It doesn't take a professional economist or psychic to predict the global markets are heading for a downturn similar to 2008.In 2022, inflation rates in the UK rose by 9.3% in the 12 months to November, with predictions that the worst is yet to come. People everywhere feel the crunch of high energy prices and rising food costs, creating a cost of living crisis.As expenses rise, many companies are preparing to cut costs and unnecessary spending and ride out the storm until the global markets turn around.With these businesses looking to cut the fat in their company, it can be very tempting to slash advertising and marketing budgets, especially for those services that take time to show results.
But is this the right strategy? Unfortunately, no, is the short answer.
By scaling down your marketing efforts, you're hurting the growth and maintenance of your customer base. New customers will be harder to reach, while existing customers will be unaware of new products, services, and deals, meaning a huge loss in potential revenue.Remember, marketing is an investment – not an expense. And in an age dominated by the internet, this is especially true of search engine optimisation.As businesses face economic challenges during a recession, finding cost-effective ways to drive traffic and sales becomes increasingly essential. One strategy that can help is search engine optimisation or SEO.
So, if you are considering cutting your SEO consultancy or in-house budget, DON'T DO IT.
Search engine optimisation can be one of your most valuable tools in an economic downturn. Here's what you need to know:SEO optimises your website and its content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords. SEO is essential for the discovery stage of the buyer journey because higher rankings in the SERPs can lead to increased traffic, which can, in turn, lead to more sales and revenue as more users discover your offering.Unlike other forms of marketing, SEO can continue to move the needle for your business, even when other growth initiatives are coming up short.
But, Why is SEO so important in an Economic Downturn?
So, why does SEO often perform well during economic downturns? Here are a few reasons:
Consumers are turning to the Internet for research and comparison shopping.
During a recession, consumers may be more cautious about making purchases and more likely to do their research before buying. This behaviour can increase online search activity as consumers seek information about products and services. By investing in SEO, businesses can ensure they are visible in the SERPs and attract potential customers searching for their products or services.
SEO can help businesses to stand out in a crowded market
During a recession, businesses may face increased competition as more companies turn to the internet to reach customers. By investing in SEO, businesses can differentiate themselves from the competition and stand out in the SERPs, which can help to drive traffic and sales.
SEO can drive long-term results
While the results of SEO efforts may take time, the effects can be long-lasting. Once a website ranks well in the SERPs, it can continue attracting organic traffic for an extended period. This influx of traffic can be especially valuable during a recession, when businesses may be looking for ways to drive long-term results with a limited budget.
But why should you invest in SEO during a recession, and how can it help your business to thrive?
SEO can be a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website
Unlike paid advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which requires you to pay for each click or impression, SEO can help you to earn organic traffic from search engines without paying for each visit. This cost-effective form of marketing can be beneficial during a recession, when businesses may have limited budgets for marketing and advertising.
SEO can improve the user experience on your website
By creating high-quality, relevant content and making it easy for users to navigate your site, you can increase the likelihood that visitors will stay on your site longer and engage with your content. This engaging content can lead to increased conversions and revenue.
SEO can impact your search engine rankings
Google and other search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevance and authority of a website, and factors such as bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing just one page) and average time on site can impact your rankings. By following best practices for SEO and continuously updating and optimising your website, you can improve your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more traffic to your site.
SEO can increase the credibility and trustworthiness of your business
When your website ranks well in the SERPs, it can increase your business's perceived authority and expertise in the eyes of potential customers. This increase in credibility can be significant during a recession when consumers may be more cautious about making purchases and may be more likely to choose businesses that they perceive as trustworthy and reliable.
SEO can help you to stay competitive
Even during a recession, competitors will likely invest in marketing and advertising to attract customers. Investing in SEO ensures that your business stays visible and competitive in the SERPs, even when budgets are tight.In addition to the benefits mentioned above, SEO can also help improve your website's overall performance. By identifying and fixing technical issues, such as broken links and slow loading times, you can improve the user experience and increase the likelihood that visitors will convert.
How do I prepare my SEO for the current economic climate?
There are a few things you can do to prepare for SEO in a bad economy:
First, focus on your website's user experience: Make sure your website is fast, easy to navigate, and provides value to your visitors. Improved UX or User Experience will help improve your search rankings and increase the chances of converting visitors into customers.
Create high-quality, relevant content: Providing valuable and informative content can help attract backlinks, a key ranking factor in SEO.
Optimise your website for mobile devices: More and more people are using their phones to browse the web, so it's essential to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
Utilise social media: Use social media platforms to promote your content and engage with your audience. Social Media can drive traffic to your website and improve your search rankings.
Monitor your competitors: Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and identify opportunities to differentiate your business and improve your SEO efforts.
To conclude, Investing in SEO during a recession can be a smart business move, whether in eCommerce SEO, Local SEO or International, as it can drive traffic and sales cost-effectively. While it is not immune to economic downturns, the potential benefits of SEO make it worth considering for many businesses. By continuously updating and optimising your website, following best practices for SEO, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithms, you can help your business to thrive during a recession and beyond.