Identifying Content Opportunities from SEO Keyword Trends During Covid-19

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Image above by janjf93 from Pixabay.

In the span of six months, the world has changed, upending all existing keyword trends. More people are online now than ever before, but they are no longer looking for your company or your products and services.

What are they looking for? It’s mostly Zoom.

Unless you run Zoom, the above graph is bad news for your business. When people are looking for a product that is so far removed from what you create and distribute, longevity in this crisis may not be an option.

But there is hope for us yet. Despite how bad the situation looks, there are content opportunities available. You just need to know where to look. And the place you should be looking in is the keyword search trends.

At Venngage, we’ve been doing a deep dive into search trend data during the pandemic and have developed tactics that businesses can use to generate content.

But before we get into that, we want to introduce you to a framework that you can use to produce these content ideas.

Use the GRAP Framework to Analyze Keyword Trends

Content ideation is challenging—when there’s a pandemic on and nothing seems to be working, it becomes near impossible to think of content topics. But if you have a framework to work within, it makes the process just a bit easier.

We use the GRAP framework extensively—Goals, Research, Authority, and Promotion—to communicate strategy among marketing teams. 

It’s a great outline for powering your content ideation process and giving your content focus.

We can all agree that these four aspects of content ideation are crucial for creating a successful content strategy. In this article, we will break down each of these points to show you how keyword trends can be used to reach your audience during this crisis.

Keyword Trend Goals

As we said, unless you are a toilet paper manufacturer, your business will be feeling the negative impact of Covid-19. Since these changes are going to continue for a while, companies need to learn how to pivot their strategies and the methods they use to actively engage with audiences.

Here are a few ways to change your goal-setting process for 2020 (and beyond): 

  •     Focus on customer retention, not just acquisition
  •     Be open to changing established strategies
  •     Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas
  •     Collect data from within your field to power your decisions
  •     Promote with empathy for your audience

You can’t rely on using posts that simply use the word ‘coronavirus’ to generate interest. Content needs to have value for your audience in the current environment. And while this definitely works in a B2C setting, B2B audiences need just as much attention and empathy.

But you can’t be empathetic if you don’t know what your customers’ pain points are. That is why you need to adapt your keywords for the pandemic period before you set your goals.

Keyword Trends Research

Critical search data needs to be the focus of your content strategies right now. By analyzing the data available, you will be better able to create content that matters to your audience and search engines, and that boosts your bottom line.

So, how do we conduct keyword research in the current environment?

The first thing businesses need to accept is that people’s interests have changed. Their priorities are now health, safety, groceries, online calls, and toilet paper. When you’re collecting data, you need to keep these factors in mind.

For example, most companies have transitioned to using remote teams. These businesses now have vastly different needs than they had before the pandemic—their focus is on improving their remote management system and workflow.

Another side-effect of more people working from home is the rise in Google searches. With less contact available between employees, Google has become everyone’s best friend.

Because of the extensive use of search engines, we now know that there is a treasure trove of data available — data that can then be mined for content opportunities.

It also puts a great deal of responsibility on marketers to ensure that they are using these data platforms to give consumers the content they are looking for.

This is challenging for one primary reason—businesses already have keywords to target with their content. These keywords have helped businesses rank on search engines and create sales opportunities.

But those keywords that were optimized to improve inbound sales aren’t doing their job because people are no longer inputting those search terms. 

Does that mean that your product or service isn’t needed? No, absolutely not. Your brand’s content is needed. But the keyword trends that you had been relying on have changed.

To be able to once again reach your audience, you need to study search trends as they stand now and determine how you can create content around those terms.

Building Authority with Keyword Trends

One thing that has become abundantly clear is that some industries have suffered massively due to Covid-19. If we look at the airline industry, the dip over the past year has been massive:

Other industries are continuing through remote work and delivery, though some are still seeing dips in traffic, engagement, and sales. 

Take a look at the popularity of cannabis delivery in 2020:

These companies have never been more trendy than they are now, and it is because people can’t go to physical stores.

There are a few industries that have been deemed essential and are working overtime to keep communities safe and cared for. But if your business is inessential, looking for ways to bring in revenue—either in the near or far future—will be a major concern.

Creating content is a primary focus because—as we said—people are largely online now. If they are online, then they want content they can consume online. So, what happens when your content is no longer suitable for the environment? 

With research and analysis of search trends in content marketing, you can find ways for your content to be seen. Let’s look at the restaurant industry. People can’t go out and many restaurants have closed down as a result.

If the businesses still working focus their content on their ambiance and how accessible their location is, they won’t be able to reach their audience. Why? Because people can’t sit in restaurants and enjoy the atmosphere. Many people still can’t get to these restaurants to consider buying food.

There’s a gap here in the kind of content people need and what the business is actually sharing online. That will impact your search results and your overall authority on search engines, which ends up having a cascading effect on your traffic and your sales.

Now, there is a way to mitigate this situation—finding a niche within your niche. Think back to the research phase of the framework—we learned that people’s needs have changed during the pandemic. Look at how the popularity of restaurant-related search terms dropped during the pandemic:

If we break it down further, we can see how a popular search term like ‘best restaurants near me’ plummeted in traffic:

Restaurants that were relying on that term to bring in traffic to their site and premises would be feeling the effects. But we have to ask ourselves: do people not want restaurant-quality food?

Yes, they do, because there is only so much of your own cooking that you can eat (also, everyone needs a break from the kitchen). Where’s the data to back this up? You can find it in the search trends:

That graph tells you everything you need to know if you are a restaurant owner. People aren’t looking for restaurants near them because they can’t go to them. But they still want restaurant food as long as they don’t have to leave home for it.

And that is where the content opportunities lie for this industry. Pivot content to focus on food delivery options—like free deliveries, discounts, and curbside pick-up—instead of writing about the location or interiors.

Restaurants can also create content around food safety—how they are keeping their staff safe, where they are sourcing items from, and how they’re ensuring contactless delivery. People want to know that the food they’re getting is safe to eat and enjoy—and that is the content they will be searching for.

By adapting content to reflect these changed interests, consumers will be able to find your business while searching online.

Promoting Content to Target Keyword Trends

You have the search trend data within your industry; now it’s time to create content you can actively promote. We put together a simple sheet to generate content ideas from the keyword trends in the travel industry, which was hit hard by Covid-19. 

Since people can no longer travel, everything to do with flights and luggage has shut down. We searched for luggage and travel-related terms and found that there was a sharp depreciation in interest (understandably). Here are the results we put together:

Now that we know that these terms are dropping in rankings, we can ask ourselves what people might be looking for instead of these keywords.

What else can you do with luggage? You can use it to store items at home—especially when you’re trying to spring clean during a pandemic.

People might also want to repurpose their existing luggage pieces for DIY projects to free up space in their homes. If we start looking at DIY-related terms, here’s what we can find:

There’s a positive, upward trend here that travel-related businesses can now use to generate content ideas. Build a list of content ideas that use these new terms and start working on a promotion plan.

It’s best to play to your strengths, but do keep in mind that with people being more online, the wider you spread your message, the better your chances of being seen.

While a how-to blog on DIY will help you capitalize on keyword trends, people tend to visit YouTube and Pinterest for DIY inspiration. Look at the number of recommended searches we found for ‘DIY’ on Pinterest:

If you create more content on similar subjects, you can reach a wider audience. Repurposing content is also a great way to expand your reach—a series of blogs can be collated using an eBook creator or a presentation maker.

Video guides are very popular and can make for traffic-boosting content—YouTube is the second-most popular search engine, after all. 

There are a number of social media channels available now, and they are all being used heavily by individuals and businesses.

Creating posts and live content for social media channels will improve the chances of your content being seen and the steady march towards increasing revenue.

Key Takeaways: Keyword Trends Are Your New Best Friend

Keyword trends are a fount of data. Businesses that are struggling during the current crisis can use that information to generate new content ideas.

This means acknowledging that your audience’s needs have changed—and that you need to change your content to reflect that.

Once you start looking through the search trend data, you can find ways to create content that will add value to your customers’ lives. 

As a result, your content will be seen, engaged with, and will lead to more traffic to your business and improved sales.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about the digital world, sales strategies, and small businesses.

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