For the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelmingly present in our news, affecting everything from our daily lives to politics and the global economy. Google has been publishing regular updates on search trends from the US and worldwide to show how users’ search behaviors have changed since the pandemic hit.
The graph below is an overview of the US interests in the top searched topics of this year. We can clearly see a huge spike in Coronavirus-related terms in the beginning of March, these terms overshadowing news, weather, and topics such as music and sports.
The search terms range from general questions such as “What is the coronavirus?” to specific symptom-related search terms. Queries related to fever, sore throat, and shortness of breath have seen an increase in interest this year, with people trying to Google all symptoms as new ones were being announced, but also to find out about face masks and other preventative measures. While more and more businesses started closing down for an undetermined period, terms related to unemployment and social benefits started rising, with people, especially in the US, where these terms had the most search interest compared to other countries.
To keep track of the new trends in Search, Google has released the Google Trends Coronavirus Hub, which helps track terms for which the interest has risen exponentially. Google has also launched a new website focused on educating the public with relevant facts about the virus, it’s prevention and local resources available to combat the virus. Beyond data and insights gathered in collaboration with relevant health organizations, the website also has resources such as “Essentials for Working from Home”, cooking classes, and workout videos, which can help people stay efficient and motivated during these times.
Keeping track of search trends is important because it gives us an intimate look at how people are reacting to these uncertain times as the pandemic progressed and affected more and more countries. The trends show that while people started searching for COVID-related terms even early on, after March the trends shifted towards more specific questions such as “What is considered a fever?” and “What coronavirus model is the most accurate?”.
Keeping track of search interest is also very important for businesses and organizations that are being affected by the current crisis. Essential businesses have been struggling to respond to an overwhelming increase in demand for online ordering and at the same time creating communication campaigns with a motivating and understanding message for their clients.
Other businesses are struggling to adapt to the big changes in traffic, lower search rankings, sales, and a decrease in most other KPIs.
How can I leverage insights from these search trends in my digital strategy?
Search trends are key to building an effective marketing strategy focused on:
- Communicating with the clients
- Being understanding and facilitating returns where applicable
- Taking a step back from traditional ads
- Building content which will be helpful to users in the context of today’s situation (this is where most searched keywords can be implemented)
Search engine results pages (SERPs) have experienced dramatic changes in the past few months. Keeping track of the newly trending search terms can offer insights about what is important to your users now and can help you incorporate that into your overall marketing strategy, whether it’s adding new blog posts to your website or optimizing your Social Media posts. This is an effective way to not only retain your old customers and users but perhaps capture the attention of new ones.