Well, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere in the near future it appears, so it’s time to improve your online business. I already wrote a blog post about how it’s so important to keep your momentum rolling during this difficult time, and if you haven’t checked it out yet you can do so by clicking here.

Right now is the perfect time to be on the offensive side, rather than letting fear and uncertainty drive you crazy. If you allow that to be your main focus your business is going to suffer. I already talked about how the current situation is paving the way for a huge opportunity in terms of moving up in the SERPs and blowing right by the businesses that are in a holding pattern, and now I want to expand a little more — beyond just link building.

Every single one of us has more time on our hands right now — most countries and cities have mandatory stay at home orders in place, with many also having curfews. This time inside at home can be occupied one of two ways.


  • You can lay around worrying, while watching the news, reading online articles, and wasting away scrolling through social media or binge watching Netflix.


  • You can make the most of your time and dedicate a solid portion of your down time to doing things that will help improve your online business.


I’ve put together a list of a dozen things that anyone can do — and they all are essentially free, only costing your time. Time is one thing we all have at our disposal right now. You can either use it intelligently or waste it away. The choice is completely yours. For those that want to make the most out of this down time and leverage it in a way that will help improve their online business, let’s jump right into this.

Use these to improve your online business during this pandemic and lock down..


1. On-Page SEO Audit

This is something so simple, yet many don’t give their on-page SEO the time it deserves because it can be tedious and time consuming, especially for websites with a lot of content or e-commerce sites with a lot of products.

Well, with the extra time on your hands now, it’s the perfect time to dive in and really optimize every little detail of your pages. From titles to content, and descriptions and attributes, these little tweaks and changes can play a huge role in your organic exposure.

There are many guides available that explain all of the different on-page elements you need to focus on and tools like Moz’s checklist and grader and the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. If you are willing to put in the time to cross check every little detail you will position your pages to be more Google-friendly.


2. Internal Linking

Internal linking is also part of on-page SEO, but I felt like it needed its own mention because a lot of people don’t understand why it’s so important. By linking to additional pieces of content, pages, products, resources, etc., you are giving your visitors reason to stay on your website longer.

If they click-through to another page this helps to reduce your bounce rate (visitors leaving without engaging in any other pages on your website) and it increases the average visit duration — both of which contribute to how Google views and values your website.

Think about it — if a website has a low average duration and a high bounce rate that’s a pretty strong indication that the website isn’t helpful. Remember, Google aims to display the best results for its users.



3. Customer Outreach for Reviews

If you sell a product or service on your website you should have a review platform built-in, as well as Schema mark-up set up. Having reviews (the stars) show up in the SERPs can skyrocket your click-through rate, and help you draw clicks away from results above you.

Consumers are naturally attracted to search results that have a higher number of reviews. That is just the nature of the consumer thought process — more reviews means a better company or product right? We know this is not true, but the average consumer assumes this.

The more genuine (and real) reviews you can gather, the better. Now is the perfect time to manually reach out to every previous customer and ask them for a review. Whether that is an email or phone call depends on how many past customers you have and the nature of your business.

Either way, with everyone home now, they surely have the time to write you a nice review. Check up on them. Let them know you value them and even offer a discount. In addition to a review you might also generate some sales.


4. Update Old Content

Updating old content is something that can really benefit your organic traffic, but again, it requires time. Now is the perfect time to update titles in your pages, such as replacing “2019” with “2020” for how-to articles, lists, etc.

You can also identify old blog posts that have high Page Authority and add content. For example, if you have an older post that has strong PA with 1,000 words of content, you can update it and increase it to 2,500+ words and really optimize it with long-tail variations of your main keyword.

Since the PA is already high you have a great foundation to work with. Dive into your Google Search Console to see what pages on your website are receiving impressions on pages two and three of the SERPs and work on those first. Beefing them up can push you to page one of those pages and your traffic numbers can instantly improve.


5. Outreach with a Bribe

If you have a little marketing budget to play with now is a great time to do some creative outreach with a little bribe attached. Put together a list of websites and blogs you would love to secure a link from and shoot your shot.

Find a blog post or resource page on your website (not the homepage) and send a very direct pitch request. Along the lines of:

“Hey, I think this page on our website would be a great reference to add on this page of your website. If you add the link to your website let me know and I will send you a $XXX Amazon gift card for your trouble.”

During this pandemic you will find many people will bite on this. To be effective the card amount will have to be high ($250 to $1,000-ish). Again, if you have the budget this is a great link building strategy to use.



6. Deep-Dive into Your Top Competitors

Now is also a great time to dive into your competition — from spying on their PPC strategy to uncovering their link profile. This information can be used to not only replicate their success, but also to overtake them in both the paid and organic results.

Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs are great for this, and they both offer free trials. SEMrush gives you a 7 day trial and Ahrefs also offers a 7 day free trial. So, there are no excuses. You can literally sign up and do a full week worth of competition research without spending a dime.

Another great research tool is Facebook — go to their Facebook page and under “Page Transparency” click on “See more” and the under “Ads From This Page” click “Go to Ad Library” and you will see all of the ads they are currently running.


7. Dedicate 24 Hours to Speed and Performance Optimization

Improving your website’s speed and load time isn’t difficult if you know what to do and have a little extra time on your hands to really dive in. Well, I just published a blog that explains how to drastically improve your WordPress website speed that you can read here and we definitely aren’t short on extra time right now.

So, there really aren’t any excuses. Also, if you are not running on WordPress you can still pull value from the above referenced post. The basics are the same regardless of the CMS or platform you are using.

It’s something best done in “one sitting” so to say, so block off a day and dedicate it to solely optimizing your speed. You will notice that once you start diving in and making tweaks and running re-checks, you will notice gains and get addicted to improving your speed score. Faster loading websites perform better in the SERPs — fact.


8. Write Hyper Optimized Content (Long Game)

We all know that publishing fresh content is a must, and long-form content is the best, but it either costs a lot of money or a lot of time to write. The downtime midday is a great opportunity to work on some epic long-form posts for your website.

You can make lists of keywords you want to target and build out helpful articles that include a lot of keyword variations, related terms and long-tails — and over time these will play a huge role in your traffic.

Imagine if every blog you write during this down time would pull in an extra 100 visitors a month? Writing 20 epic blog posts would be 2,000 extra organic visits per month. This is hypothetical, but the concept is valid.



9. Schedule 90 Days Worth of Social Media Content

Social media is a marketing channel you cannot ignore, but trying to do it effectively on a day-to-day basis with no plan is a wasted opportunity. When you schedule posts in advance you can do it in a way that is well thought out and designed to build customer trust, provide value, and drive sales.

If you aren’t using something like Hootsuite yet now is a good time to start. The free version works perfectly and you can use the downtime to schedule posts across all social platforms for the next few months. You can always adjust on the fly due to promos, etc. — but this will help reduce the amount of time needed to dedicate to social media marketing in the future.


10. Create Multiple Segmented Email Marketing Sequences

Just like with social media, email marketing is a must-do, and it takes time as well. The more of it you can automate, the better. Now is the perfect time to not only write out your automated email sequences, but also dive into your email data and segment your list.

By breaking your email data into categories like current customers, repeat buyers, leads, cart abandonment, etc. — and writing email sequences specific for each segmented group, you are going to see your conversion rates across your email marketing shoot sky high. Again, this is something that takes time to do, and with the extra time available this is a great project to tackle.


11. Build Out a Referral/Affiliate Program

Many people assume they need an e-commerce website to run an affiliate program. That isn’t the case — any product or service can roll out an affiliate or referral program. Yes, it’s easier in terms of pre-built options if you have a e-commerce store, but service companies can benefit as well.

Landscaper? Offer your existing clients money off their monthly package if they refer a friend or neighbor. Real estate firm? Offer a $500 Amazon gift card for buyer or seller referrals. There are options for every business. Take this time and get creative. The key is to offer something people will be interested in. It has to be rewarding, either financially or in terms of a discount you are offering.


12. Figure Out a Way to Help Locally (and Reach Out to Local Media)

This is related to the pandemic and some businesses can take advantage. Actually, most can if they get creative. The goal here is to see how you can help in some way and then roll out a program to your audience and then also contact the local media.

Local news outlets love to report on businesses that are helping in some way or another. A local restaurant could donate a percentage of take out sales to local charities that are helping those out of work. An online store could donate money the same way.

Or, you could simply order food for hospital workers. Take a picture of the delivery exchange and post it on social media. Local media is doing a good job at highlighting those helping, in any capacity.

If you have the means to help in some way, do it. It’s a great gesture and one that can get you some nice local media exposure and even a link to your website from news sites in your area. These tend to have strong metrics and aren’t easily obtained.



Final Thoughts

There are no secrets listed here — just actionable tips you can work on during this pandemic and downtime that will have a positive impact on your online business. Some will take action and when we make it through this they will be in a much better position than when this started.

Others will make excuses and then complain when they are struggling. Not everyone has the mentality, will, and drive to do whatever it takes — and that is fine. But, there is no excuse for complaining when all is said and done.

If you are willing to put in the work right now it will pay off down the road.

What action items on the list above are you going to address during this down time? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you have any questions drop them below as well and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Stay safe out there amigos!

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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