Woman putting her hands in front of a stack of falling wooden rectangles to stop them from continuing to fall.

As a marketing professional by day, you’re surely aware that your brand’s online success can be directly impacted by the economy’s wellbeing. If your existing online strategy counts on search engine optimization (SEO) to play a role in reaching your sitewide revenue goals (as we think it should), it’s fair to wonder: Does SEO still work in a recession?

Our short answer is: Yes! In fact, contrary to what your preconceived notion may be, maintaining and even improving SEO in a recession is a smart move that can benefit your business both now and later.

Thriving times can mean a chance to build upon your business’s momentum, while more unstable periods can lead to dreaded-but-necessary budget cuts to reduce company-wide costs. Because change is inevitable in the ecommerce landscape, planning ahead, pivoting in real-time, and executing with intentionality can help you endure an economic decline.

Catching Zzz’s: Zig When Others Zag

Don’t sleep on SEO in a recession! The Googlebots won’t stop crawling your website during a temporary slump, so why should you press pause on your organic strategy? It’s time to caffeinate and create rather than hit snooze.

Contenders within your space will inevitably pause on their typical marketing initiatives during trying economic times. Now is the time to place even more emphasis on SEO, as the competition for keywords will likely weaken.

When your competitors move one direction, going the other way during a recession poses an opportunity to acquire unclaimed real estate on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

To close keyword gaps during this time, you can:

Does SEO still work in a recession, you ask? As others respond with flight, you should bring the fight!

Stopwatch on a pile of US 100 dollar bills. 3D illustration of the aphorism of time is money

Invest More Time, Not Money

With an obligatory emphasis on allocating less money to online marketing efforts during times of economic uncertainty, leveraging SEO in a recession is the ultimate calculated, budget-friendly move. After all, organic success doesn’t depend on spending to achieve results.

Rather than distributing your reduced marketing funds across paid media campaigns, keeping your SEO strategy intact is a cost-effective way to preserve already-earned equity and drive additional website traffic, conversions, and revenue throughout a recession.

With additional bandwidth available to put toward website optimization, shifting your primary focus to performing keyword research and establishing exceptional content is your best investment.

Survive & Advance

As sports enthusiasts often say about an elimination game, all you need to do is find a way to survive and advance. It’s truly the result that matters most, not how you got there. Implementing SEO in a recession may encompass a similar storyline. You may have to scrap your original gameplan at a moment’s notice, turn to the bench for capable reinforcements, and/or make the right calls in the most pressure-filled moments. In the end, though, all your preparation and effort could very well lead to bigger and better things ahead.

It takes time to become a top contender, especially when it comes to SEO. Shoot your shot, stay committed through ups and downs, and keep your eyes on the prize!

Magnifying glass over a dollar sign icon.

Tying It All Together: SEO in a Recession

If you’re a decision-maker for your business or you report to one, we hope that now you can better answer the question, “Does SEO still work in a recession?”, as well as understand and explain the how and why behind it.

As we’ve emphasized throughout this article, continuing to prioritize search engine optimization during a recession will not only help you retain the SEO equity you’ve already earned online but also give you your best return on investment as you perform further optimizations.

As a fundamentally “free” digital marketing tool, the biggest investments you’ll need to make to realize the full benefits of SEO are time, effort, and patience – each of which are controllable and require zero dollars outside of the caffeinated beverages needed to stay focused and energized!

Cheers to zigging when others zag, investing time rather than money, and advancing your brand in a less competitive space. SEO gives your brand the opportunity to become top-of-mind for customers without spending any money on ads.

The opportunity is even greater when you have a dedicated team of SEO experts who are well-versed in all the aspects of organic search to get your brand ranking high on the first SERP. To explore the organic growth opportunities we can uncover for your business, send a message to our team today.