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How lockdown affects rankings.

Still in Stage Four but a little more light at the end of the tunnel for Melbourne. Thanks to all that attended the webinar recently; I had some great feedback. One common question from it was how to check your brand. Google Trends is your friend on this one, and it is also a great way to check your rankings for businesses affected by the lockdown.

What I learned

  • The webinar was a great success.
  • How to check your brand.
  • Is your brand an entity?
  • Why rankings drop in lockdown.
  • Why they will return.


Hey, welcome back Rankers. How are you going? Oh, we’re still in Stage Four? Thank you to everyone that attended the webinar last week. I think it went really well. Got great feedback. A lot of people said they got a lot out of it, immediately went away and made changes. Hopefully that’s lifted your revenue.

How to check your brand

One of the questions that came out from that was around brand and how do you check your brand, those sorts of things. One of the things that I do on a regular basis is … and anybody who watched that interview we did with Dixon Jones from Majestic will be familiar with the concept of entity search rather than say keyword search, so we’re always looking at brand as an entity and Google Trends will tell you whether a brand is an entity. So the search I’ve got going here is on three different cinema complexes. Now the different types of searches ones … These two are company searches and you can see here. So Google knows that these two brands are actually brands, that they are companies. This third one, it doesn’t know. Oh no, there it is. It wasn’t there before.

There we go. But you can see, as a brand, it doesn’t match up against those other two major ones. Now this one, that you can see here, this is COVID right? So that industry has been devastated obviously, but what happens in a situation as we have shown before with brand is that if more people are Googling your brand, you are going to have a much better chance of ranking because it is a citation. It’s a mention, right? It’s someone looking for you. Google knows that you’re popular and as I’ve shown in previous videos, especially when we went through the whole auDA thing, how it affected our own brand, it lifted all our rankings even though we didn’t get many backlinks, it was about people looking for us so Google had to raise the rankings. The opposite is also true. If people are searching for your brand, and then all of a sudden they stop searching for your brand, the other keywords that you were ranking for can also drop.

And we’ve seen this specifically in Melbourne with a couple of clients. So the difference between Melbourne and the rest of the country is we’re not allowed to go outside. Well, we can, I think for maybe two hours a day at the moment, which is nice because we need our sun, because we need our vitamin D. And one of the things that that impacts obviously is businesses that don’t have an e-commerce store, it’s businesses that have a retail outlet of some description that is a destination, that you have to go there and find the product or whatever it might be. That business model is what I’m talking about here. When people can’t go there, they’re going to stop looking for your brand and that’s what happened with this client. And you can see here, we’ve got a couple of different searches going on.

We’ve got the brand search here and you can see here as the brand search drops so does the other keywords related to that brand, so the brand and the things that the brand was synonymous for, and it’s because no one’s looking for them and they’re not a destination anymore. So, and what we’re seeing at the same time happen, it’s just the Melbourne based clients that that’s happened to. It hasn’t happened to say national brands or retail outlets that have a national presence even if they don’t sell online. They’re still ranking but the ones where the brand search has dropped off completely in Melbourne and that’s the only place that they operate, we see it fall away.

Those searches that I showed you before, Village Cinemas, that used to be one or two up there with Hoyts for things like movie times, session times, those sort of things. It’s dropped right down to the bottom of the page. Now that could be because they’ve changed their site. It could be a whole bunch of things, but Hoyt’s is still up there.

Why Melbourne rankings have dropped

Cinemas that are operating seem okay. They’re all still up there at a national level, but in Melbourne, the Melbourne based ones. And so if you’re feeling that something, you’re caning your SEO company because you’re a local business in Melbourne that people search your brand and there’s no reason for them to search your brand at the moment because they can’t go there, then chances are, you may see some other keywords drop that you might be monitoring. But, there are so many things that you can look at with your brand and Google Trends and I do Google Trends pretty much every day and at the moment I’m in it, I don’t know, 20 times a day, something like that. Because I want to see what’s happening with things, especially with … not only with our clients, but also with what’s happening in the news.

So I get a lot of my news feed, it seems lately from Google Trends because I can look down the last hour and see what people are searching for around a particular topic. Now that data disappears after that hour. You don’t get that granularity again. It’s only that snapshot in time. You can’t go back and look at one hour’s worth of data. You can go back and look at a time range, but certainly not anything less than a day. So if you’re doing things like advertising on radio, on television, PR that actually doesn’t have any backlinks, that’s a good idea when you’re doing those sorts of things. If you’re doing a radio campaign or anything like that go on Google Trends and see if it’s penetrating, see if people are searching for your brand now. And what we’ve seen time and time and time again is that when more people search for your brand, your rankings go up. And we know this because Google counts citations and mentions. Well, as I’ve said before, where is the biggest repository of mentions for brands that Google has access to?

It’s Google, right? They know people are talking about brand. They see the brand spikes. They see that the brand spikes because of the story on the evening news and they will come in the following day and crawl the site again like we’ve seen many, many times before. So if your rankings have dropped and you’re in Melbourne, I think they’ll come back once we’re out of Stage Four. Hopefully that’s helpful. Hang in there Melbourne and we’ll see you next week. Thanks very much. Bye.

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