Manchester in Lockdown

How SEO Will Help Manchester Based Businesses to Thrive in the ‘New Norm’

Posted by Paul Smith | July 14, 2020

It has been several months since the outbreak of COVID-19 was officially named as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and during this time we have seen the business landscape change substantially, on both a physical and a digital level. Specialising in digital marketing in Manchester, here at Search Creative we offer a portfolio of high-quality services to businesses across a variety of sectors to help them to grow and flourish, even in challenging circumstances.

Let’s take a few moments to understand the current state of the digital landscape and explore how specialised search engine optimisation (SEO) and effective pay-per-click PPC management in Manchester can help businesses like yours to strive for sustainable successes as these unprecedented circumstances transform into what can only be described as our collective new normal.

How COVID-19 has impacted the digital landscape

Businesses of all shapes and sizes across the globe have been forced to adapt and alter their business models and although March saw retail sales decline by more than 8%, the e-commerce landscape experienced unprecedented levels of growth in April. From support payments issued by governments to businesses implementing new strategies that will help them to survive this difficult time, there are a variety of reasons why this decline and growth has taken place. Crucially, it has been highlighted to many digital professionals who are in-tune with the space that SEO and a strong marketing strategy is integral to the success of businesses moving forwards as we all become more acclimatised to the new state of affairs we are now facing.

Online grocery businesses saw growth of more than 100% and several other categories, including electronics, also saw higher than average growth. Businesses offering hybrid click and collect transactions have also fared well and this clearly highlights how the future of retail is certain to become a more digitally integrated space. Importantly, however, the growth that has been observed across the digital sector, in terms of sales and traffic is likely to be sustainable over the long term with the correct strategic approach in place.

There is no denying that consumers’ shopping habits have changed and even when the global pandemic is over, it is extremely unlikely that they will revert back to where they were because people will have had the opportunity to get accustomed to these new ways of shopping. After all, consumer psychologists have consistently reminded us that it takes approximately 65 days for a person to develop new habits that they continue to maintain even when they are not forced or coerced into doing so. So, with our new normal set to continue, this also means that if your business has been struggling during this period, giving appropriate thought and attention towards your digital strategy is imperative to the future of your business.

The fact that more consumers are actively spending more time online and on social media is clearly playing a key role, which is precisely why only a tiny percentage of businesses are choosing to scale back or pause their advertising. From ensuring that consumers have access to steady streams of useful information to keeping up with increased video consumption levels, the digital media industry is devising new ways to satiate this unprecedented increase in demand.

At the heart of this marked shift to the digital space is search and content optimisation, which means that now is the ideal time to refine your SEO strategy and hone your approach to content to appeal to these new streams of online traffic. The good news is that SEO can be used in myriad ways to protect the future of your business, help you to prepare for post-pandemic developments, and even pivot your offering to appeal to an audience that will help your business to thrive. Remember, it is possible to devise cost-effective approaches to SEO and online marketing that can deliver a substantial return on investment (ROI).

Dedicated to delivering first class SEO in Manchester, the Search Creative team are experienced, knowledgeable and well-placed to provide the advice businesses need to survive challenging circumstances and capitalise on the opportunities that can arise from tough situations.

The future of online marketing in Manchester

Content has been a core component of digital marketing for some time but as consumers spend more time interacting with the digital space, it is only becoming more important. We frequently speak with businesses that are reluctant to invest in digital content, which is something we expect to see more frequently as the extent of the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses continues to emerge. Here at Search Creative, however, we are dedicated to communicating that ceasing content efforts can result in significant, lasting damage that will ultimately affect your bottom line.

It is consistently the case that websites that are frequently updated with fresh content secure higher rankings and higher click-through rates (CTRs) because they are rewarded by Google’s Freshness algorithm. This is why, even if you are seeing a decline in online traffic, investing in the velocity of your content marketing is essential. The key to driving success in this area lies in ensuring that relevancy remains a priority. So, while some businesses are hyper-focused on targeting a series of COVID-19 keyword trends, it only makes sense to follow in these footsteps if it is relevant to your business. If this is not the case, then you must focus your attentions elsewhere to drive the kinds of results you want to see.

As more businesses begin to understand the importance of maintaining a visible online presence, the digital arm of many sectors is only set to become more competitive. Ensuring that your business is hyper-visible to consumers looking for companies like yours will ultimately have a significant impact on your revenue growth moving forwards. Although this won’t be an immediate outcome for many businesses, as some sectors are seeing a decline in sales over the short-term, investing in this aspect of your operation can have long-term benefits that will ensure you can continue to trade into the future.

For many businesses at the moment, pivoting away from sales-focused content will help them to deliver the value their audience are looking for. If your business offers services or sells products that consumers aren’t investing in right now, focusing on building brand awareness should be your top priority. From showcasing your expertise to sharing your knowledge, earning the trust of your audience is a powerful approach and makes a lasting impression.

As an experienced team offering digital marketing in Manchester, the investment in excellent content consistently plays a key role in the strategies we devise and implement for our clients. In addition to helping businesses to attract new streams of high-quality traffic, presenting your business as a leading figure within your niche will help you to establish a sense of trust and authenticity, which will appeal to the emotions of your target audience and ensure that your business is one of the first that comes to the minds of your readership when they think about the services and/or products you offer.

The value of partnering with an agency specialising in SEO in Manchester

Although good SEO requires an initial upfront investment, it can deliver excellent traffic equity over both the short and long-term. The content you optimise and share now can serve your business long into the future, as the ability to update it to reflect the evolving needs and goals of your business ensures the longevity of your investment.

A strong SEO strategy begins with an in-depth technical audit because this is one of the best ways for businesses to prepare for the future. Technical audits look at everything from the structure of your website to your content to identify potential refinements and new opportunities for engagement and growth. We, alongside many other digital professionals, recommend that all site pages sit no more than three clicks from your homepage, which is why it is imperative for your site’s structure to be logical and carefully considered.

Similarly, now is also the ideal time to address issues that you may have been putting off for some time. As Google prepares to implement mobile-first indexing for all sites in September, optimising for this is vital to ensure that your site is able to maintain the best possible positions in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search terms and phrases. From guaranteeing that search engine crawlers can access every part of your site to ensuring that your content remains consistent across both the desktop and mobile versions of your site, there are myriad steps that can be taken to boost your search performance at a time when more consumers are using digital tools to find and connect with new businesses offering the products and/or services they require.

Now is also an excellent time to optimise your content for lead generation. Building your email subscriber list will help you to nurture leads that you can work on successfully converting later down the line. This approach is an ideal way to keep your audience engaged and ensure your brand remains in their thoughts, even if you are simultaneously seeing a slow down in sales. To do this effectively, it is imperative to look at why and how consumers want to connect with brands like yours.

From being entertaining to offering personalised incentives to purchase, there are a variety of ways to forge meaningful and mutually beneficial connections with your audience. Focusing on the content and ensuring that you are consistently delivering value is key to capturing the attention of the people you want to impress. Additionally, integrating well-placed and carefully considered calls-to-action (CTAs) within this valuable content is critical to encouraging your audience to continue engaging with your brand.

The work you do here will naturally enhance the user experience (UX) you are offering, which will actively demonstrate to your audience that you are in-tune with their needs and want to tailor your services to meet their expectations.

High-quality PPC Management in Manchester

Whether you want to advertise your business on a local, regional, national or global level, effective PPC strategies require careful management from teams with the knowledge and expertise to respond to shifting landscapes and the emergence of new opportunities. While consumer priorities were once levelled at brand, price and quality, availability is now a major concern in the minds of shoppers when choosing which retailers to purchase from. If you are confident that you can meet the expectations of specific subsections of your target audience, focusing on connecting with them via PPC advertising is likely to deliver a strong ROI.

Whether your Manchester based business wants to capitalise on an increase in online transactions or emphasise your buy online and pick up in store services, optimising your content and search offering is going to be key to your continued success moving forwards. Remember, as more physical stores are permitted to reopen, the reaction to this from consumers will vary and it is likely that viewpoints will remain uneven for the foreseeable future as concerns over infection are heightened and tempered as and when new developments are reported. As digital commerce is safe and more consumers have become accustomed to shopping in this way, the new buying behaviours we are seeing are unlikely to subside.

So, if you’re looking to partner with an experienced team specialising in optimisation and online marketing in Manchester, Search Creative has what it takes to ensure that your business stands out for all the right reasons, even in the most challenging circumstances.

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