Why SEO Is the Most Valuable Investment for Small Businesses in a Recession
As businesses prepare their 2023 budgets amidst global issues such as inflation, a pandemic, conflicts, and difficulties with recruitment and supply chains, they may be cautious about how they allocate funds.
In times of economic hardship, marketing teams are especially challenged to find the most cost-effective ways to reach potential customers.
SEO is one of the most valuable investments for small businesses in a recession because it helps reduce customer acquisition costs while driving new traffic to websites.
Let’s explore why investing in SEO services is an ideal long-term solution for your small business.
What Is an SEO Service?
An SEO service aims to improve the visibility of a website in organic (unpaid) search engine results, leading to more visitors and higher conversions.
Small business owners can increase their chances of being found online by optimizing websites for pertinent keywords that are closely related to their industry’s services.
Small businesses have a variety of SEO services available to them. Some of the most valuable services include:
- Keyword research and optimization: This involves analyzing the most relevant keywords and phrases for a business and optimizing website content to increase rankings on those search queries.
- Local SEO: This service focuses on optimizing a business’s website content and structure to rank higher in Google Maps or other local search results.
- On-page optimization: This includes improving website design, content, and structure to make it more accessible to users and search engines. Factors impacting on-page optimization include page speed, mobile optimization, and internal linking.
- Off-page optimization: This involves increasing the authority and credibility of a website through link-building strategies, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Hiring a professional SEO agency saves you five figures every year on off-page work to get your site found. Really.
- Analytics and reporting: SEO services also provide regular reports that track website performance, identify areas of improvement and provide recommendations for optimizing the website further.
Characteristics of a Recession
A recession is a significant and prolonged economic downturn characterized by a decline in economic activity. During a recession, businesses may start to scale back on their operations, which can lead to job losses and reduced consumer spending.
A recession typically lasts for several months or even years, depending on the severity of the economic downturn.
Significant Decline in Economic Activity
The most apparent characteristic of a recession is a sharp drop-off in economic activity. This means both businesses and consumers are spending less money, decreasing demand for goods and services.
Recessions are scary as hell. But knowing consumer segments and changing behavior can minimize your risk and see you surpass competitors. Don't believe that upping your marketing during a recession is a good idea? Ask the Harvard Business Review.
Fall in Consumer Spending
When individuals start to cut down their expenses, it could indicate that they are not confident about the economy’s future. This could impact small businesses that rely on consumer demand to drive sales.
For example, a boutique shop selling luxury goods may start seeing a decrease in revenue during a recession.
Increase in Unemployment
Another characteristic of a recession is an increase in unemployment. Companies may start to cut back jobs or freeze hiring during difficult economic times to reduce costs.
As a result, people are left without a source of income, which could further impact consumer spending. This chain reaction could lead to further economic stagnation.
The last time unemployment spiked was during the novel Coronavirus. But there was opportunity to market there too. And people who lost their jobs started creating and starting more businesses than ever.
Decrease in Consumer Confidence
A decrease in consumer confidence is also a common characteristic of a recession.
As people become more concerned about the state of the economy and their financial future, they may become less confident in their purchasing power. This can lead to an even more significant reduction in consumer spending and prolong the duration of the recession.
Contraction of the Money Supply
The money supply is the amount of money in circulation in the economy.
During a recession, there may be a reduction in the amount of money in circulation, making it harder for businesses to obtain credit or loans. This could further impact small businesses that rely on credit to finance their operations.
Impacts of a Recession on Small Businesses
There are several ways that a recession may impact small businesses.
Cash Flow Issues
One obvious issue is cash flow and sales. As consumer spending decreases, businesses may struggle to make ends meet. This can be especially tricky in an environment where traditional sources of financing are not available or are more expensive than before.
Lower profits are another impact of a recession on small businesses. Due to reduced consumer spending, companies may see a decline in profits, which can limit their ability to invest in growth and expansion.
Moreover, businesses may be forced to lower prices to remain competitive, which can further erode their profits.
Challenges in Retaining Customers
During tough economic times, consumers become more price-sensitive and may be less loyal to brands. Small business owners must find innovative ways to retain customers and create a compelling value proposition.
Personalization, outstanding customer service, and loyalty programs are effective strategies that help businesses stand out in a crowded market.
From lowering prices temporarily, offering different services, or simply doubling down on storytelling, businesses that adapt in times of crisis will be around for the long haul.
How SEO Services Help During a Recession
A recession seems tough at first glance, especially when looking at the cost of losing customers. But SEO services can help small businesses navigate the recession and come out stronger than before.
Here’s how investing in SEO services in a recession is a sound business decision.
Increase Organic Traffic
Since people are more cautious about their spending during a recession, they are more likely to search for a product or service before committing to a purchase. If your website isn’t ranking well in search engines, you are missing out on potential customers.
SEO services in a recession can help increase your organic traffic by optimizing your website’s content and structure, targeting the right keywords, and building high-quality backlinks.
With more people finding your website through search engines, you’ll have a better chance of converting them into paying customers.
Keep Up With Competition
While some businesses might cut back on their marketing budget during a recession, others will take advantage of the opportunity to increase their online presence. If you’re not investing in SEO in a recession, you’re falling behind your competitors who are.
With proper SEO strategies in place, you can not only stay on top of your competition but also outrank them in search engine results pages.
Establish Brand Presence and Credibility
Good small business SEO practices require creating high-quality content, building a solid website structure, and developing backlinks from reputable sources. These strategies help establish your brand presence, credibility, and authority in your industry. For example, local SEO for small business owners can help increase visibility and generate more leads in your region.
"Near me" searches in Google have risen by 500% in the last 3 years. Local SEO is how you get found in Google for "your product/service near me."
When you are consistently providing your audience with valuable information and earning recommendations from others in your niche, search engines such as Google perceive you as a relevant and reliable source of information. As a result, your website and content are more likely to rank higher in search results, attracting more click-throughs and potential customers.
Strategies for Optimizing Your SEO Services in a Recession
Of course, investing in SEO services requires a high level of commitment, even during a recession. Here are some strategies you can use to optimize your services.
Evaluate Your Current Search Engine Rankings and Keywords
Evaluate your current search engine rankings to understand where you stand in terms of visibility. Use tools like Google Analytics to track your website traffic and gather data on your keyword performance.
Identify the sources of traffic, the pages that receive the most visits, and the keywords that drive traffic to your website. If you’re using local SEO, you can also evaluate your website’s performance in local search results.
Doing so gives you a better idea of the keywords you need to target and those that are not bringing in traffic. You can then update your keyword list and develop fresh content that targets them for maximum visibility.
The easiest way to learn all of this? A free, guided website assessment that's been called the best 90 minutes in marketing. Even if you only have half an hour, you'll beat your competitors with one meeting.
Increase Long-tail Keyword Usage
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific search terms that are relevant to your business offerings. More and more people are using voice-activated search, which means queries are becoming more conversational and longer.
For instance, instead of searching for “Italian food,” a user might search for “Where can I find the best Italian restaurant in Chicago?” To reflect this changing trend, optimizing your content for long-tail keywords is crucial.
Including relevant long-tail keywords in your content increases the likelihood that your content will appear in relevant search results.
Review and Update Content Regularly
Search engines love fresh, relevant, and high-quality content. So, reviewing and updating your content regularly can help you improve your search engine rankings.
Ensure your content is optimized for SEO, uses updated and relevant keywords, and provides value to your readers.
Add new blogs, pages, and content to your website regularly. Ensure the content is relevant, informative, and engaging for your audience. Committing to a regular content schedule will help you maintain content production and avoid lagging periods where you might weaken your SEO efforts.
Invest More in Paid Ads
During a recession, organic SEO takes longer to yield results than other marketing techniques. This is why investing in PPC advertising is essential to complement your organic SEO efforts.
Paid advertising helps to boost your website ranking for specific keywords and enables you to get your business in front of your target audience. Paid ads can help with the low volume of traffic to your website as well as ensure that your company ranks for broader keywords.
Just running SEO might not be enough if you're truly trying to make a splash. Multi-channel marketing is the way to go.
Also known as a complementary technique, PPC can also help retarget potential customers and increase conversion rates.
How To Maximize Your Budget for SEO Services in Difficult Times
Small businesses have to be even more mindful of their budget during a recession. Here are some tips to maximize SEO for your small business.
Use Data To Guide Spending Decisions
When resources are limited, it’s important to make data-driven decisions about how to allocate your budget. Take a look at your website analytics to better understand where your website traffic is coming from, which pages are performing well, and which keywords are driving the most traffic.
This information can help you identify which areas of your website need the most improvement and where to focus your budget.
Prioritize Long-term Over Short-term Gains
While it may be tempting to focus on quick-fix solutions or short-term gains, SEO is a long-term investment, and it’s essential to prioritize it even when revenue is low.
SEO campaigns typically take time, and you may not see an immediate or measurable return on your investment. However, focusing on the long-term benefits of SEO, such as improved search engine rankings, increased organic traffic, and better brand visibility, can yield more significant results in the future.
Leverage Automation Technology Where Possible
Automation technology can help you save time and money, especially with limited resources.
Tools like Semrush and Moz can automate tasks like keyword research, competitor analysis, and link building, making it easier for you to focus on other critical business aspects.
Additionally, automation technology can provide valuable insight into your SEO campaigns, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and adjust your strategy when necessary.
Monitor Progress Through Analytics Tools
Regularly monitoring your website’s analytics is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
By tracking important metrics such as website traffic, bounce rate, and keyword rankings, you can identify areas of improvement and make data-driven decisions about where to allocate your budget.
You track metrics in Google Analytics. Here's a 15 minute tutorial on how to leverage that data to grow your website.
Additionally, monitoring your progress can help you identify which SEO strategies are working best for your business, allowing you to adjust your approach as needed.
Recession-proof SEO by Agency Jet
Growing your bottom line and keeping up with your SEO campaigns is possible, even during a recession. Investing in SEO services for small businesses can be expensive, but the long-term benefits are worth the effort.
At Agency Jet, we understand that you must maximize your budget while driving results. That’s why we use cutting-edge technology and strategies to help small businesses stay ahead of the competition and get more out of their SEO efforts, even during a recession.
To learn how you can recession-proof your business’s marketing strategy, contact us today! We look forward to helping you succeed even in difficult times.