SEO On Air: SEO During COVID Crisis

Written by Ewan Watt

Updated on July 16, 2020
Category: Podcast

Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of SEO On-Air. Times are always tough for people who take action. It’s only when people stop complaining and take action, they could actually see real success. In the marketing world, there’s one medium that is said to be going away, but somehow the medium has thrived so far. Yes, we are talking about organic traffic and SEO.

Today, we are going to discuss how to effectively use SEO for better ROI during and post COVID situation. We have Mr. Evan Watt, the founder, and CEO of Welcome to the show, Evan.


Time Stamp: 01:27-02:26

Q. Can you tell us more about your agency and what you do?

  • I started my SEO agency in Australia in 2006, and my colleagues said I was too late in the industry.
  • In 14 years, we have grown from being a simple SEO agency to helping businesses achieve conversion goals.  
  • We specialize in helping small to medium businesses with integrated marketing solutions.

Time Stamp: 02:38-04:41

Q. We can see that people are investing slightly less on the paid front. In this situation, how can people invest effectively in SEO?

  • I think it is very hard to generalize at the moment.
  • Although Australia has managed to handle the pandemic well, the state of Victoria has gone through quite an outburst of cases.
  • The mindset of businesses that have been impacted at Victoria is quite different from businesses from other parts of Australia.
  • Every industry has been affected differently. Obviously, the travel and hospitality industry has been affected the most. 
  • Now that all of us are spending more time online than ever before, SEO is now more important than ever.

Time Stamp: 04:55-06:25

Q. What are some of the best ways for businesses to utilize the COVID situation effectively? 

  • An audience-first mentality is very important at this time. Businesses should put themselves into the customers’ shoes.
  • Video marketing is an effective way of communicating with clients at this time. 

Time Stamp: 07:02-08:48

Q. Can you suggest something for SEOs to improve their CTR?

  • Anyone who has experience running Adwords campaigns would know that they can modify their creativity to increase the CTR.
  • The same principle applies to SEO as well. Setting a benchmark for CTR and optimizing your top-ranking web pages accordingly will help you to get better clicks.

Time Stamp: 09:27-10:32

Q. Don’t you think software companies should create evergreen content and not something that seems apt for the current COVID situation?

The balance is whatever content you create COVID should be reflective of your target market and target audience, brand proposition, etc. 

Time Stamp: 10:43-15:12

Q. Can you help us by explaining some of the important things SMBs should be focusing on SEO?

  • 13 out of the top 15 clients of ours had record sales, and the other two are bouncing back strong with better strategies.
  • We did a very good database segmentation around clients’ profiles to increase the repeat order value in a short period of time.
  • We also segmented client base around larger businesses that may have a larger lifetime value. 
  • We’ve also capitalized on moments where some of the traditional retailers have been shut, and therefore their customers had to buy online for the first time.
  • The other strategy that worked really well is communicating business messages in the context of the benefit of the situation that’s currently happening. 
  • One of the best growth hacks we’ve been doing in the last two weeks is optimizing the ROI of the remarketing list. 

Time Stamp: 18:23-23:16

Q. SEO is something that cannot necessarily show an ROI immediately. What are your thoughts on this?

  • I’m going to challenge you on that, and I think it’s a dichotomy. 
  • You can do so many things that can impact your SEO performance in 24 hours, such as optimizing the meta titles and meta descriptions, building backlinks, and creating content.
  • For the travel industry, it will take a long time for it to come back, but if you can accept the fact and create a six month or twelve-month strategy, I think you can come back much better. 
  • My advice would be to put yourself in customers’ shoes and use this time to build strategic partnerships that can improve your services towards your clients by several folds. 

Time Stamp: 23:59-27:32

Q. What are the KPIs that can be put forth to the head of a well-established business to invest in SEO?

  • The first way that you should look at it is how much you’re paying for Adwords or paid traffic. It is rented traffic and not providing your brand with any strategic advantage.
  • Your next question should be if you spend $50,000 of that budget on SEO, what could be the breakeven point?
  • With SEO, you can get additional 1500-18000 clicks a month if you’re a large website, and this result should be enough to convince your business head to invest in it.
  • In the long run, the assurance for SEO is that your chances of losing your ranking other than to your competitors are very limited.

Time Stamp: 27:57-29:29

Q. People still believe that if you stop doing SEO, the SEO rankings will drop. Do you agree?

I’d agree with you 100%, most businesses across most categories will have consistent SEO rankings even if you stop doing SEO for a while. 

Time Stamp: 29:39-33:17

Q. How would you suggest a small business with a limited budget to invest their money in SEO?

  •  The first opportunity is, if you are a local business, then you should use Google Maps and local SEO for zoning in on specific postcodes.
  • You can also do Google My Business optimization and local citations to target specific suburbs or areas.
  • If I have a website selling products, I will focus only on 1-2 products, and I’d zone in on keywords and optimize them in product pages.
  • Conversion optimization is the key to SEO success because there’s no point in doing SEO if people don’t take any action when they reach your web page. 

Time Stamp: 33:45-36:13

Q. What is the ideal organic conversion rate for the hospitality industry?

The average conversion rate of most websites is 3%, which is terrible, and a sign that most businesses don’t care about their audience. For restaurants, you should look for 10% to 15% conversions, depending on your brand’s strength. Many small businesses mistake chasing more people, but there’s less risk if you focus on one suburb.

About Ewan Watt

Ewan is a digital marketing expert with 25 years of sales and marketing experience. In 2003, he started one of the first search engine optimization (SEO) services in Australia for Melbourne IT Ltd. He founded in 2006, a digital marketing agency specializing in search marketing, social media & conversion optimization services. Today, Ewan is proud to be part of an amazing team of marketers who are privileged to help grow their customers' sales in Australia and all over the world. Website | LinkedIn | Facebbok | Instagram

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