How does search engine optimization (SEO) shine during a pandemic, and how can B2B marketers make sure they’re doing all they can with the platforms and tools at their disposal?
For decades SEO platforms have been an integral part of the marketing and research efforts of growing numbers of major B2B brands — each offering a seemingly unending array of ever more helpful features, along with the data insights needed to help businesses succeed.
With 51 percent of primarily B2B global marketing professionals seeing data insights and analysis as the single most important element when implementing a marketing technology stack, SEO platforms are poised to deliver the martech information businesses are eager to get.
With so many powerful SEO platforms available, how can B2B marketers best put these tools to use during our challenging days of COVID-19, when all industries are in a state of flux?
We asked some of the top SEO platforms for tips to help marketers successfully weather the pandemic — helpful advice that can serve to guide many areas of your marketing efforts during this uniquely challenging time.
Let’s jump right in and take a look at nine of the top SEO platforms including Serpstat, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, SpyFu, WooRank, Majestic, inLinks, and Searchmetrics, listed in random order.
1 — WooRank
WooRank offers a wide array of SEO and website insight tools including keyword research, site crawling and reporting, SEO monitoring, along with sales tools, a browser extension, and other utilities helpful to digital marketers in both the B2B and B2C realms.
WooRank chief executive Adam Lynch sees SEO strategy as key both for our current pandemic situation and during the months and years ahead.
“Continuing to invest in your long-term SEO strategy will help you survive our current challenges and set you up to thrive once this ends — and it will end!”, Adam said.
“In unpredictable times, people turn to search engines for answers. Whether to find an item they couldn’t find in their local store or to learn more about the developing situation, people are searching for more — and you want them to find you. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can use SEO to position yourself in a relevant and topical way to gain visibility. Not to mention, most of us involuntarily have more time on our hands these days, so it makes sense to invest more energy into a solid online marketing strategy,” Adam added.
Implementing a solid digital marketing strategy during a pandemic can be strengthened using platforms such as WooRank. It also takes focus to process both the new challenges and opportunities we’re facing, as our own CEO Lee Odden recently examined in “Four Opportunities for Focus to Improve B2B Marketing.”
“In unpredictable times, people turn to search engines for answers. Whether to find an item they couldn’t find in their local store or to learn more about the developing situation, people are searching for more.” @AdamfLynch Click To Tweet
2 — Moz
Moz offers a variety of SEO software built for smarter marketing, including an impressive SEO tool-set encompassing site audits, rank tracking, keyword research, back-link analysis, along with tools dedicated to page authority, spam scores, and site crawl information.
Marketers hold a particularly powerful position amidst the current challenges presented by COVID-19, and Moz’ senior SEO scientist Britney Muller sees plenty of opportunities for positive action those in our industry can take.
“First ask yourself ‘What can I do to help people in need right now?’”, Britney said. “It doesn’t have to be anything big. Think small. Check on an elderly neighbor, donate a few canned goods to a local food bank, offer up an hour or two for free consulting for struggling businesses. Repositioning yourself into a help-first mindset helps to more appropriately frame how to empathetically market or share any business messaging — a.k.a.: Read the room,” Britney added.
Marketers can lead by bringing a sense of calmness to the chaos of a pandemic. “Anxiety is incredibly contagious but so is calm. When your flight has bad turbulence who do you look to for reassurance that you’re going to be okay? The flight attendants. Do they look worried? Are they calm? Marketers have incredible power to spread some calm in a chaotic world right now. Use it wisely,” Britney urged.
The SEO and other tools provided by Moz can help give your brand or campaign the data insight needed to make sure your marketing efforts are being a helpful and calming force during the challenging period we’re all now living in. Sometimes SEO tools offer a prime method to uncover information that may be going unseen on your website, as our own senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently explored in “5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content.”
3 — SpyFu
SpyFu provides a slew of competitor keyword research tools that have a focus on Google AdWords SEO and pay-per-click (PPC), along with an impressive number of utilities for keyword and back-link research, historical ad data, domain comparisons, rank tracking, and more.
While digging deep into your data goes a long way towards unearthing important information about what your customers are searching for, during the pandemic we all have a rare opportunity to reach outward as well, according to SpyFu founder and chief executive Mike Roberts.
“Right now, some of the best minds in the industry are more available than they’ll be any time in the next 10 years,” Mike said.
“People that normally have a two-year waiting list have had two thirds of their customers bail. Agencies have been hit especially hard. My suggestion – and where I’m actually putting my own money – is to reach out to the best of the best ; the quality and attention you’ll get right now will be a huge return on investment. Massive,” Mike added.
Early on in the coronavirus situation, Mike announced that certain marketers in need may be able to use SpyFu without cost, in “SpyFu is Free for Anyone Who Needs It.”
As Mike suggests, now may be a good time for reaching out in new ways, such as partnering with relevant influencers, as Lee Odden recently explored in “How Influence and SEO Can Drive Customer Experience.”
4 — Majestic
Longtime industry mainstay Majestic’s platform offers abundant SEO back-link and link-building tools, rank and keyword data, metrics history, domain comparisons and a wide range of other useful information intelligence tools for marketers.
Making key adjustments to how we maneuver our business operations during the pandemic can go a long way towards our marketing and personal success, according to Majestic global brand ambassador Dixon Jones.
“Riding out this pandemic has many new challenges, but be thankful that you can work from home,” Dixon said.
“Feeling grateful for anything right now is a milestone! Do not exploit the situation, but at the same time, try not to give away the farm. Instead of contract cancellations, why not offer to pay back half of your retainer each month, within 48 hours of being paid, for the duration of the lock-down? This means you will not need to change any contracts since you are just giving the customer free money, but it tells the banks that both parties are a: Solvent enough to pay in the first place and b: Showing a willingness to continue business when things return to normal,” Dixon noted.
“Stem the immediate losses and reign in what expenses you can without cutting off your ability to run an organization. Cash is far more important than profit in the short term, but if you can, try to envisage what the ‘new normal’ will look like when this is all over and prepare for that. I expect there will be a lot fewer airlines, for example, and society may have been in lock-down long enough to have developed a new societal norm which probably means less face-to-face meetings altogether. That means that some sectors will stay shrunk, whilst others – perhaps virtual reality, or online gaming, health products, home-wares, plants and gardening may all be on the rise as we reassess life’s priorities,” Dixon added.
“On the personal front, that feeling of impending doom can often be mitigated by a cold shower every morning. I kid you not! Turning your shower to ice-cold for 30 seconds has several useful benefits, which I encourage you to look up,” Dixon concluded.
With fewer in-person meetings taking place both presently and — as Dixon mentioned — fewer also likely to be on tap in the future, the power of online collaboration tools has never been greater, as we’ve recently covered in several articles featuring our clients Slack, monday.com, and Sococo, including our senior content strategist Nick Nelson’s “6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely,” and my own piece, “Remote Communication Opportunities For B2B Marketers.”
5 — Serpstat
Serpstat features a powerful selection of SEO platform tools including keyword, competitor and content marketing research, search, advertising and back-link analytics, along with historical SERP and market share data and site audit utilities, among numerous other tools.
Cooperation and thinking outside the box can be beneficial during the challenges coronavirus presents to marketers, according to Serpstat brand and community manager Maria Sereda.
“The times are hard considering the pandemic, still there are ways you may try to stay afloat,” Maria said, specifically listing:
“If you’re an SEO specialist, cut your costs wherever you can, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts at least temporarily, starting from office rentals and finishing with services or tools you’re using. I mean it — apply to the companies and ask them directly which discounts they may offer to keep you as a client,” Maria suggested.
“Make discounts to your services to keep current customers, and offer win-win cooperation if you can exchange services. Closely monitor the situation, search for new opportunities to refocus your business, and offer services to offline companies to help them switch to online mode. Playing out of the box will help you scale new heights,” Maria added.
Thinking outside the box comes in many forms for digital marketers, as I explored in “Content Marveling: Wonder and Astonishment in Marketing” and “Dare to Be Different: 5 Fresh Examples of Innovative B2B Content Marketing.”
6 — SEMrush
SEMrush includes a feature-rich set of SEO platform tools for marketers including extensive online visibility data, market analysis and keyword research utilities, brand and back-link auditing and monitoring, PPC keyword tools, along with an SEO writing assistant tool, among many other features.
Search engines have made changes during the pandemic that smart marketers will make note of, according to SEMrush head of global marketing Olga Andrienko.
“Google is adjusting their results to the change in online search behavior,” Olga said.
“Hobbies, literature, pets and education are among the industries experiencing higher demand. If you’re in those industries, it’s time to create content for most popular queries (free tools: Google auto-suggest and Answer The Public). Also, ads are cheaper now. If you’re in the niche that hasn’t come to a halt, it’s a great time to invest in ads. Try both search and social media. Social media ads are very cheap, audience attention is higher, and competition is lower,” Olga added.
“Third, advice for industries like travel who have suffered the most: Now it’s time to create content to ensure you’re ready for the next season. Analyze your website and your rankings, check the health of your website, and update old content. People will travel again, and you want to be their first choice,” Olga suggested.
“We know how difficult and stressful this time is for every nation,” Olga recently wrote on the firm’s blog in “Coronavirus Economic Impact: Market Winners and Losers of COVID-19.”
“Once we move past this crisis and get everyone well, we have to support one another and focus on repairing the impact on businesses worldwide,” Olga added.
7 — Ahrefs
Ahrefs provides a robust and growing collection of SEO tools for building search traffic and conducting competitor research and monitoring, plus utilities for rank-tracking, site audits, keyword and page-speed analysis, content exploration, and a slew of other marketing tools.
8 — inLinks
Semantic SEO platform inLinks provides a fascinating array of content optimization tools along with search engine result page (SERP) analysis, user intent information, internal linking optimization, schema automation and markup, among numerous other features.
The firm’s chief executive is previously-mentioned Dixon Jones, who has been a leader in the search marketing industry since the 1990s. Dixon was recently interviewed by Barry Schwartz for Search Engine Roundtable in “Vlog #48: Dixon Jones – SEO Legend Mastering Links Tools & Now Semantic Tools.”
9 — Searchmetrics
Searchmetrics offers an extensive selection of SEO tools for digital marketers including features for on-demand search performance and market research, competitive search tracking, plus website auditing and internal link validation tools, among a variety of other powerful utilities.
The pandemic will bring with it new future business models, however marketers should focus primarily on the present challenges, according to Searchmetrics founder and chief innovation officer Marcus Tober.
“In crisis moments like this it is important to focus on what’s important right now and what’s important when the crisis is over,” Marcus shared.
“For companies that did a good job in SEO before, they see SEO paying off more than ever when they have to cut marketing budgets. But still, there might be a good chance to win customers with low and attractive CPAs due to less advertisers. That might not be obvious, but is a chance to use the less competitive market right now,” Marcus added.
“SEO should also be a focus, because when demand rises and advertising costs increase again, starting SEO is too late. As we all know, SEO takes time and patience, and engagement from multiple departments in companies. It might even now be a great opportunity to work on technical stories or content where time for this was too precious before. In the long-run, online marketing will be strengthened from the crisis as companies need to invest more in online as risk management and the potential behavioral shift in how people seek and do business. We definitely will see new business models coming up, all enabled by the crisis,” Marcus said.
Company chief executive Jordan Koene recently sat down for a podcast exploring how to manage SEO in times of crisis.
“We’re going to have to reach out to one another in different ways to educate, inform, and communicate about what is happening in search and how things are unfolding,” Jordan said during the podcast, adding “And I think that’s something that we just should be really thoughtful of and mindful of as this new world order takes place.”
Expand Your B2B Marketing SEO Platform Universe
Thanks to the advanced data insight and SEO features provided by Serpstat, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, SpyFu, WooRank, Majestic, inLinks, Searchmetrics and others, search strategy doesn’t have to be rocket science, even when running extremely complex research reports.
As B2B marketers operating during a pandemic, we hope you’ll take to heart the helpful insight some of the leaders at our featured platforms have kindly taken the time to share with us, and that you’ll keep them in mind when developing your own campaigns and data strategies.
Finally, to further your SEO marketing toolkit, here are four additional articles we’ve published that feature the SEO platforms we’ve examined: