check and see if your business is open, have you stock and whether you will support online delivery. Luckily there are a number of things we can do to help ensure your business can operate as best as possible and if you’re an event organizer, let people know what’s going on.

 Events:

Pretty much every event since February has been cancelled from Collision in Canada, WMC in Germany to DTS in Dublin. While some must postpone or, others are going virtual. In order to support his Google, has introduces some new types of event schema such as ‘eventStatus’.
This new feature does exactly what it says on the tin….allows you to show the current state of an event, rather than dropping it from search results, these are:
  • Canceled event
  • Postponed event (new date not known)
  • Rescheduled event (new date is known)
  • In-person event changed to online-only.

When making any structured data changes, you should also notify Google so they can display the correct details,  this is done by making your sitemap automatically available or pinging Google specifically with the location of your sitemap. Need help with your Search Engine Optimisation? 

Local Business:

Right now I think we can all agree that small local business is struggling due to the temporary closures and the uncertainty surrounding the future but again in a time when most people are checking every shop they need to visit on Google, now could be a good time to get your Google My Business up to scratch. In most small business’ cases a directory listing will be the first thing someone sees about you in their search. By sure to update your Google My Business to showcase your business and how your business has changed during this time – it could be something as small as opening hours or as big as a new online sales opportunity.

Don’t just do this on Google, if you’re on Bing, Trip Advisor, Yelp or anything else, now is the time to update your details, also don’t forget the power of social media, keeping your customers in the loop and regular posting not only shows your current business sitaution but the community will actively try help support local business they believe in.
  • Update your hours or temporary closures
  • Anywhere customers find you, get there first and give the latest information
  • Leverage social media
  • Create local posts on Google My Business. Posting at regular intervals will make customers more confident that the information they’re seeing is still relevant.

On your site

When it comes to managing your business through these turbulent times, being online is more important than ever before and at this moment in time there are a number of things you can do with your website to help keep people in the loop;

FAQ Pages

  • People are looking to get most of the same questions answered right now. Are you open, are you stocked, do you deliver, can I buy online, is it takeaway only etc, we’ve all searched one if not all of these in the last few days. Update your customers with the latest state of play during Covid-19 with a simple FAQ page.

Landing Pages

  • A dedicated landing page for the Covid-19 crisis can make a difference, especially if your business is greatly impacted by the pandemic. You can use this page to explain how you’re adapting your business during this time, something highly recommended for hospitality, tourism, restaurants or any other business facing a long term closure without the option of online sales.Basically outline the situation for your customers and keep this information up-to-date.

Product feeds

  • For retailers and any business that sells goods online, now is a good time to get your product feed firing! For small business this could mean using the new 90 day long Shopify Free Trial or giving WooCommerce a go on your website to offer that online sales option.

For larger retails and those using Google Shopping, be sure your item availability status is updated in as close to real-time as possible as consumer demand changes. This includes your product pages and your product feeds. The ItemAvailability structured data type is used to indicate whether a product is InStock, OutofStock, Discontinued, has LimitedAvailability, is available InStoreOnly, OnlineOnly and more.

 Authors – Jon Harrison, Sarah Fitzpatrick