Coronavirus Impact on Websites
The Broad Core Algorithm Updates are about the worst you can experience as a website owner, but the coronavirus is even worst!.
Covid-19 can have a bigger impact in certain business niches than a Broad Core Algorithm. People simply stop searching for the services because they cannot move out of their country.
For quite some time I have been following the impact of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus in the travel industry in South Africa, the rehab industry, homeschooling in South Africa and the herbal industry that exports to European countries such as China, Taiwan and the USA.
The outbreak in South Africa was announced 5 March 2020. Prior to 5 March, the tourism industry thrived. But thereafter it has dropped. Most establishment reporting fewer enquiries and cancellations.
Below are my findings based on Google Search Console ranking results. We first cover two business niches that increased in rankings since the coronavirus hit South Africa.
We then cover business niches that lost rankings, most of which are tourism-related.
Herbal Export Industry In South Africa
The Chinese government has been promoting the use of traditional Chinese medicine to treat Covid-19
More than 85% of all coronavirus cases in quarantine in China had received herbal remedies, alongside conventional antiviral drugs. This is according to the Chines Ministry of Science and Technology.
This resulted in a ranking increase for herbal product suppliers in South Africa.
Homeschooling Industry in South Africa
A few schools in Gauteng and eight schools in the Western Cape have already been shut down due to fears of a possible coronavirus outbreak in Gauteng and the Western Cape province.
It has been announced that all schools in South Africa will be closed from Wednesday, March 18 and will remain closed until after the Easter weekend.
Due to schools closing in South Africa homeschooling websites have seen a significant increase in rankings.
Travel and Tourism Industry in South Africa
Trump puts a ban on 26 European countries including the UK and Ireland from midnight 16 March 2020. Other countries will soon follow and some already have put a ban on European countries.
South Africa has imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK and China from March 18, 2020
The virus is now in 4 provinces in South Africa (15 March 2020)
This has resulted in a decrease in rankings for tourism websites (this happened prior to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on national television )
Below a hunting website that lost rankings
Below a self-drive website in Cape Town that also offers outbound tourism to Madagascar that lost rankings
Below are two Kruger Park accommodation websites, both lost rankings
Below are two tour operator from Cape Town that also lost rankings
Car hire and flight websites have also lost rankings.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Websites throughout South Africa and other countries will definitely see ranking fluctuation based on business niche.
The coronavirus outbreak in South Africa is estimated to get worst as we approach winter. It seems the tourism industry is in for a rough ride and so are other business niches such as rehabs that are reliant on clients from overseas countries such as the UK.
The best thing to do is to keep working the site in a positive fashion to maintain your brand name, oversees and locally.