Let’s not sugar coat this, we are all aware of what is happening across the world right now. COVID-19 has spread to nearly every country and has had a major impact on the health of citizens, especially seniors.
The health of our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors is paramount and most companies, including iPullRank, have issued work-from-home and new sick-leave policies. If this wasn’t enough to worry about, the economic downturn that has been a side effect of the outbreak has resulted in stock markets plummeting.
When a recession hits, the knee-jerk reaction is to cut budgets, lay off workers, and focus on preventing further decreases. Oftentimes, marketing is one of the first areas to see massive reductions. If you’re in charge of making decisions like these, we are here to show you why cutting SEO budgets during an economic downturn is a mistake.
By the Numbers
While the effects of a recession are unfortunate, we are lucky enough to have data to show what brands have done to combat economic downturns in the past.
In the recession of 1990-1991 for example, companies that kept their marketing budget the same from pre- through post-recession saw an increase of more than 10% in their stock market valuations by the time the economy stabilized in 1992 compared to companies that cut their marketing budget during this time.
While Google wasn’t around during this particular recession, it shows that devaluing your marketing efforts can hurt your bottom line in the end. With digital marketing dominating the industry over the past few decades, SEO should not fall out of favor or you could risk your bottom line in the end.
Heavy Hit Industries during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Each recession impacts different markets uniquely, however, and it appears that the travel and transportation industries will be hit the hardest from the COVID-19 recession due to social restriction and emergency precautions.
Companies in these industries are naturally going to have to cut their budgets somewhere, but based on the results seen from the early 1990’s recession would marketing be the smartest area to cut?
Above you can see how a popular travel company’s news website has been impacted because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Starting in late January, the site’s online visibility began to drop and by mid February it was nearly non-existent. This wasn’t a mom and pop shop either, this was one of the most well known brands in the world.
They’re not alone either. Above you can see an automotive classifieds and information company’s Google Search Console. The decrease has just barely begun, but since the beginning of March the number of impressions and clicks have started to drop.
If you think about how search engines work, shifting traditional marketing budgets over to SEO will have major benefits for companies like these. As your competitors slice SEO budgets, their share of voice in search engine results will begin to drop from a lack of maintenance of top performing pages and a decrease in new content creation and link acquisition.
Everyone in these industries will be affected, but focusing on increasing your share of voice in Organic Search now can help you gain an extra step ahead of your competitors once markets recover and life gets back to normal.
Growing Industries During COVID-19
Media companies, like television and video, have seen a large spike in traffic, with financial aid and computer certification leading the way, and they have seen these increases for good reason. In this time, everyone is watching or reading the news more than usual, and the demand for prepping for shelter-in-place policies has made online learning and even more of a commodity. The need for money and loans to get through this difficult time have been attributed to the spike in the financial industry.
These types of companies are less likely to have to cut budgets and reallocate funds, but investing more of their budget in SEO now could have a more immediate impact on their bottom line.
Consumers are still going to need products and services, and industries like food and healthcare are seeing a rise in demand. Also, it is important to remember that competitors in these industries will probably be focusing heavily on SEO and content creation as well so investing in SEO is important to stay up to speed with others in these industries.
For example, above you can see Google Search Console data from a major lender that has seen major increases in impressions and clicks. Not only has this company been impacted by certain changes in the industry, but also from 2 years of continuous work to their site.
While this company sees increases in visibility, it would benefit them to increase their SEO budget and focus on updating old pieces of content to be more applicable to the current climate and result in immediate growth during this time.
Evaluating the Market and Planning Ahead
The Dow Jones industrial index dropped from a high of more than 29,000 points to around 20,000 as of March 18 and it doesn’t appear to be slowing.
This is a time when many companies make rash decisions, but this is also a time where some managers and C-suite employees can make bold ones. Investing in SEO now will not only help to curb the decrease in visibility many industries currently face, but will place these companies ahead of their competition once the outbreak has passed and markets stabilize.
Now is the ideal time to invest in solving technical SEO issues, creating quality content, and putting together a post-COVID-19 strategy. If you take these steps now, you can avoid being overwhelmed once everything passes.
More than anything, be sure to be safe and take the proper precautions to stay healthy and prevent the spread of this disease. Google Data Studio recently released a great report on the COVID-19 virus so you can track numbers as well. The more we stick together and follow the guidelines laid out by W.H.O. the better chance we have at returning to our usual lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Despite being remote, our team of content strategists, SEO experts, and Analysts are still working hard to ensure our clients achieve their goals. Contact our experts at iPullRank to get a better understanding of some of the ideal actions that need to take place now and how we can help.