Over the course of the past few years, businesses of all types, sizes and descriptions have been forced to navigate uncharted waters as we make our way through a rapidly-changing, global economic downturn. Many business owners are looking for ways to cut costs in order to weather the storm intact, and the marketing budget makes for a tempting target in uncertain times.
But is it the right move to stop or start SEO during a recession? And, if you can only keep one, is advertising or SEO the better choice for your business needs?
In modern times, the internet is the most crucial arena for marketing almost any business, product or service to consumers. There are a lot of different methods of delivery and strategies, but they tend to break down into two key categories: paid advertising, and organic traffic from search engine optimization (SEO).
Advertising is when you pay a fee to have your ad displayed on a search engine, website or social media feed, while SEO involves maximizing your online presence with optimized content, link building, and much more in order to increase your ranking and appear high up on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO and advertising are both solid strategies, and in an ideal world, business owners could utilize both in tandem for the best possible results.
But when we're talking about advertising versus SEO during a recession, it's sometimes necessary to be more choosy about where to focus your marketing efforts.
That leads us to the question of whether it is better to stick with (or start) advertising or SEO during a recession period.
There are multiple ways to approach online advertising and different types of online advertising work best for different purposes. For example, Google Ads can be quite effective at getting clicks and leads from specific types of clients, because they can be targeted very precisely at your ideal customer or client.
They tend to have a relatively high conversion rate of around 18 to 20+ percent on average. Social media ads, on the other hand, tend to have a much lower conversion rate of only about 0.5 to two+ percent, but they're very effective at building awareness of your brand, which is a long-term strategy that can pay off slowly over time.
The factor that makes advertising in a recession a riskier choice is that it is only effective while you are actively paying for the ad to be displayed. If your advertising budget shrinks and you stop paying, naturally the ad will no longer be displayed—and any benefits you were getting from your marketing spend will stop immediately, which can make difficult times even worse.
Simultaneous or successive ads don't build on the success of the previous ads, so in terms of marketing tactics, it can feel like starting from scratch with every new ad.
SEO strategies are a very different type of marketing from advertising. Rather than drawing attention directly from your customer base, search engine optimization is focused on enhancing the quality of your online presence, including your website, Google Business profile and social media channels, so that search engine AI systems will flag your content as interesting, engaging and helpful.
That means your company will appear more frequently and higher up in search engine results when potential clients or customers enter a search term relevant to the products or services you offer.
Measuring conversion rates for SEO is more complicated than direct advertising, but that doesn't mean you can't expect significant returns from your SEO efforts. For example, Google Business profile tends to convert at a high rate of around 20 to 25+ percent on average.
It's also extremely beneficial for building consumer confidence and the credibility of your company, because consumers automatically understand on some level that a site with a high organic ranking on search engine results pages has done something right to earn that ranking, as opposed to simply paying for an advertisement placement.
And, unlike paid advertising, one of the biggest reasons why SEO during a recession is a smart choice is that the results are cumulative and you can continue building on them year after year as your business success expands.
Paid advertising can be a highly effective digital marketing strategy, but when it comes to finding the best recession marketing strategy, investing in SEO during a recession is most likely to net the marketing ROI you're looking for.
Here are the key reasons why choosing SEO during a recession is the right move:
Are you considering starting or changing your marketing strategy during a recession? Speak with the knowledgeable SEO experts at Digital Shift before you make a decision. Our qualified team can explain more about why SEO during a recession is the right move for your company in our current economic climate, and how we can increase your leads to grow the success of your business.