Hannah Mitchell, Croud’s Organic Strategy Director, examines search trends during the lockdown and offers advice to marketers setting a content strategy in advance of a return to normal.

With stores scheduled to open next month according to the lockdown roadmap in England, now is a good time to ask: How did our behaviors change as we got used to the lockdown rituals? And what are consumers looking for online?

If you compare the search data of all three bans for different categories like games, training, baking, and store opening hours, it’s obvious that some of the trends we saw during lock 1 pick up again in lock 3 while others have completely declined . Especially for brands that saw increased traction during Lockdown 1 and adjusted their content strategies accordingly, it is important to maintain that momentum when search trends are still on the rise and to spin when they are on the downside.

Search trends: games and quizzes

Most of the searches related to Zoom quizzes and online games had a huge surge in interest during Lockdown 1, but haven’t seen the same demand since. However, drinking and zoom drinking games had an even higher high in December than they did in April – but this is more due to the season. While board games declined after the holiday season, January puzzle searches still picked up significantly as Lockdown 3 was extended. The likely reason for this could be a number of things – people are more likely to buy more puzzles than board games because they can be played with a smaller number of people, are more diverse, and are a good activity while staying indoors during the colder months.

Comparison of puzzle search requirements 2020 (blue) and 2019 (red):

Search trend: exercise

After the gym closes in Lockdown 1, there has been a huge surge in people looking for home workouts and home fitness equipment. The search for gym membership also peaked in Lockdown 1, likely for people looking for a way to pause or cancel their own. Searches picked up again in the summer when the restrictions were lifted, possibly when people thought the gyms would open again and again. Usually there is a constant demand for gyms with a peak at the end / beginning of the year, but in 2020 demand fell significantly every time there was a lockdown and again in January 2021 which is a peak month every other year would have been .

Comparison of the requirements for finding a gym membership 2020 (blue) and 2019 (red):

Search trend: baking

Baking searches also increased significantly during Lockdown 1 as many were unsure what to do with their time and flour and other bakery supplies sold out as a result. The two most popular activities were baking banana bread and starting a sourdough starter. However, later locks haven’t seen the same level of interest or demand, possibly because people honed their skills and had recipes on hand – or maybe everyone still has their sourdough starter from lock 1.

Banana bread search demand 2020 (red) and 2019 (blue) comparison:

Search trends: opening times

The search for store opening hours reached a slight peak during Lockdown 1 and Lockdown 2, albeit to a lesser extent, before a massive spike around Christmas – likely folks looking for Christmas trading hours. The searches for store closures understandably increased significantly during Block 1, as the situation was completely new. However, these searches have completely decreased. However, the search for new store openings peaked during the year, which the government announced in parallel to both relax and introduce restrictions.

Search for store opening search 2020 and 2019 comparison:

Top Tips for Marketers:

1. Take a step back and look closely at the dates for your brand

Gather your keyword research by searching multiple sources of data and making sure you do this regularly. Checking the search volume is critical as it is important to determine if enough people are searching for keywords to warrant the need to create new content. Then compare that to what Google and other search engines are returning for those keywords and understand the intent of the users. Is it an ecommerce product page or blog content, and if so, what type? Is it a list or a guide?

2. Next, review the areas with the greatest search ability for your brand

This is a combination of assessing which areas seem most desirable from an SEO perspective and which areas are in line with business objectives. For example, you can set 10 different themes to create content that is good for search engine optimization. You can then overlay them with key business goals, such as: B. Sales increase or lead generation. This will help prioritize content and ensure that your SEO strategy has the greatest impact on bottom line.

3. Next, determine whether you need to create new content or optimize existing content

During your audit, you may find that you already have similar or relevant content on the website that you can expand or refine instead of starting from scratch. Make the most of your existing resources and optimize where you can. Two or more similar items of content can compete against each other – cannibalization, as it is also called.

4. Trend hijacking has a time and a place, but SEO performs best when it is best aligned with a company and its goals

Similarly, make sure that you are not optimizing existing content at the expense of other keywords. If you’re removing terms to replace with new keywords that are performing well, first check that those original terms aren’t already driving traffic. You may stop your efforts.

5. Make sure that all new content is incorporated into your site architecture

It is important for users to be able to easily navigate to this content on your website. You should therefore take internal links into account.

6. Most importantly, your content should be evergreen

Content that is current but relevant can exist over time and eventually benefit from traffic during various spikes, as we see with the various locks. When demand falls or rises again, you have the content ready.

The principles of search remain unchanged

While we’ve seen many search trends over the past 12 months, brands can’t be complacent and assume that these trends will continue over the long term. It’s important to regularly access the data – we recommend at least quarterly during the pandemic – to look at areas of new opportunity and rising search trends, and to re-prioritize the content creation pipeline if necessary. The search options themselves can change, but the search principles cannot.

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