SEO has not only made it through three major recessions and a pandemic since the early 1990s, but it has also grown as an industry exponentially. Because of its long-term success, it is a good marketing investment for companies, no matter how much money they have.

SEO is the process of making websites and online content better so that they show up higher on SERPs (search engine result pages). By increasing the visibility of their websites, businesses can reach more potential customers searching for services or products like theirs. SEO brings more people to your website and helps build brand awareness and authority over time, which are important for growing your business or website when the economy is bad.

The economic climate may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure: SEO can be a great way to help your business stay afloat in the times of recession. By taking strategic steps to optimize your website and content for search engines, you can position yourself ahead of the competition and grow your customer base even when money is tight. Plus, if done correctly, investing in SEO now will pay dividends down the road as well.

Also, research has shown that proactive marketing such as SEO, plays a significant role in improving marketing performance during a recession.

From first hand experience, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, I saw brands that invested heavily and consistently in SEO come out of this period with great growth success stories.

Why SEO Still Works in a Recession: Cost-Effective and Resilient

SEO offers several advantages that make it well-suited to weathering challenging economic periods. The primary benefit of SEO during financial hardship is its cost-effectiveness compared to other forms of marketing. Since SEO focuses on organic content creation, companies don’t need to spend additional funds on paid placements whenever they want their message seen online.

With strategic keyword targeting and quality content production, they can climb the rankings without breaking the bank.

Additionally, most of the work associated with successful SEO implementation can be done in-house by existing employees familiar with the company’s brand messages and values. This saves businesses money when using SEO as part of their promotional strategy.

Another advantage that makes SEO perform well during a recession is its long shelf life. Once your website has been optimized for keywords related to your industry or services, and they are ranking in the top of SERPs, your results will come in fast.

Good SEO practices remain active until changes within Google’s algorithm changes drastically.

From experience, optimising technical SEO, content for the user, and having consistent backlinks hasn’t changed in years as the three strategies for SEO growth.

This could take years for a complete overhaul of Google’s systems, so this allows businesses to reap the benefits of their investment long term.

How To Do SEO in Recession

To prepare your website for SEO efforts during a recession, a comprehensive understanding of your current position in the marketplace is essential. Knowing your customers and what they want will give you valuable insight into how to proceed with your SEO strategy.

Take an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses within your business model, including products or services offered, to identify areas where improvements need to be made for SEO success.

Keyword research is also crucial and should come before any writing takes place. Finding relevant keywords has always been challenging with many different tools available today. However, customers commonly use target phrases related closely to particular topics to ensure maximum effectiveness of SEO endeavors.

Lastly, optimizing existing pages is often overlooked due to budget or personnel constraints. It’s sensible to update information regularly and ensure search intent is matched to the content and on-page SEO is checked off, such as titles tags, and meta descriptions. Simple actions like this can go a long way in helping your website rank higher in search engine results.

It’s important to ensure that your website is optimized for search engine visibility, as this will help your customers find what they need quickly and easily. Additionally, optimizing content with keywords related to popular online shopping trends can also be beneficial in drawing more traffic to the website.

Online Shopping Getting Stronger

As the world adjusts to economic uncertainty, businesses must stay informed of developing trends in order to remain competitive. Paying attention to how people are shopping online can give you a leg up on the competition, during the pandemic people were at home spending big online, as a result Black Friday 2022 resulted in $9.12 billion in online sales in a single day. Shoppers disregarded any fears of higher prices and an uncertain economy, resulting in unprecedented numbers.

While spending will generally decrease as people have less money or be more restrictive with choices, when they do decide to spend it’ll be likely online. Without a solid SEO strategy in place you can be leaving these potential customers to go to competitors who are investing in their organic search during this time.

Strategies for Optimizing SEO During a Recession: Prioritizing High-Value Content that Drives Conversions

Even in the midst of an economic downturn, consumer spending doesn’t completely halt. However, with consumers being more cautious with their spending, it’s crucial to convince them of the value your products and services offer over your competitors.

A powerful strategy to achieve this during a recession is to invest in high-quality, SEO-optimized content for your website. This content should not only enhance your online visibility but also foster trust and deliver value to your target audience.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean creating content that is purely promotional. As reported by Entrepreneur, about 70% of consumers prefer learning about brands through content rather than traditional advertising. While advertisements still hold a place in your marketing strategy, during a recession, it’s advisable to focus more on SEO by producing content that is educational and informative.

Creating content is just the first step. Ensuring it reaches the right audience is equally important. This involves optimizing your content with specific keywords. However, keyword optimization alone may not be sufficient. To make your content more noticeable and appealing, consider incorporating Schema Markup. This can help your content stand out as a rich result in search engine results, further enhancing your SEO efforts during a recession.

Final Words: SEO will overcome a recession

Though no one can predict the future, SEO is a long-term investment that can outlive an economic recession. It’s a reliable tool to keep your website visible and relevant on search engine results pages, even when the market changes or slows down.

It allows you to adjust strategies as needed to remain competitive during difficult times. As such, investing in SEO today is invaluable for weathering any potential downturns in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SEO still relevant in 2023?

Yes, SEO is and will remain relevant for a long time. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving to understand user intent better and improve search results for users, so optimizing your website for SEO is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. SEO will exist and thrive if there is a need to optimize content to make it more visible on the internet. With the introduction of Chat based AI tools into Bing and Google through Bard, we’ll see changes to SEO, however at the end of the day websites will need traffic to gain revenue.

Will SEO exist in 5 years?

SEO will still be an essential factor in digital marketing five years from now. SEO is necessary for businesses to reach their target audience and stay competitive. With the ever-changing digital technology landscape, the strategies used for optimizing websites will likely change over time, but the need to use SEO tactics won’t disappear.

Will AI replace SEO?

SEO and Artificial Intelligence both have their respective roles in the digital marketing world. While AI has come a long way and is continually evolving, it won’t replace SEO soon. Instead, AI can help enhance and optimize the existing SEO strategies by providing data-driven insights that human marketers may need help finding on their own.


Srinivasan, R., Rangaswamy, A., & Lilien, G. L. (2005). Turning adversity into advantage: Does proactive marketing during a recession pay off? International Journal of Research in Marketing22(2), 109–125.