Elena Jnr. Andreou: 3 actions that each business owner should take right now
3 actions that each business owner should take right now
CoronaVirus Crisis and the Business World: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Elena Jnr. Andreou
From the title, you most probably have a question already: What is the good thing about #CoronaVirus? Most of us are experiencing the Bad (closing down of almost all businesses…etc) and the Ugly (we hear every day how many thousands of people already died from this virus).
So, what is “Good” about Covid-19?
Life taught me that every bad situation has something good in it. I believe that seemingly negative events from the COVID-19 pandemic also come with hidden benefits; like the opportunity to slow down and spend more time thinking of your business, and what you could do to improve your brand image or to increase your customer base and sales.
One thing I learned in my carrier is that “when things get tough, go back to basics!”
So, what is the most important – the no. 1 secret – that I consider vital to any business’ success? Truly understanding its audience, understanding what people need right now!
With the Coronavirus, things that were important just a few weeks ago will not land the same way. Everyone is at home, scared and worried! Business owners worrying went into a survival mode! The reality of every one’s life turned upside down: reduced funds, budgets for food, hiding or sharing our fears and anxieties from each other, fighting to remain positive and make the best out of the lockdown.
People’s needs are shifting away from luxury and investments, more towards safety and low cost alternatives.
I asked myself as a SEO specialist what business people should do right now. What are the most important steps? What type of goals are they looking to achieve now? What can help businesses save money or eliminate costs, not only to survive but to increase profits?
Most are feeling a financial strain right now and are worried about the future. The good news is that there are 3 vital things that you can do to boost your business right NOW!
1.Small Budget – Big Makeover: REVAMP YOUR WEBSITE
There are things that most business owners avoid doing, like updating and upgrading their website.
- Website Usability and Page Speed are the most important
elements for UX (user experience), which is no. 1 ranking factor. This means that if your site loads slowly, the experience is bad and Google doesn’t like ranking sites which provide bad user experience. Especially now that 85%-90% of internet users are on the mobile devices, it the best time to upgrade your website.
- Check theme functionality and the built-in editor
For a few months now, I’ve known hat my website editor was obsolete, but I was postponing it (with the excuse that there was no time in disposal…do it later). Until one day, my website pages started to collapse, one after the other. I was in rush to install a new editor and I didn’t take the time to check with my web developer if the new editor was compatible with the theme. I worked for almost 10 days, 8-10 hours/day to rebuild the pages with the new editor, and 2 hours after I finished, THE ENTIRE WEBSITE COLLAPSED. Hence, I learned the lesson the hard way. I had to re-build all pages from the scratch and believe me, I lost a lot of material and optimisation from the last two years and, most importantly, I LOST MY RANKING!
- Update Covid-19 policy on GMB profile and website
Google wants to set itself up as a go-to destination of rich, descriptive content about businesses locations and fundamental data, such as their names, addresses and phone numbers. Now they’ve got very serious with the Covid-19 pandemic. They recently rolled out the “Temporarily Closed” label. You should provide updates about your business to customers such as: your updated hours of operation (in case you close early). If your business delivers products, you should create an update post with the label “contactless delivery”. On the website, the best update is the FAQ rich snippet. When marked up properly, these can appear as a rich result in search results and in Google Assistant. This, in turn, can make you stand out while increasing click-through rates.
- Schema markup, structured data and AMP
Despite the fact that many developers insist that structured data is not a direct ranking factor, it influences all other elements of your website which ARE RANKING FACTORS. The whole point of structured data is to provide clean and concise parcels of information to search engines so that you can clarify the purpose of your site and its pages. Nowadays, with billions of searches on the web, structured data is vital for improving a site’s click-through rates.
2. Revise and RETHINK your USP: Revise your content
If you want to increase your profits in time of crisis, you need to RETHINK your Unique Sale Proposition (USP). REVISE your USP and come up with a way which you can raise by aligning it with people’s needs RIGHT NOW.
Make a first stab now at defining your USP starting from your home page content, your values, mission and vision pages. Revise your products’ or services’ pages and adjust content and prices. If reducing price isn’t an option, “Bundle Like a Boss” or create “Limited Time Offers”. Then start creating new content for these offers: blog articles, articles for online magazines, free online platforms etc..
As you check the list, ask three business people today to give you a honest feed back on how your USP comes across. Then publish these Bundles or Limited Time Offers on GMB profile, all your social media or groups. Here is the “Snowball Effect”: more visits don’t mean only more sale, but also empowering your SEO and ranking. Traffic to your website is one of the most important ranking factors.
So, the more people you send to your website, the more sales you make. We all know that it is always a number’s game. But not only: the more people get to your website – even if they will not buy – will help your ranking – which means search engines will make it more prominent to other people that are searching for products or services like yours. Then you eventually get more clients.
3.Increase social shares, get active on YouTube, Twitter and Lobby
All likes, collective shares and generally all our web page’s mentions are perceived by search engines as another form of citation (similar to back-links), and called social shares. Google placed social shares high on the ranking factors system. Consequently, social media now are more than a messaging and acquisition channel: they become an important ranking factor.
According to Alexa Top Sites Ranking, YouTube is considered the strongest social media platform, offering the best outcome to businesses. YouTube is now the 1st most visited social media platform and 2nd most visited website in the world, behind Google. YouTube became the most important audio-visual search engine, platform for social media use and the platform with maximum traction in regard to SEO. It is second only to Google, but it is owned by Google. Is this data enough to make you understand how important is YouTube for your business today? If you don’t have a YouTube channel CREATE ONE NOW. If you have one, invest some time on creating a YouTube strategy aligned with all you SEO strategy!
For the last couple of years, I heard many business people saying that “Twitter is not worth the investment” or “Twitter is only for politicians and Hollywood gossip” …etc. If you want my honest opinion, I will definitely agree with many of you that for the majority of businesses, it doesn’t represent a channel to get more sales.
Let me tell you a little secret. In 2014, Google formed a partnership with Twitter (a coalition to disempower Facebook). So, it’s not a secret that Google favours Twitter social signal against Facebook.
Moreover, Nielsen says that one of the Covid-19 impact is an increase of 50X in all social media activity.
Consequently, we know now that people spend much more time on social media. Furthermore, Google favours Twitter social shares against Facebook, being an important ranking factor.
Would you still have doubts about getting social on Twitter?
Many of you may have not even heard about the Lobby, and justifiably wonder what lobby is. So, for those of you who don’t know already: Lobby is THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD BE ON. It is a social app, a networking platform built to allow you to extend your business with various highlighting features. From the moment I heard about it, I started testing. I am still amazed how fast its Domain Authority goes higher and higher. For those of you who are not familiar with the term Domain Authority, I will simply say: another important ranking factor.
If your business is not there, DON’T WASTE ANY MORE TIME!
Elena Jnr. Andreou/ M.A.Sc. Social Information Systems
Digital Marketing Specialist / Social Media Analyst, SEO Optimisation & Personal Branding Strategist. A pioneer in digital marketing, founder and CEO of Go Digital Globally, Elena Jnr. Andreou has an experience of 18 years in Marketing with the focus in the last 7 years entirely on digital marketing. She studied Law and Marketing and later on she specialised in Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media Marketing and Growth Hacking. She started her journey in Digital as the Marketing Executive of Great Deal Global Europe, an annex of R&D Products LLC the American company. Now she just finished one more specialisation in Social Information System through Programming language (R programming and Python) and sentiment analysis, artificial intelligence, Google algorithm and ranking factors. Her last tree projects and research papers:
- “How smart an AI can get?” (Aw. Pub.)
- “Google: A Responsible Innovation, Or An Algorithm: Which Hijacks Our Brain?” (Aw. Pub.)
- “Identifying Patterns to Achieve Competitive Intelligence Using R Programming Through Social Media and Web” (Aw. Pub.)