Is SEO effective during economic recessions? Agital answers.
Skip to Content

Why SEO is Important During a Recession 

Economic recessions are never pleasant. However, it’s an opportunity to look inward and evaluate your need for a comprehensive SEO and marketing strategy that keeps your company competitive, relevant, and visible within your vertical.

Key Takeaways

  1. SEO can help strengthen your search visibility during a recession
  2. Tactics focusing on organic traffic based on search trends will help your performance whether the market is in a boom or bust.
  3. SEO is a great way to establish your brand as an industry leader and resource when markets are healthy or when conversions are low during recessions.
  4. SEO tactics can adapt to trends due to economic fluctuations.

Don’t let market fluctuations hinder your SEO and advertising.

It’s a well–known fact that it can be difficult for anyone to navigate during an economic recession—and businesses are no exception. When negative economic conditions spark a shift in consumer spending habits, it can create a rippling effect throughout the market. It’s natural for business leaders to want to reevaluate their budgets and adjust certain line items, such as staffing, operations, exploration efforts, and marketing.

We want to show you how marketing efforts—specifically SEO—can help you succeed during times of recession and uncertainty.

Evaluating your marketing budget during economic recessions.

When push comes to shove, marketing efforts are one of the first considerations to hit the chopping block when consumers begin pinching pennies. The less consumers spend, the easier it is to justify significantly scaling back PPC campaigns, display campaigns, and SEO efforts.

It’s important to remember that a recession is a temporary period. From the historical standpoint, we can assume that with every slowing of the economy, periods of economic growth will follow. It’s vital that your brand be resilient enough to survive economic downturns and thrive during times of economic growth. That’s why it’s imperative to leverage well-thought-out marketing strategies, such as SEO and paid efforts, to produce relevant content and position your brand as a leading voice to achieve higher brand authority and recognition.

Make no mistake, if you are considering pulling paid advertising budget to focus on short-term gains, it will put mid- and long-term visibility at risk. However, if you can redeploy marketing efforts early into an economic downswing and position your brand as a helpful resource, you can capture new traffic and differentiate yourselves from the competition. This approach can have a significant and lasting impact on your long-term visibility and overall brand authority.

So, what is SEO’s specific importance during economic decline?

How can SEO be effective in a recession?

While paid search campaigns are incredibly effective at targeting conversion-type queries, there’s a cost associated with each interaction. Under normal economic conditions, they tend to yield impressive ROIs, but conversion numbers will typically fall during an economic recession.

SEO strategy is unique in several ways. For one, it can have a lasting impact on your brand recognition regardless of budget and external factors such as consumer spending habits. That said, you need to continue creating original content that focuses on user trends and keeps your website fresh. reiterates this idea:

“But remember, SEO is essential to success regardless of whether the world is going through a recession or a boom.”

The Benefits of SEO Tactics:

  • Resilience during changing economic landscapes.
  • Resilience against unwanted press.
  • Continued organic traffic when paid search efforts scale back.
  • On average, 53% of all website traffic comes via organic searches.
  • Answering questions and curating content your users find helpful.
  • Brand discovery by optimizing for non-branded search terms.
  • Relevant updated business information is displayed on search engine result pages (SERPs) for easy user access.

Remember, organic SEO is a long-term strategy that sets the stage for future growth. It won’t offer instant results and, even in a recession, it’s imperative that you have patience. Abandoning SEO altogether can hurt your long-term industry positioning and will cause your website to disappear from the organic Google Search (and other SERPs) altogether. Something as simple as adjusting your content strategies to capitalize on trending search queries may be all it takes to succeed during a recession.

SEO Offers Long-Lasting Results

One of the most beneficial aspects of SEO efforts is that they are often long-lasting. SEO is a progressive and gradual digital marketing strategy, which is a huge strength in a recession. Because of this, your organic visibility and ranking won’t be negatively impacted immediately by an economic recession.

A strong SEO presence brings organic traffic to your site, allowing you to remain relevant to your audience or new users even if you decide to scale back paid advertising efforts.

Remember that SEO implementations and results are measured in the long term. For this reason, SEO shouldn’t be a reactionary strategy or as a cost-saving measure if you decide to temporarily pause your paid advertising campaigns. Consistently building your organic presence is vital for exposure – but it takes time. Starting your strategy in response to a loss in paid conversions will put you behind while the competition’s strategy is moving full steam ahead.

SEO Creates Marketing Advantages

When considering an effective marketing strategy, abandoning the SEO course altogether during a recession can hurt your long-term industry positioning. Something as simple as adjusting your content strategies to capitalize on trending search queries may be all it takes to succeed.

The following statements demonstrate how SEO can create advantages for your brand post-recession in the short-term.

  1. Search engines typically prioritize websites that continuously get more organic traffic, more clicks, and more sessions. Therefore, building organic traffic during a recession by addressing new and relevant user questions instead of focusing solely on conversions will help you find new audiences.
  2. Developing content that first addresses new user search queries will result in more visibility. It also presents an opportunity for your brand to establish itself as a thought leader, a resilient industry voice, and a reliable source of answers.
  3. As your brand builds authority, your paid search efforts will become more effective. For example, you may see a reduction in cost-per-click (CPC) for paid search terms similar to what your website is already ranking for organically.

SEO Strategies Are Adaptable

Marketing success means understanding an intricate network of variables. You need to understand that each user is a unique individual with an equally unique set of experiences. These experiences influence how they navigate the world and search for information. When it comes to SEO and paid advertising, understanding your audience base is as crucial as it comes.

With content being the most impactful pillar of SEO, consider curating content that focuses on ranking for non-branded queries (questions that don’t reference your brand name). It’s important to be in tune with your audience’s search and write for your audience, not for your brand.

Your SEO strategies need to adapt to changes in user search trends. Let’s use real estate as an example. Homebuyers during a recession may not be looking to buy right now but are likely looking at trends to plan for a future purchase. Creating content purely for converting may not be effective during this time as there’s less search interest for new homes. On the other hand, providing content for users that aligns with their queries, such as interest rate or housing market insights, is an excellent way to establish your brand as trustworthy – which will result in more Search Engine Result page (SERP) impressions and clicks.

SEO Sets the Stage for Future Growth

Deploying SEO tactics properly during a recession can set the stage for future growth, even if it takes a while for the economy to bounce back. Search engines like Google will notice if your site is gaining traffic by providing helpful content for your audience. When a search engine observes that your users find value in your content, you will increase your ranking growth for related search queries.

Increased user traffic through publishing helpful and relevant content provides a unique opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition during the early stages of economic swings. By adapting and understanding your user search trends during uncertain times, you build the groundwork to launch conversion-focused content and search engine strategies once there’s a shift into an active consumer market. While this certainly won’t happen overnight, holding the course through rain or shine will pay dividends by establishing a firm brand reputation and increased visibility within your industry.


Subscribe to the marketing revolution.