Managing SEO During A Recession
Improve your Google SEO during a Recession?
When an economy is roaring during a bull market run, with GDP rising nicely and consumer demand continuously ramping skyward, marketing can deliver a big impact on company earnings.
But it was easy. B2B managers and consumers were shopping with abandon as price and funds/income ceased to be of concern in the moment.
Yet when the dreaded R word appears in the consumer and expert advisors lexicon, shopper’s interest in products and services wane. In fact, search demand on Google has shrunk considerably, down 60% in many popular keywords and business sectors.
Stepping Up to Compete Better
When consumer’s interests and purchase intent changes, everything else changes. Positioning your offering to what they’re looking for now requires change. Advanced skills in marketing and SEO can help reposition your business successfully as your competition intensifies.
Consider these graphics below which depict how search impressions (purple line) and rankings (gold line) can rise on any day depending on news stories and market events, (e.g., lower mortgage rates). Clicks can jump simply because people feel better when they’re searching (or your content is refreshed and valuable). Just like the good old days!
US Google searches for houses for sale are half of what they were 10 months ago and when combined with the winter season, they’re headed further downward.
The fact is, during a recession, or even in seasonal changes, search traffic changes which reduces your Google visibility considerably. This can create losses in many ways from brand visibility, to sales, and customer loyalty. It’s important to “keep on keeping on” to survive.
Too many companies withdraw and hide, which is dangerous. Instead, managers should see recessions as just another opportunity to grow brand visibility, establish your UVP, and capture new sales due to consumer discontent and changing preferences.
Market change creates rare opportunities for the underdogs
Search Volume Way Down in Last 10 Months
The real estate sector is a case in point. Searches for homes for sale, mortgages, and the housing market have dropped steeply in 2022 compared to 2020. It’s not only a lack of interest either that’s driving the downturn. It’s the fact home prices are far out of reach, mortgage qualification is impossible, down payments are ridiculously high, mortgage payments are out of sight, debt is high, and inflation is eating up discretionary income, and workers are concerned about their jobs.
And some home buyers sit on the fence until the price outlook is better.
Google’s Algo Changes Mean Opportunity for Marketing/Sales
Google doesn’t stop turning the screws on small publishers with ever-increasing demands on content organization, wording, depth, and user experience. They’re pushing more traffic to large publishers and enterprise level company websites, and filtering out sites that can’t keep up. You must keep up.
Even medium-sized companies are feeling the pinch of the slow down and Google’s excessive SEO demands. Less traffic, fewer leads, and lower conversion rates (even via Google Ads or Facebook Ads) means companies have to get better at building traffic, and creating content that fulfills the new path to customer satisfaction.
And Google is in complete control of which content is considered a good experience and worthy of ranking high. Visibility is no longer guaranteed, which is why some websites get impressions but no clicks (zero click searches). Getting plucked out of some keyword searches is making a lot of business owners very concerned about the next 5 years.
Most search engine optimizers are feeling hopelessly out of touch with the new, advanced indexing algorithm. The sophistication of Google’s screening system is hard to comprehend. Demand for understanding it is very intense, but lacking. Conjecture isn’t knowledge. Testing is knowing.
Can SEO Still Work During a Recession?
What happens during a recession is that user intent changes, therefore Google will change its preference of content.
Content written for the good times, no longer responds to user’s current cautious mood and interest. They’re open to new brands and new promises.
And your rankings and traffic may have plummeted. The solution is a complete rewrite/refresh of content, and re-optimization for search engines to respond to the new user intent.
Google’s introduced the helpful content update, the EAT update and the user intent updates. 3 updates which together force everyone to rebuild their web content and change how they do outreach and link building.
If we understand what Google is doing, then we can revise our content, attract new backlinks and return our top rankings. It takes effort and optimism. Dark winter days will make you feel like you’ve hit a dead end. But all this is, is a signal to revise, improve, grow and focus more on your customer.
In this climate, you will want to use advanced level techniques to focus on the user path to fulfillment, understanding the phases in each segment of the sales funnel, from top to bottom of funnel. Funnel Optimization software may be a good help, if you’re not adept with flow charts and content mapping.
Understanding Searcher’s New Focus and Goals
The point of doing advanced SEO during a recession, is to understand how consumer search habits have changed and what their priorities are. A digital marketing audit may help with discovering consumer demand, word usage, product features desired, and what mix of pain points you should focus on.
Companies may try to improve their website graphics, modify their brands, add new service extensions, lower prices, offer discounts, and other changes that may not generate great results.
Many customers are open to change. By reworking a few things, you can present your offer anew, to catch your top competition off guard and get visibility you’ve never had before. So this actually can be a golden opportunity.
15 Ways to Maximize SEO Performance in a Recession:
- be more strategic with your search engine optimization and which content you’re focusing on
- spend more time on organic outreach and reaching bloggers and social media connections (more work, more time)
- study again the best keyword phrases and focus on those you can realistically rank for
- review your value proposition and focus on top 3 benefits
- rework and improve one key feature/service that will stand out and get attention
- rework your content to re-establish uniqueness to separate your brand from the rest
- focus your ppc spend on only the best converting keywords (ROI analysis/find them via analytics)
- focus on creating uniquely valuable content which Google does want and readers need
- improve your social posts and use a strategy to gain visibility and present valuable content for them to share
- try SEO testing and see what works better
- hire an advanced SEO consultant to help you get to that higher, more competitive level
- create more bottom of funnel content (Google prefers that material)
- try new content types (infographics, video, downloadables)
- do some promotion with top industry portals/blogs that are ranking high
- create content that reaffirms your current customer’s impression of value received to keep their loyalty
Using Advanced Search Engine Optimization to Surf through a Recession
Use your analytics and new game plan to establish new content that will help you modify your keyword relevance to Google. It’s always a good decision to hire an advanced SEO consultant. Your business really is worth it.
Review how advanced SEO is conducted and the further strategies and techniques that will help you regain your rankings and leads.
Good luck and don’t get discouraged about 2023. This is where the government has taken us all and we need to make the best of it!
Contact me at 416 998 6246 to help you revise and improve your SEO strategy.
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