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How COVID-19 Affects Search Volume

22nd October 2020 | | Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation

Researching and analysing keywords and their search volume is vital in developing a search engine optimisation strategy. Knowing what terms are popular and achievable to rank for is a step in the right direction for funneling users into your website.

What this method also provides in an indication of user search behaviour, for example, “dentist in poole” is more popular than “Where to find a dentist in Poole?” in terms of search volume. It is the same for “dental marketing poole” and “Where to find a dental marketing agency in Poole?” – Nobody would ask the first example in person and would instead say the second example; however, Google’s search algorithm is sophisticated enough to understand user intent to provide relevant results, and in turn this shorthand way of speaking has evolved from that.

User search behaviour is extremely important to be aware of and then aligning your SEO with that knowledge. If a well searched term you’re ranking highly for suddenly drops off with its popularity, so will your traffic. This was the effect of COVID-19 to users searching for dental practices during lockdown and after.

What Changed?

When the news broke of lockdown there was obvious uncertainty of what was to come and what could stay open. Instantly, the public turned to Google to answer their questions:

Searches for: “are dentists open”

From the graph we can see the surge in popularity for information regarding dentists being open once lockdown in the week of lockdown being announced. This is a massive shift in search behaviour, as seen previously there had been much less attention to this question.

Search volume for dental marketing
Taken from Google Trends Data

A spike on the week commencing 16th of August also indicates how COVID news affect user search behaviour. The question gained more popularity after declining to it’s lowest point since March, why could this be? On the 16th of August, WHO announced that all routine and non-essential dental treatments should be put on hold until further notice. The uncertainty of this announcement could very well have prompted users to begin searching for more information once again.

In comparison to how certain terms and phrases can rise, the example below shows keywords that have taken steep declines due to the restrictions.

Searches for: “teeth whitening near me”

dental marketing using google ads
Taken from Google Ads Keyword Planner Data

Using this Data

These trends highlight real-time behaviour and should NOT be ignored. In this case, these are users looking for answers that you could address by providing the necessary information on your website. If a user is having to search whether or not a dental practice is open or not, then they may be reluctant to visit one. Ensure you’re providing peace of mind and a sense of safety to existing and potential patients.

Recommendations of what can be done to relieve users worries:

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