Effects of COVID-19 on Search Engine


No one is unaware of the effects of Corona COVID-19 on the world. There is not a single sector that is untouched by the destruction done by the Corona COVID-19 outbreak all around the world. In this blog, we are going to discuss the significant shift in the search behavior of search engines due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many SEO experts have found certain shifts in the way the search engine works after COVID-19 spread in the US. When we asked about this situation to Peter Meyers (a marketing scientist at Moz) he said, “We don’t know right now if the web is changing if Google is changing something if people’s behavior is changing; but, we also know that people are just doing things so differently that it’s nearly impossible to set apart.”

This global pandemic has caused all of us to alter our priorities that have, in turn, resulted in the changed behavior of the search engine. Click here to know about this situation in detail. In an event with Meyers, Olga Andrienko, and MordyOberstein, we have discussed the extent of the changed behavior of search engines and the causes behind this change.

Volatility in Ranking
There is an algorithm by Rank Ranger that measures the search results on daily basis for over 10K keywords and domains. Speaking about this algorithm Oberstein said, “From March 15 through April 3, you’re talking like 16 days of volatility – that has not happened in last few years.”

Andrienko gave a proper explanation regarding this matter and said, “Google has different algorithms for every industry, and seeing changes across industries meant for us that the competition and drastic changes in search behavior must have caused the algorithm to understand and behave differently and give different results or update the SERPs.”

Content on the website is being updated rapidly
When tons of precautionary measures triggered demands for certain materials in large amounts, the concerned websites have been updated accordingly. Due to the Corona outbreak, most of the countries are under lockdown so there are limited products that can be delivered. And, to meet this demand websites need to be updated (they have to remove unnecessary products from their website and add more essential products daily) accordingly. Meyer commented on this issue by saying “Huge e-commerce sites suddenly have to show all their products are out of stock or remove products or add products. We are seeing massive changes to sites that trigger index changes and ranking changes.”

Many sites are providing items and services that were unavailable on those sites in earlier times. Most of the sites are promoting online transactions and other delivery options that the common man can find useful. Businessmen have started to work on long-term goals to cover the post-COVID economic crisis.

A recent change in Google’s search algorithm
Heynes said about the way Goole search is working when you search something related to health issues. Google is managing the search result in such a manner that only the pages from some authorities will show up at the top when someone searches for a health query. Meyer hinted at this issue saying that Google is also unaware of the extent up to which this modification will change the search algorithm. When we asked about this issue, Heynes said, “We had one client who, at the beginning of all this, had a post that went well, all about how to make Hand sanitizer. And then, all of a sudden, they were on page three – they were ranked top three for that.” “And you almost wonder if it’s possible that Google’s algorithms managed to figure out that the way people are searching, they are searching for health queries and it seems to be very important to people’s health right now, so we are only going to take results from large, trustworthy health authorities.”

Google’s views for the future of this matter
Meyer thinks that there are several causes behind this situation. He said, “I don’t want to over-generalize about it, but when you have user inputs feeding the system, then the algorithm is, to some degree, rewriting itself as our behaviors change – and so, is that us? Is that COVID? Or, is that the algorithm?”

John Mueller from Google said about this issue, “I don’t think that would be happening, these kinds of shifts are things that our algorithms have to watch out for, so it’s not something that I’d say would be specific to this current situation.”

Evolution of the search experience on Google amidst this COVID-19 outbreak
Search results near Corona COVID-19 queries are evolving day by day. Google is adding new features rapidly to cope with this situation. You can see the Alert bar associated with COVID-19 along with a static panel. Heynes said, “I don’t think they’ve written a specific algorithm for ‘here’s what we do because of the coronavirus’; they’re adapting to how the world changes their searches. The trick for us now is in trying to interpret what’s happening.”

We as bloggers try to keep you updated in this time of crisis by giving you the best information that we can find from authentic sources. Let us know in the comment section below if something is lacking in this blog.

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