How COVID-19 has Affected Search Engine Rankings

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While working with search engine optimization you might notice a common theme of a certain phrase.  This phrase “It depends”.  While the factors that go into SEO are determined by a lot of things such as location, competition, what the niche is, what the expectations are, and more.  So, of course, how COVID-19 affects the search engine rankings will have the same or similar answer, “it depends”.  While there are many people sitting at home doing nothing, unlike ever before, they are taking the time to figure out ways to keep themselves occupied.  As things unfold there will be unique searches that in normal times we might not see.  Such as “what are non-perishable foods?” for example.  There was a spike in this inquiry as the shelter in place continued to rise.  Let’s take a look at other ways that COVID 19 has affected the online search engines.

The essential eCommerce sites are seeing a boom in sales.

When this all started to become our new reality, the essential sales were booming.  Remember the surge in toilet paper sales?  While that was happening in stores, it was also happening online.  These stores may have been already up and in place and were making sales, however, when there was a surge in the physical stores, you saw it in the online stores as well.  Meaning the search for some of these essential items had a surge in the search results.  Now, more than ever, people are searching for places to buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper.   We even saw “hand sanitizer near me” and “toilet paper near me” search queries pop up, which in normal times we would never have seen.  However, on the flip side of all of this, the luggage sales are down.  There was a huge drop in traffic to travel sites and other sites that aren’t essential and people are just simply not using at this time.

Health and Wellness Sites are Surging

Remember when everyone was doing the Keto diet?  That was a huge!  It had many people searching the web for keto recipes and keto fasting.  This meant that these search inquiries were very popular and had a lot of searches and traffic.  However, as COVID -19 settled in even further, it was less keto and more antiviral.  They are still looking to be healthy but in other manners.  Seems more people are less worried about their weight and more worried about getting their immune system up to par.  Things such as “antiviral foods”, “antiviral herbs” and “antibacterial essential oils” are popular keywords and getting more traffic than they would in normal times.  This is an area that shouldn’t be tread on lightly as people take what they find on the internet to be very serious.

Recipe sites are getting more traffic

Since people cannot go out to their favorite restaurants as they used to, people are searching to make more of that same food at home.  People have more time to cook while they are at home and more time to try new things.  Also, the kids are home so it’s a great time to teach them how to cook proper meals.  If this is an area that interests you, then you should find ways to add recipes to your current website or build one around recipes.  There are many ways to monetize a recipe website and it can be a lot of fun to blog about if you are in fact a foodie.

Travel Websites

This is the perfect example of how Covid-19 is affecting the search inquires.  Most places are locked down and there isn’t anyone traveling at this time. Because of this, the number of inquiries about traveling has gone way down.  Websites for Disney for example or how to save on your next Disney trip are great examples of inquires that normally have a lot of searches but not when Disney is shut down.  People aren’t thinking of traveling currently, they are more into what they are going to do to survive this economic downfall.  Some will still have the means to travel, but they can’t with all of the restrictions.  Also, we have to remember that the restrictions change daily from one place to the next, this unpredictability makes it harder to plan any vacations at this time.

Publishers websites

Things such as the news outlet websites are in higher demand than ever before.  Whether you agree with what is going on in the media or not, one thing is for certain, people are searching for answers.  They want the truth and they want to see the current data, whether that data is accurate or not.  So, if you are thinking about doing a website such as this, be sure you don’t tread lightly on your fact-finding and publications.  This is a time, more than ever, that the average guy can make a place for themselves in the media.  With facts that are backed up with science and reason, people will look to this sort of site as an authority.

Restaurants and bars

In many areas of the country, the restaurants and bars have been shut down completely.  With them being completely closed, then the traffic trends and inquiries are completely down.  However, in other parts of the country, you can get curbside pick-up or delivery.  These places are seeing a lot more traffic for these search terms, so if you are a restaurant that offers this, you need to ensure your website is optimized for it to capture that traffic and search result.  Third-party apps for restaurants are seeing an uptick in traffic and use as well.  These places are Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub, and Postmates for example.  Some of these are even waving fees in order to help out the local restaurants to stay afloat.


Times are really uncertain, we can all agree on that.  The atmosphere and rules are changing daily in some places. Other places are all locked down, while others are opening up.  All these changes are causing the search inquiries to be all over the place. This is a time where you cannot fully depend on what the current trends are.  If your business has been shut down or your industry is shut down, now is not the time when you look at what the current trends are. Try to pull in more data from before, as an idea of what keywords you should be looking at.  This will give you better data to help you navigate what you should be doing for the future when you open back up.