As 2020 comes to an end, it is time for us to reflect on the important lessons we can learn about the value of having a diversified, agile, and pandemic proof business model. Covid-19 has impacted every facet of our lives and not a day goes by that we’re not reminded of the state of our local economies, which means we have a lot of work to do to make 2021 a year of growth and expansion.
Our team at 1st on the List has seen the very real effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our client’s businesses. While many businesses in the tourism sector saw sudden drops in website traffic, other industries such as insurance, personal finance, and e-commerce saw a surge in organic traffic.
“2020 has been an interesting year… We’ve seen the world turn digital faster than any of us were expecting, for better or for worse. This transition was an inevitable reality businesses were going to be faced within the following years. The real opportunity exists for the businesses who are ready to adapt, evolve, and develop an online presence. If SEO, PPC, and social media are not at the forefront of your company’s 2021 marketing strategy – you will fall behind.” – President of 1st on the List, Chris Genge
Admittedly 2020 was a difficult year for tourism as a whole, but the industry showed how truly resilient and customer-focused they were. Many of our tourism-related clients quickly adapted from targeting national/ international customers to attracting local and regional customers looking to stay close to home. Decision-makers quickly recognized the shift in consumer-behaviour and pivoted to a more pandemic appropriate business model; Marriott hotels imposed stricter cleaning protocols to regain consumer confidence, Air Canada increased their cargo holds to improve our global supply chains and local tourism boards marketed staycations to promote safe vacation options.
Restaurants saw significant drops in walk-in traffic which caused a surge of businesses signing up for food delivery to assist in serving their customers. Businesses that were early adopters of food delivery saw a massive influx in delivery/ take-out orders which helped balance the effects of the pandemic. Across North America, restaurant associations worked in close contact with the provincial/state and municipal governments to increase patio capacity and enforce stricter cleaning protocols. Restauranteers represent a significant portion of our local entrepreneurs and have demonstrated their ability to problem-solve, adapt, evolve, and move quickly through challenging situations.
The real newsworthy articles of 2020 are stories of decision-makers taking action by improving consumer safety and creatively solving some of the world’s most challenging issues. As business owners and decision-makers, what can we do to prepare for a more fruitful 2021 and beyond? How can we win the internet in 2021?
SEO & COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggering significant changes in online consumer behaviour, making SEO more important than ever.
- 10% of online purchases have increased by 6 to 10 percentage points across most product categories. (UNCTAD)
- 61% of consumers won’t return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing. (Forbes)
- Organic search is 5.66x more likely to be clicked than paid search. (Moz)
COVID has also resulted in a sudden increase in business owners trying to sell their product or service online.
- Restaurants have launched online ordering.
- Brick and mortar retail stores have launched online eCommerce stores.
- Counsellors are now providing private online sessions.
- More schools are offering more online learning options.
Statistics on business owners turning to online strategies show the following trends:
- 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so. (AI Multiple)
- Digitally mature companies are 26% more profitable than their less mature peers. (MIT)
The real winners of 2020 were businesses that previously invested in online marketing. Consumer spending did not disappear, they just changed how they bought things: online became the holy grail of shopping and services. Some statistics to prove the importance of transforming to a digital-first strategy:
Online Ordering Saves Chipotle
In Q2 2020, digital sales grew 216.3% year over year to $829.3 million, the Company’s highest-ever quarterly level, and represented 60.7% of sales. (Chipotle)
Cyber Monday 2020
Online sales for Cyber Monday 2020 grew by 15.1%. Consumers spent a record $10.8 billion, shattering previous online shopping records. (Roi Revolution)
Digital Key To Survival
44% of companies have already started a digital-first approach to operations and customer engagement; 27% say digital transformation is a matter of survival; 55% of companies without a digital transformation believe they have less than a year before they start to lose market share. (Forbes)
56% of CEOs say digital improvements have led to increased revenue. (Forbes)
Achieve Business Goals
Digital-first companies are 64% more likely to achieve their business goals than their peers; and 39% of outperforming companies have a fully integrated digital-physical strategy. (Forbes)
The 10-year transition to all-things-digital was compressed into 3 months. And know this: consumers will NOT RETURN to previous buying habits. New buying habits have been formed and online-everything will only continue to grow.
- 4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60% of the world’s total population. (Datareportal)
- The global total of internet users grew by 346 million in the 12 months dating July 2019 to July 2020. On average, this means that roughly 11 new users come online for the first time every second since July 2019. (Datareportal)
- Akami reports that global internet traffic has grown by as much as 30% this year. (Datareportal)
- More than half the world now uses social media, with users growing by more than 10% over the past year to 3.96 billion. (Datareportal)
- 23% – 70% of internet users, aged 16-64, who report spending significantly more time online during COVID-19, on multiple devices. (Datareportal)
Who Will Win The Internet In 2021?
The winners of 2021 will be the businesses that adapt quickly and aggressively to the new buying habits.
- Quality Website – Companies who invest in developing high-quality websites with in-depth content, helpful resources, and easy-to-use navigation will see huge benefits.
- Custom SEO – SEO will be the most important marketing strategy for every business. Here are some tips for SEO in 2021.
- Online Visibility – Marketing teams will be increasingly focused on how to improve search rankings, launch successful PPC campaigns, and grow their social media following.
2021 SEO Opportunities
The biggest SEO opportunities for 2021 lie in the following areas:
- High-quality websites with excellent user experience, attractive design, and easy to navigate.
- 57% of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive. (Omnicore)
- Engaging written content that informs and provides real value to the reader.
- 72% of online marketers describe excellent content creation as their most effective SEO tactic. (Isitwp)
- Optimized video content that blends information and entertainment to the reader.
- Having a video thumbnail in the search results can double your search traffic. (Brainshark)
- Page experience optimization: web pages that are fast and safe.
- Two seconds is all you get when it comes to website load time. Anything longer increases bounce rates by 50%.
- 85% of people will abandon a purchase if they’re dealing with an unsecured website
Is Your Business Ready To Win 2021?
Do you need some help making sure your SEO for 2021 and beyond is up to scratch? We’ve got your back, and we can do it all from a perfectly acceptable social distance (i.e., remotely). Contact our SEO Experts by calling toll-free 1-888-262-6687 or contact us online.