How Search Trends For Digital Marketing Terms Have Been Affected By The COVID-19 Crisis In The UK

Everyone can see the impact the COVID-19 Crisis has had on the economy and the wider landscape. A lot of businesses are going to close and a lot of people are going to be unemployed because of this. But, doesn’t everyone know now is the time to step up their marketing activities and start new ventures?

We thought we’d take a look at what the search trends for various digital marketing topics and search queries look like, which I think should provide an indication about what marketing professionals and business owners are turning to – or will turn to – after this crisis and the lockdown is over.

The figures and charts below are from Google Trends and represent search trends in the UK only. It’s worth noting I’m interested in search trends for search terms and not for search topics.

Digital Marketing Search Trends

We can see search for Digital Marketing have been fairly flat for the majority of the past five years, with peaks and troughs consistent seasonal changes. It’s interesting to see the large growth in search for digital marketing, however, that growth started at the beginning of 2020 and saw a drop off for most of the lockdown period with some interest returning in w/c 19th April.

SEO Search Trends

SEO is central to what we do here at GrowTraffic, but SEO has been relatively stagnant as a trend over the last few years. A lot of people we speak to remember the bad old days of SEO and have been burnt and many people have come to believe there’s not a lot that SEO can offer. However, over the last five months that’s definitely started to change. Interestingly, in the same way the interest in Digital Marketing started to increase in January, SEO saw a big increase in January as well. What’s more interesting is that trend continues to increase. This isn’t an area that’s been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Anecdotally, when I speak to SEO consultants and SEO agency owners, this interest doesn’t appear to be translating into a huge increase in enquiries.

SEO Agency Search Trends

I think this is really telling and perhaps corroborates some of the anecdotal evidence I’ve been getting from SEOs and agency owners. Whilst there has been an increasing trend of interest in SEO online this year, the trends for people looking for other people to help them with their SEO is going in the opposite direction. This would suggest to me that a lot of the search traffic is for people who are looking to do their own SEO. Over the years I’ve picked up a lot of traffic and trade for terms such as SEO consultant, SEO consultancy and freelance SEO consultant, however, data for these queries aren’t available through Google Trends.

Content Marketing Search Trends

We use content marketing as a core tactic in our traffic growth strategies, however, it’s notable that the trends for this topic have been slightly depressed over the last few years. I think that’s because there was a huge growth in interest in content marketing and everyone thought it was the answer to marketing online, but now we’ve all come to realise it’s just one part of what we need to be doing in order to succeed online. Whilst there was also a big uptick in searches for content marketing terms in January, we can see there was a drop off during the Criss, but I’m pleased to see that didn’t last as long as the more general digital marketing drop.

Content Marketing Agency Search Trends

When looking at the trends for people searching for content marketing agency terms we can see a similar pattern to what we saw in SEO agency terms, that whilst there has been an increase in the number of people searching for the tactic there’s no noticeable increase in the number of people searching for an agency to carry out their content marketing for them. This would suggest a lot of businesses are looking at how they can do it inhouse.

Pay Per Click Search Trends

Pay per click search trends reflects those seen in other digital marketing tactics.

Email Marketing Search Trends

Email marketing search trends seem to buck the trend of some of the other digital marketing tactics. There is a slight growth in interesting in this, but it’s not huge. I think this is because most businesses understand how to do email marketing themselves – or think they do – and most businesses find it tough to see beyond standard company newsletters when they think about email marketing.

Social Media Marketing Search Trends

In a similar manner to some of the other digital marketing tactics we’ve looked at, there has been a definite increase in interest this year, however, there was a small drop around the time of the coronavirus lockdown but this now seems to have recovered.

Social Media Agency Search Trends

I’ve removed ‘marketing’ from this search because I believe most people will search for a social media agency rather than a social media marketing agency  – which is just that bit worried. People did appear to be searching more for the term at the start of the year but this dropped off during the coronavirus lockdown and it’s something that doesn’t seem to have recovered with the trendline returning to the pre-2020 trend.

Web Design Search Trends

OK, so I know web design isn’t really a digital marketing trend in the same way that content marketing is a digital marketing search query, but it’s a service we offer and I think it’s valuable to understand how web design is affected by all this. After all, if there is a huge spike in web design search now, you can expect there will be a growth int he digital marketing tactic searches in the coming months. The thing is there is an increase, but it’s not huge. It’s just in line with everything else that’s going on.

Marketing Search Trends

As a sort of control in this research, I’ve also looked at search trends for Marketing in general. I think the most noticeable thing about this trend is there is no real recovery in the more general marketing searches in lockdown, suggesting there is still some way to go before people are confident to spend on things general brand advertising.

What We Can Learn From Looking At Digital Marketing Search Trends

It’s clear there was an upsurge in people searching for marketing related content since the start of 2020. Some of this may be attributed to the ‘new decade affect’ a sort of new year on steroids. Some of it may have been related to the news that there was potentially going to be a lockdown with the spread of Coronavirus, which started to be known to the world in December 2019.

The most interesting trend for my eyes is the continued growth in SEO related searches during this period. People definitely seem to want help with their SEO. From our perspective, it’s a bit disappointing to see there’s not an increase in SEO agency searches to go with that trend.

In the coming months, I expect to see steady growth in people searching for various different digital marketing disciplines.

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est. 2009