Search Engine Optimization During a Recession

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I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but we’re in the middle of an economic downturn. It’s been mentioned in a couple of places. What could this possibly mean for search engine optimization. On the one hand, it could mean that some businesses are cutting down on their search engine optimization budget. On the other hand, it means that companies and ecommerce sites may look more towards organic traffic and cut down on pay per click or other types of online marketing.

So SEO firms could potentially be in a good position, so long as they push SEO as a cheaper alternative to other forms of marketing. There is actually evidence that companies are doing just this: increasing SEO efforts, while cutting SEM.

But that’s not the only issue when it comes to optimization. Though this blog post began with snark, the truth is that today’s economic reality is on everyone’s mind, even if they’re not currently struggling financially. There’s a pervasive sense that the financial system will get worse, as even reliable investments have tanked, so everyone’s worried.

SEO and the Stock Market

Search engine optimization is something like playing the stock market. What’s that mean? It means that writing content relies on what’s the hot topic of the moment. You want to get in on the ground floor of a new topic before it becomes oversaturated with new content. Right now the web is atwitter with information about Twitter, so you’re seeing a cadre of new posts and services about Twitter. As people are worried about money, content should be geared towards money saving tips (and money making tips) in your particular industry. People are going to be looking towards making money on the web who may never have in the past.

So tips on saving money/tips on making money are a huge potential viral goldmine. In general, if you’re not thinking like this – gauging the mood of the moment and the biggest topics in the news – then you’re only doing part of the work of optimization. Keyword-targeted content is only part of the issue, even an insignificant part. Topic can outweigh things like keywords or title tags and be certain words like “economy,” “recession,” “great depression,” and related keywords are going to increase dramatically.

Of course, you need to somehow work this into the overall purpose of your site. Just providing budgeting tips could potentially bring in traffic, but it’s not traffic that’s going to “stick.” You want to effectively combine people’s new concerns with your business’s overall theme, so those looking for information about the recession online will have a reason to come back for another visit. That traffic needs to convert in terms of monetization and repeat visits. But imagine the viral implications of quality information on money-related topics, even if you don’t run a finance-related site. People are longing for this type of information.

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