Tag: content marketing

Freedom day: What this means for SEO

Freedom Day has officially arrived, marking the end of all Coronavirus restrictions in the UK.

Thousands of businesses have suffered at the hand of these stringent restrictions over the past 2 years, so many are now breathing a sigh of relief. However, the era of uncertainty is far from over.

The global pandemic directly impacted search trends, shopping habits and SEO and in a way that no one could predict. The eCommerce industry thrived whereas the hospitality sector was left to starve.

As we begin to traverse life after the pandemic, we must ask ourselves: what does the return to normality mean for SEO? Will pre-pandemic search trends return overnight? Or have our habits changed for good? We explore this in more detail in this article.

The impact of COVID on search

The global population was thrust into a world of lockdowns, curfews, Zoom quizzes and social distancing virtually overnight. So, it’s no surprise that online searches changed dramatically to reflect this new, unconventional lifestyle.

We’ve taken a closer look at the direct impact that the pandemic had on online search habits below…

Pre-pandemic search trends

If we take a look at some of the most popular UK searches in the year before the pandemic, we can see some clear differences.

Major sporting events such as the rugby and cricket world cups dominated search trends over the year. Whereas, in 2020, Coronavirus and Eat Out to Help Out were amongst the most-searched topics.

From this, it’s clear to see our searches reflected the UK populations’ daily life when things were normal. For example, large gatherings at sporting events were a regular occurrence. People could watch the latest blockbusters at the cinema and major TV shows were produced and aired as normal.

In terms of SEO, this meant that strategies focused on the here and now, rather than the future.

Search trends during COVID

The UK lockdown in March 2020 incited a huge shift in online search trends. This is reflected in Google’s Year in Search 2020.

Of course, Coronavirus dominated searches in the UK and worldwide. However, a wealth of other key themes emerged; reflecting the UK populations’ adjustment and adaptation to life indoors.

How-to and DIY queries soared:

In true British fashion, searches for afternoon tea deliveries peaked, as well as searches for many other delivery-related terms:

In addition, searches that reflected the nation’s uncertainty emerged:

All of these factors, and our inability to leave our homes, gave rise to a boost in online retail sales and the eCommerce sector in general. In 2020, online retail sales grew by 37% in the UK – this is triple the growth rate of 2019!

Some of the sectors that benefitted the most included:

  • Electricals e.g. hair clippers, home-office equipment
  • Home and garden e.g. garden furniture and DIY equipment
  • Health and beauty e.g. home beauty treatments, healthcare

However, online clothing sales suffered as the need for outerwear, formal clothing and occasionwear basically vanished.

SEO became more important than ever in 2020, as many businesses pivoted towards online channels in order to survive.

Shopify’s revenue skyrocketed in 2020 as sign-ups to the platform increased dramatically; the number of new stores created increased by 71% between the first and second quarter of 2020.

It’s essential that SEO strategies adapted to these changes in consumer habits, whilst tentatively preparing online businesses for the latest Coronavirus updates and the easing of restrictions.

Local SEO, whilst not totally redundant, was put on the back burner for many online businesses. However, for those that were fully operational, tools like Google My Business became essential for informing customers of new opening hours; contact-free pick-up/drop-off services; social distancing measures and proximity.

In terms of content marketing, more long-form, informational content pieces were needed to answer consumers how-tos and DIY queries, as well as COVID-related questions.

Post-COVID search trend predictions

As we emerge from the pandemic and restart life without COVID-restrictions, it’s only natural to wonder what the future holds for SEO.

Some of our predictions are as follows:

  • Nightlife, hospitality and events come back with a bang
  • Greater focus on health and wellness
  • Social distancing measures and mask mandates remain
  • Demand for international travel increases significantly
  • Remote working is here to stay

Which industries were affected the most?

We’ve taken a look at the events over the past year to see which industries were impacted the most by COVID.

eCommerce

The eCommerce industry offered a lifeline for consumers that couldn’t leave their homes. Online shopping and door-to-door deliveries soared giving the sector an unexpected boost.

Research from Ofcom found £113 billion was spent online by British consumers in 2020 – a 48% increase on the year before.

Travel and tourism

Global travel came to a complete halt in 2020, as countries around the world closed their borders to protect their citizens from the new virus.

According to ONS data, 96% fewer people visited the UK in Q2 of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. As well as this, turnover in the travel and tourism sector fell to just 26% in May 2020. By contrast, all other industries achieved a turnover rate of 73.6% in the same period.

Construction

The construction sector was amongst one of the worst-hit by the pandemic. Almost a fifth of construction firms stated that the pandemic decreased their turnover by over 50%.

Unsurprisingly, over 80% of construction firms also had to cancel or postpone projects as a direct result of COVID.

Law

The legal industry covers many areas, some of which benefitted from the pandemic, whereas others suffered.

For example, employment law firms saw a significant increase in inquiries from employers and employees over COVID. Whereas, conveyancing and property law firms struggled following the temporary closure of the housing market.

Hospitality

The hospitality industry essentially became redundant over the course of the pandemic. Social gatherings were banned, social distancing measures were implemented and nightlife establishments closed completely.

The impact of this is likely to be felt for a significant amount of time after the pandemic subsides. Economic output in this sector was down 90% in April 2020, compared to the year before.

How does this impact SEO campaigns?

For those who weren’t previously trading online, the pandemic highlighted a need to go digital – fast. This increased demand for high-quality SEO content, conversion-friendly copy, website design and more.

In many cases, SEO strategies were also geared towards survival, damage control and bounce-back.

For hospitality, construction, legal and travel firms that ceased trading during the pandemic, the main focus of SEO was to prepare for society to re-open and protect rankings.

Going forward, SEO strategies should be more focused on getting back to pre-pandemic traffic levels and conversions – and maybe even exceed them!

Check out our guide to marketing in a post-pandemic world more information.

The (potential) solution

We can no longer afford to think short-term when it comes to digital marketing and SEO. As we’ve seen, this leaves businesses vulnerable to attack, when unexpected economic events occur.

Whilst we can’t predict the future, we can certainly put the right measures in place to ensure your online strategies aren’t hit hard like this again.

Future-proofing your SEO campaigns, amongst other things, is the key to improving the longevity of your business.

How CandidSky can help

Here at CandidSky, we adopt a long-term approach to all of our SEO strategies and campaigns. We’ll show you the right search terms to target to ensure your business thrives long after the pandemic. Get in touch with one of our SEO experts today to get started.

How to identify gaps within your content

screenshot of ahrefs site explorer tool

Content gap analysis (CGA) should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Why? It’s useful for spotting potential topics, keywords or even article layouts and headings that your content may be missing. This will help you to provide more useful content for your website visitors, as well as helping you get ahead of the competition.

In this article, we’re going to be delving deeper into the world of content gap analysis, so you can use it to your advantage.

What is content gap analysis in SEO?

Content gap analysis does exactly what it says on the tin. This content marketing strategy involves comparing your content to similar well-performing articles or landing pages and analysing what’s missing. This is also a key component of competitor analysis (we discuss this in more detail here).

There are a whole host of tools you can use to carry out a content gap analysis, but one of the simplest ways to look at the pages that are ranking on the first page of Google’s SERPs. You can compare factors such as:

  • Content length
  • Visuals
  • Headings
  • Topics
  • Structured data
  • Content detail

This technique also requires some self-reflection to help you see whether your content is really the best it can be.

The benefits

In terms of SEO, there are many ways you can benefit from conducting a content gap analysis. However, it’s essential to remember that you’re always creating content for an end-user as well as a search engine. So providing more useful information on a topic will help to improve your user experience too.

CGA can also offer the following benefits:

  • Improving SERP rankings
  • Increase conversions
  • Identify less-competitive niches to target
  • Gain a competitive advantage

Common content gaps to look out for

Content gaps can vary between industries, but there are some key areas where people fall short. This includes the following…

Outdated content

If your content is old or outdated, this could be harming your rankings. In general, it’s good practice to refresh and update your content every so often to ensure it’s still relevant.

Content detail

Does your content effectively answer all of your website visitors’ questions? If the answer is no, it’s likely that your web page isn’t detailed enough. Fortunately, keyword research and a CGA can help you to identify topics to include to make your landing pages and blog posts more detailed.

Usability

Usability and UX are both key factors to consider when comparing content to competitors. Users rarely want to see a large block of text on a web page. Therefore, it’s vital to make sure your content is user-friendly and easy to read to improve your chances of SEO success.

This also ties in with Google’s page experience algorithm update. Sites that don’t provide a positive page experience will not rank as well as those that do.

What is the best strategy for content gap analysis?

In reality, there’s no one set way to conduct a content gap analysis. However, there are some key areas you should cover to ensure your analysis hits all bases.

Analyse the buyer journey

Looking at your buyer journey can actually help you to create demand for your product or service. The buyer journey typically involves three stages:

  • Awareness – Potential consumer has a problem but is unsure of what it’s called
  • Consideration – Potential customer has found the name of their problem and is now researching solutions
  • Purchase – Potential customer has found the solution to their problem and is now looking for the best available option

You can now create content to target people in different phases of the buyer journey. For example:

  • Awareness content – Informative and solves problems e.g. how-to’s and guides
  • Consideration content – Persuasive and authoritative e.g. whitepapers and reports
  • Purchase content – Personalised and high-value e.g. customer stories, reviews, demonstrations and free trials

Keyword research

The keyword research process will provide invaluable insights into your content. It will help you to identify terms users are searching to find products or services like yours. Once you’ve found a selection of relevant, long-tailed and short-tailed keywords, this will form the basis of your content marketing strategy.

With tools like Ahrefs, you can also find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for with the Site Explorer tool.

Review your existing content

It might sound simple, but one of the best ways to identify content gaps is taking a critical look at your own website content. You’ll need to ask yourself:

  • Does the page/copy answer all of your potential customer’s questions?
  • Is it too long/short?
  • Does your content align with the customer journey?
  • Are there any topics you haven’t covered yet? (Your keyword research will help you with this)

By taking a deep dive into your own content, you’ll easily be able to spot areas for improvement and create a priority list. Start with the least SEO-friendly pages first to see the biggest impact.

Review competitor content

Analysing competitor content can help you improve your copy significantly. It’s also an essential part of a successful content marketing strategy. There are many different ways to do this too. This includes:

  • Looking at competitors that are ranking higher than you in the SERPs
  • Using tools like Screaming Frog and Buzzsumo to get a full list of your competitor’s website pages
  • Look at your main competitors’ website structure – are there any service or category pages that your site is missing?
  • Review competitors’ blog post content to see if there are topics you have missed or you can improve on

You’ll need to sift through your competitors’ content to find the most valuable and relevant pages. It’s important to remember that copying other peoples’ content directly can negatively impact your search engine rankings. Therefore, it’s best to take inspiration and improve on your competitors’ content to protect your site’s SEO. Take a look at our guide on this here.

Content gap analysis tools, tips & tricks to use

There are countless SEO tools out there for you to use for your content gap analysis. This includes a combination of free and paid-for tools that you can use to streamline this process.

Ahrefs Content Gap tool

The Ahrefs Content Gap feature eliminates all the hard work when it comes to analysing competitors’ keywords. The tool allows you to enter the URLs of your competitors, as well as your own, and it will tell you which keywords they are targeting and ranking for and you’re not.

screenshot of ahrefs site explorer tool

Seobility’s TF*IDF tool

You can use the TF*IDF tool to find out which keywords most websites use to describe a particular topic. You can then use this information:

  • For competitor analysis
  • To find out common keywords used in your sector
  • To optimise website content
  • To find ideas for new content

screeenshot of the seobility tf idf tool

Whilst you only get 3 free searches per day, this can provide an in-depth insight into the keywords you may have missed and can use to improve your website copy.

How the Candidsky team can help

Confused by the concept of a content gap analysis? Don’t worry, leave the hard work to us! Here at CandidSky, our content marketing strategists will work closely with you to create a bespoke SEO campaign that generates valuable, targeted traffic to your site.

Get in touch with a member of our team today to get started.