Search trends have always been a gateway to user behaviour and economic trends. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, the impact on search behaviour, consumer decisions and the role of media continues to evolve.
While we know it’s a respiratory virus, and it is spread through human interaction, there is so much we don’t know. As the pandemic continues to impact people all over the globe, the repercussions of such a significant world event are beginning to change businesses.
Yes, the health and wellbeing of our society is the primary concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as we sit at home in quarantine, many within the digital marketing community are wondering how COVID-19 is going to change the search industry. While we know millions of businesses are being impacted, the nature of search traffic really depends on the industry and field.
The global pandemic is changing and moving very quickly. There are numerous important updates daily, and people are spending more time online than ever before. According to Safari Digital Gold Coast, consumer behaviour through organic search has changed at an immeasurable rate since the beginning of March 2020. Search insight offer an interesting look into the different ways COVID-19 is impacting the way people are using the internet. Here’s what we’ve noticed so far:
Health & Wellness Searches
People are looking to the internet for more information on how they can protect their health, prevent the virus, and health and wellness trends to keep themselves busy during self-isolation.
Considering COVID-19 is a virus, users are also using health and wellness queries in search of Coronavirus information, known symptoms, and home treatments for the symptoms. According to search traffic data, there also seems to be an increase in searches for natural remedies like “antiviral herbs”, “antibacterial essential oils”, and “antiviral foods”.
Ecommerce Stores Selling Essential Products
People have been stocking up on essential products in supermarkets and pharmacies offline. Now, people are looking to make those purchases online too. Search queries related to purchasing necessities have increased significantly since the pandemic outbreak.
The industry seeing the most significant increase is eCommerce stores that stock essential products. More people are looking online to get their essential products like toilet paper, hand sanitiser, sanitary wipes, and thermometers delivered to their door.
If supermarkets are sold out of products, people are going to continue to use eCommerce stores during the pandemic. There has also been a massive increase in search for “near me” queries. Sticking to the social distancing regulations, people are looking for their products either online or very close by.
Travel-based Search Is All Over The Place
More nations are putting travel restrictions in place. With these new travel-based bans, travel and tourism searches have seen a dramatic change. Rather than a steady decline in all things travel-based, the nature of travel searches has changed.
While a lot of users are searching for information on refunds, cancellations, and rescheduling of travel arrangements, there seems to be a lot of people also making queries for “cheap flights” amidst the panic. Whether they are under the impression they should be able to get a good deal amidst the chaos, we’re not really sure.
Naturally, cruise-related and hotel-related search queries have steadily declined. Information on travel restrictions is only becoming more popular.
Search traffic and impressions provide us with an interesting insight into what people are searching for online and offline during the COVID-19 pandemic. While for the moment, it gives us information on user behaviour, it could also be used to help businesses find their footing in such a turbulent time. While we’re not sure how firms and industries are going to be impacted during the pandemic, we can use this information to see what people are looking for.
Ray is a manager at ECA Tech Inc. , Toronto's top Ecommerce software, website development and digital marketing company. He has 23 years of experience in the field of Ecommerce website, software and app development. Ray volunteered in numerous IT related free training courses all over North America and contributes articles on numerous blogs.