Does SEO Still Work In A Recession


Marketing your business during a recession can be tricky. While the country is tightening their collective belts and the leads are becoming even harder to find, you might be inclined to jump straight into “trimming the fat” mode. And hey, we know recessions are a scary time and we’re not trying to convince anyone otherwise. But believe us when we say that the best thing you can do for your business right during a recession is to make a plan for the future. Because–and this is important–we WILL make it through this.

In terms of marketing your business, is now the time to start hiring sign spinners and ordering custom-branded ballpoint pens by the truckload? Probably not. But it IS the time to start looking (if you’re not already) at where you stand in terms of search engine optimization. Because while certain marketing tactics might not carry much weight at times like these, you can bet that SEO is more important now than ever before.

What do we mean by this? It’s simple. Even during a recession, people are out there searching for products. People still have intentions to make purchases–maybe not right now for your industry, but eventually they will. Your customers–even new customers–are still out there. Now it’s your job to find them…or more specifically, make them find you.

Reasons Why SEO Works In A Recession:

At times when the economy is struggling and marketing dollars just don’t go as far as they used to, SEO is going to be your business’s saving grace. Why does SEO work during a recession, you ask? There are a number of reasons.

  1. SEO is Flexible: Part of what makes SEO so effective is that, like your website and your marketing strategy as a whole, it’s ALWAYS changing. It’s a fluid, adaptable aspect that, if done correctly, strengthens your brand as you grow your company. Whether you’re new to SEO strategies or have been implementing them effectively for years, there’s always room to grow. By diving into your own site’s pages, evaluating areas for growth, and gauging those of your competition, you’re making your site more attractive to search engines and, as a result, more accessible to your prospective buyers (even during a period of economic hardship). What can you do, especially right now, to bring your site just a little closer to the top of Google’s coveted Page One? By taking this time to make the necessary website tweaks, revisions, and additions to inch your way to the top of the rankings, you’re setting yourself up for long term success.
  2. SEO is Trustworthy: When times are tough, people seem to get a little more skeptical when it comes to knowing who to trust. And frankly, that’s perfectly understandable. I mean, consider the messaging we’re being hit with at times like these. Flashy banner ads, sponsored social posts, or obnoxiously loud 30-second media spots can be enough to drive any rational person up the wall. But for many reasons, Google remains fairly consistent and reliable regardless of how the country’s behaving. For better or for worse, people just trust Google. So when your potential consumers are out browsing for the products and services you offer, Google’s endorsement speaks volumes. If you’re not right there at the top of Google’s list, you’re missing out. It’s up to you to prove that your website is worthy and deserving of this invaluable accreditation. Remember, Google shows a lot of “E.A.T.” (expertise in your subject matter, authority in your space, and trustworthiness regarding your industry).
  3. SEO is Authentic: If you’ve spent any time concocting SEO strategies, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Google’s mysterious algorithm; the cryptic formula that instantaneously tabulates billions of variables to deliver the most relevant sites for any conceivable search topic. It’s the secret method that many have tried to decipher over the years (unsuccessfully, mind you). Furthermore, unlike sponsored ads, no amount of money is going to buy you that elusive real estate. That being said, no one is going to take your page to the top spot for a general search term overnight and no self-respecting agency or SEO consultant would make that claim in the first place. It takes time and effort to make that happen. What we are saying is that putting in the groundwork to bring your page closer to the top of the rankings is, in itself, the proof that consumers are looking for when they are wanting to make a purchase. When Google says you are the BEST resource for a given search term, it simply doesn’t get more authentic than that.
  4. SEO is Cost-Effective: This is a big one, especially during a recession in which every dime must be carefully accounted for and spent with at least some kind of expected return in mind. Now we had better make this distinction early on. Notice we didn’t say that SEO is “cheap”. We said “cost-effective”. What do we mean by that? Compared to your standard marketing and advertising costs, a concentrated and effective SEO strategy will bring you, by far, your biggest return on investment. If God forbid you have to cut off your PPC or social media advertising budgets, that’s it. No more PPC advertising. No more social media advertising. If you have to cut off your SEO budget, all of your hard work remains intact and the weight you’ve added to your website will STILL crank out leads, at least for a while. Remember, SEO is not billboard dollars spent trying to get your name in front of huge amounts of people, most of whom may have no interest in your products or services. The money you’re spending on SEO is spent with the SINGLE expectation that your brand reaches people who are already searching for what you’re selling. These are valuable leads who are actively looking to buy and just need to find the right provider.
  5. SEO Will Last Much Longer Than A Recession: It might be hard to see right now, but recessions are temporary. Sooner or later, the economy will rebound and things will start getting back to normal. People will get back to doing what they love and your business and your employees will be back in action. Months from now, the uncertainty and apprehension you’re feeling will be nothing more than a memory. This is why the most important thing you can do for your business right now is to make sure that when life gets back to normal, you’re ready. Optimizing your site is a long term investment. Putting your site at the forefront of Google’s recommendations is something you’ll be able to rely on six months, a year, or five years down the road (assuming you keep up on it, of course). So as unclear as things may be right now, start looking at the future and getting your SEO plan in place today.
  6. SEO is Essential: You’ve probably pieced this one together by now. SEO is essential to the future of your business. Optimizing your site from top to bottom will bring you leads you didn’t know existed. A high-ranking page is the ultimate endorsement for your audience and maintaining it through an extensive SEO strategy is vital. SEO produces an ROI other strategies can’t touch and the work you put in today will last so much longer than any other marketing strategy or campaign you’ll be running any time soon. If you want your business to come out on top once the recession has come to an end, then SEO is where it’s at.

Why Is SEO Important Right Now?

For a minute, think about what life will be like a year or two from now. The recession is over, people are happy, and things are basically back to normal. Life is good.

Now think about the state of your business and how you’re handling your marketing strategies one year from today. Are you still casting wide advertising nets, blowing up inboxes with newsletters and bulletins, and begging anyone who’ll listen to follow you on Instagram? Or are the leads coming to you?

You want people who are searching for your products and services to recognize you as a local and trusted brand. You WILL start seeing a steady incline of traffic and conversions on your site, but only if you’re planning ahead.

We cannot stress this enough: NOW is the time to get your SEO plan developed and implemented. At Timmermann Group, we talk a lot about “proactive” versus “reactive” marketing and this is a prime example. Reactive marketing is getting your brand in front of consumers where they’re already looking (like a search engine). With a concentrated plan to enhance your site’s SEO, you’re laying the groundwork for future success. But you can’t afford to wait. Get started TODAY!

What Should I Be Doing?

  1. Don’t Panic: I know. Easier said than done, right? But trust us on this one. The best thing you can do to ensure that your business gets through these tough times is to take a deep breath and know that this will all pass in time. Operating on fear and emotion can change the trajectory of your business and will only deter what you’re trying to create. Don’t let it happen.
  2. Plan: If you’re not already, it’s time to figure out where you’re ranking in terms of relevant keywords right now. From there, you’ll be able to see how your competitors are ranking, what they’re offering that you’re not, and how much ground you have to make up. Also, check out Google Trends to see what people in your market are searching for. In recognizing these trends, you can adjust your content strategy accordingly. That way, when things pick up again, you’re in the driver’s seat. Don’t let this process get you down. Putting in the hard work now is essential to bringing in the traffic and conversions you’re needing down the line. Figuring out where you stand, where you want to be, and what you have to do to get there is vital right now.
  3. Don’t Start Experimenting: Now’s not the time to start trying out different strategies on your own. Now is the time to hire a professional who has performed this hundreds of times before. Experimenting with SEO can have severe consequences ranging from dropping in your rankings to getting your domain banned from Google’s index.
  4. Don’t Just Hire A Consultant: Our industry is full of people who’ll claim to know everything there is to know about search engine optimization. They might layout a handful of minor website tweaks with the vague promise of bringing you right to the top of Google’s SERPs. They might dazzle you with their unique ability to tell you what needs to happen to make your website rank. What you need though is someone who can develop a strategy to make your website rank AND implement what is required to make your website start churning out leads or sales. This leads me to my next point…
  5. Partner With A Full-Service SEO Agency: SEO is not something that you’re going to knock out in a day or two. And it’s not something that is going to turn your business around overnight. And it’s not something that’s ever going to be “complete” as there’s ALWAYS room to do more. For instance, while more content is always a plus, you need to take this opportunity to make sure your pages are loading quickly, your photos are engaging, your content is easy to find, and your user-experience is top-notch. That’s certainly a lot to ask of anyone person. For these reasons, it’s best to partner with a full-service SEO agency that can develop your SEO strategy, but can implement that strategy, and monitor successes both big and small, offer tips for growth, and truly turn your website into a 24/7 lead generating and sales machine. You need someone in your corner that is going to lay out a plan and put in the hard work to make this all happen on a realistic timeline.

How to Measure Success:

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see an immediate uptick in website traffic. That’s normal and is to be expected. During economic crisis times, there may not be as many people searching for what you’re offering and that’s okay. Right now, what is most important is discovering where your keywords are ranking, where your competitor’s keywords are ranking, and (if you’re behind) how to best close that gap. If your site can lay claim to as many relevant keywords as you can right now, then you can bet the traffic and conversions will come in time. Remember, unlike a social media or PPC campaign, this is not something that’s going to start cranking out results right away. It takes research, planning, and patience to make your SEO investments pay off. But trust in the process and we promise, it’ll all work out in the end.


During a recession, investing in a sound SEO strategy needs to be at the center of your marketing plan. Now is not the time to throw in the towel nor is it the time to start getting eccentric on your advertising ideas. We suggest finding a reputable full-service SEO agency that can outline an SEO-focused plan, get you pointed in the right direction, and set yourself up for a major influx of business once things get back to normal. If you put in the work and prepare now, you’ll be ranking and your customers will seek you out–not the other way around. Likewise, if your competition is out there and ignoring the benefits of Search Engine Optimization, they’ll have a lot of ground to make up in terms of catching you. Companies that do are poised for success. Companies that don’t will be buried on the second page of Google. Do what’s best for your business now and get your SEO plan of action in place.


You’ll get through this. Your company will get through this. We’ll all get through this. These lousy situations are just temporary and things will rebound in time. Just keep your mind focused on the end goal of advancing your business and making sure your audience knows that you are invested in serving them far better than your competitors are. Remember, because people already looking for what you are selling online, it’s your website that is going to do the convincing. With the right SEO planning, the right SEO mindset, and the right SEO partnerships, your business’s best days are yet to come.