One of the hardest things about fluctuating economic climates is just that … it causes everything to be in flux, even your marketing. The behaviors of your clients and potential clients can change dramatically depending on the current economic climate, which means they want and need something different from your company depending on what they are experiencing. You can probably see how that would be a challenge when it comes to your marketing efforts.
One thing that remains constant, however, in good times and bad, is that SEO can help your business survive and thrive. In fact, savvy businesses can capitalize on this opportunity by recognizing those shifts and adapting their content strategies to accommodate the need.
So let’s look at what SEO is and why it is a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal – no matter what the headlines say.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of helping a website or piece of content rank higher on Google. There are several elements that makeup SEO, all geared toward making your website more visible. The key difference between SEO and paid advertising is that SEO involves “organic” ranking, which means you don’t pay to be in that space.
For a full breakdown of what SEO entails, check out our article What is SEO and Why Does Your Business Need It?
What Role Does SEO Play in Marketing?
SEO data provides real-time customer insights, which are always important but essential during tumultuous market conditions, in guiding your marketing decisions. In fact, 71% percent of marketers say SEO data does or will feed directly into their company’s business intelligence.
For instance, when SEO data reveals purchase intent is low, brands can elevate content designed to educate, inform, and build trust with key audiences. SEO data also can help you tap into new and evolving opportunities that arise from market fluctuations, competitive landscape changes, and the seemingly constant Google algorithm updates.
Compared to traditional and expensive media, the conventional wisdom of holding back on your marketing budget – particularly for SEO – is a short-sighted strategy that erodes your brand presence over time. If you want to be positioned for growth during the recovery that inevitably follows a downturn or recession, the prediction stage is exactly the time to invest in SEO.
Content Marketing + SEO
Let’s be honest, content is king. Gone are the days of simply stuffing your website with relevant keywords without providing any value. Rather, Google’s latest helpful content update notes that websites with large amounts of content that don’t help the reader – content written for the sole purpose of search engine rankings – will be penalized.
The search algorithm, rather, requires your content to be smart and engaging, and filled with facts and quality commentary. In reality, in the different phases of a fluctuating economic climate, your content marketing and SEO will play an evolving role.
- Stabilizing: Focus on crucial in-demand trends and intent and content topics.
- Rebounding: Focus on helpful, valuable, and converting categories.
- Recovering: Prepare new content informed by keyword content analysis and optimize key content pages – fixing errors that would hamper the future user experience.
- Accelerating: Look at high-demand trends and capitalize on those SEO and content opportunities right now.
Making SEO Work For You
As long as websites and search engines exist, SEO (and quality content marketing) is necessary. It is likely that SEO 10 years from now will be very different from SEO today, but you’ll always have to make sure your website is sending search engines the right signals so you can be found.
So how can you ensure your SEO is working for you?
- Measure what matters – Track metrics on search rankings for specific keywords, click-through rates from search, on-site visitor behavior, etc., to assess what content is working and what content is not as successful.
- [Pro-Tip: Don’t forget about measuring competitor intelligence, too.]
- Drive your content strategy – SEO insights can inform the content focus each month and quarter. By producing engaging educational and informational content, you can drive discovery by new audiences.
- Plan for the long-term – Set realistic expectations for the content you’re producing and its role in the future. How does it meet your client’s needs today? What purpose will it serve next year? Use your SEO insights to plan content that aligns with the non-linear customer journey and feeds their various search intents.
- Repurpose quality content – Use SEO insights to feed your content planning and spot new opportunities for content repurposing. A well-performing piece of content can be transformed into socially shareable images, video clips, infographics, email copy, and other marketing assets.
What About Local SEO?
While traditional SEO aims to boost search visibility across a broader scale, usually nationally or globally, a local SEO campaign also wants to boost search visibility, but within a much smaller geographic area. Think of those daily “near me” searches you conduct on Google, and you know what local SEO is.
Wondering whether this is important for your business?
- Nearly half of all Google queries today are local searches
- 72% of consumers who search for a local business visit a store within five miles
- 80% of local searches that are performed on mobile devices convert into sales
Local SEO campaigns place an enormous emphasis on Google Maps rankings since these appear above the standard organic results. Organic search results are still important for local campaigns, but they are not the chief concern for most local SEO strategists.
Rather, ranking a business in the coveted Google Map Pack is a big indicator of a brand’s local success. The “map pack” consists of the first 3 Google Map listing results that appear in search, making it a hot commodity.
You have worked hard to build your business, and its digital presence—so now be sure that it is seen. For help building and executing your SEO strategy, contact MJ2 Marketing today for a consultation.