Good morning, we know this is a stressful time,

“It’s surprising how fast things have changed in just a couple of days,” said Brad Geddes co-founder of PPC management tool Adalysis. He reported a wave of paused campaigns in travel and service sectors, in particular. Meanwhile others say they are continuing to spend but are seeing a decline in conversion rates and/or sharply declining CPCs, depending on the sector. We’ll continue to report on the immediate impact over the next several weeks as well as how companies are planning for post-crisis recovery. 

Bing launched an interactive COVID-19 tracker late Sunday. We’ve been watching Bing and Google evolve their SERPs for “coronavirus” related queries to become resource hubs. Google has added an SOS Alert to the top of its “coronavirus” results page in addition to other elements. Google is also now showing which local businesses are temporarily closed in Search and Maps. Be sure to update your GMB listings with your most accurate hours and other information. 

Ready for a break from coronavirus? Catch up with industry vet Tony Wright who chatted about SEO attribution and reputation management with Barry Schwartz in the latest installment of his interview series.

Our reader survey is open. We’d love for you to take a minute to tell us what you think about this newsletter. Then keep reading for a Pro Tip on auditing your campaign targeting for brand safety in the age of coronavirus and more. 

Ginny Marvin

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Pro Tip

Review targeting to minimize COVID-19’s effect

“In an age when marketing success can hinge on a business’s ability to quickly react to and pivot strategy around trends in real-time, the COVID-19 outbreak is changing consumer behavior,” explains Kimberly Dutcher of Merkle. “Here are some initial precautions SEM teams can take to ward off any unwarranted increases in search traffic.”

  • Set up automated reporting dashboards to review traffic and spend at a glance.
  • Add “coronavirus,” “virus” and “Covid-19” as phrase-match negatives to your accounts. Google is blocking ads capitalizing on the coronavirus, so the negative keywords shouldn’t be necessary but are a safeguard nonetheless.
  • Consider applying negative bid modifiers to heavily affected geographies, depending on product or service availability.
  • Monitor search query reports closely, especially for broad and phrase match keywords.

Learn More »


New for 2020! Compare 20 top SEO software tools

SEO remains the stalwart mainstay of digital marketing, but its practice has become more complex. If you’re on the lookout for new tools or platforms to manage your complex and increasingly technical SEO activities, this 76-page report examines the market for SEO software and includes profiles of 20 leading SEO tools vendors, pricing and capabilities information, and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing.

Get it now »

Search Shorts

Google Discover API and Microsoft Advertising

Google Discover API. John Mueller of Google said there is currently no API for the Google Discover reports in Search Console.

Microsoft Advertising reminder. Microsoft is reminding us that if you have not yet migrated from standard text ads to enhanced text ads, you have until March 31st to do so.

COVID-19 Google efforts. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, said As COVID-19 makes its way across the globe, we’re approaching this unprecedented moment with a deep sense of responsibility. Here are a few ways Google is working to be helpful to our employees, users, partners, customers & communities.


Improve your SEO with new technical training at SMX Advanced

Don’t miss the brand-new SEO for Developers track coming to Seattle June 8-10, featuring highly-technical sessions — many in live-coding format — focused on using code libraries and architecture models to develop applications that improve SEO.

Learn more »

What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

A Beginner’s Guide to Ranking in Google Maps – Moz

Alphabet’s Verily launches a limited coronavirus screening website – CNBC

Five Things PPC Pros Can Do NOW to Keep Commerce Moving In The COVID-19 Era – Optmyzr

Clicks But No Conversions, Where Are You Going Wrong? – Koozai

COVID-19: How we’re continuing to help – Google Blog

Google Ads & Google My Business Support May Be Delayed – Search Engine Roundtable

Google Ads B2B Full-Funnel Strategy Outline – PPC Hero

Google Maps is making ‘Live View’ AR navigation more prominent – Engadget

Has COVID-19 Affected Your PPC Accounts? – PPC Hero

How Can Hosting Influence Your Site Ranking? – Pole Position Marketing

How to Import Google Campaigns into Microsoft Ads – Seer Interactive

More room for more style – The AMP Blog

New Features: Performance Monitoring Made Easy – Adalysis

Ok Google, How Do I Optimize My PPC Campaigns For Voice Search? – Metric Theory