How to recession-proof your Western Pennsylvania business marketing using Local SEO in 2022

Look, I know this might be difficult to hear, and it definitely might not seem this way, but recessions are temporary.

Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… sometime soon, the economy is going to snap out of it and rebound. Things will get back to normal.

People will go back to normal spending habits.

Prices will drop back to a more normal level.

Businesses, employers and employees will all be back in action.

Similarly, our business will all change out of the current economic event. When we come out of this recession, everything is going to look better.

What is really interesting is that when this all happens, businesses will likely ramp up their marketing and advertising budgets. They will build more social media content than ever before. Digital advertising will explode.

The thing is that with SEO… you don’t necessarily need this. Time is your friend.

And, let’s face it, right now is a great time to put into place SEO tactics. They usually take 3 to 6 months to take hold and can last years and years.

In this article, we are looking at SEO as a valuable, evergreen marketing tool. We’ll discuss the benefits that make SEO recession-proof. And, we’ll also look a little at local SEO to magnify SEO actions.

First off, SEO is recession-proof (and here’s why)

SEO (search engine optimization) is a digital marketing method that increases inbound traffic from sources like Google. SEO helps to answer questions and find solutions so that Google can serve better results (and ads).

SEO takes time to get moving. In many cases SEO takes 1 month to 3 months (sometimes up to 6 months) to really see results. This time is valuable as the effects can last months, if not years.

Here’s a simple comparison…

Google Ads can cost thousands per month. The results are immediate. However, the ad itself is immediate, split-second… it is shown and then GONE.

With SEO, things are a bit different. SEO takes time to get warmed up and working. However, unlike ads’ limited lifespan, SEO can last a year, two years or even five or more.

This key difference is also the reason SEO is recession-proof. Recessions usually last 2 years or less. SEO can last years and years and years more. In fact, searching for some things in the digital marketing space might lead you to seeing articles about Local SEO, or SEO tactics, or Google Search from 2018, 2015 or even earlier.

The investment of SEO pays for itself in the first month search traffic increases. But that return on investment can continue for the life of the business (and longer).

I also get asked a lot about other forms of digital marketing versus SEO.

So, here’s a simple comparison…

SEO usually takes one month to 3 months or more for a normal contract. You will normally see the effect of these actions after month 3, will definitely see things get better by month 6 and then will see growth and the ripples for the first year, the second and even after 3 or more years. So, you could sign a normal SEO agency’s contract for 3 months, but see the positive effects for a year or more.

Now, let’s look at digital paid ads. Many people equate these to Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, but there are others. What makes digital paid ads different from SEO? Namely, the ads are only as good as when they are in front of your target market. The ad gets served, the person clicks are not, and then that is that. There is no long-term effect. You just get a conversion or not. The results can come faster, but the results can be much, much longer.

What in the #*($ is Local SEO?

Local SEO! It’s SEO, but – local?

Yep, that’s EXACTLY what Local SEO is!

It’s a good mixture that increases wins for small businesses and local businesses in a big way. Take SEO, all that goodness of optimizing your brand for Google and allow for regional indicators to raise your rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs).

At its foundation, SEO has two major considerations – content and links. Google has stated repeatedly that these two factors are like A and B, and the next rankings factors are leagues away in terms of ranking strength.

Local SEO adds in regional signals to the ranking algorithm.

What are regional signals?

The first one is actually simple, and every website should have this – your location. Your business should have a clear method of contact and positioning (and address or service area) for people visiting the website. In terms of Local SEO, we call this information your NAP information, or Name/Address/Phone.

The next regional signal involves the content that you create. My business, as an example, exists and services New Castle Pennsylvania. However, I also have clients in Neshannock, Sharon and over in Ohio. If they are within driving distance of New Castle, I am going to talk about those cities to link my region with my brand, and my industry.

The final regional signal is in the form of local citations. These are not just local in Erie, Pittsburgh and Youngstown. These can be industry-specific citations, Western Pennsylvania citations and general citations (Google My Business, Yahoo! Local, Yelp, etc).

The biggest reason why Local SEO is so valuable during a recession?

So, we’ve looked at the fact that SEO can last years, not just months. And, this is true even months and years AFTER you’ve finished an SEO campaign with an SEO agency.

We’ve also looked at the fact that the value of SEO, for its long-term effect, is actually head and shoulders above digital paid advertising. This is also true for social media and other methods of digital marketing.

We also checked out Local SEO; what it is and how it ranks.

But, there is something else to discuss that is the single biggest reason that Local SEO is so utterly valuable before, during and after a recession.

Here it is…

Local SEO will be the single most valuable investment, for the length of time you receive a return on your time and financial investment than anything else, including digital paid ads, social media, email marketing and website design and UI changes.

There is extreme value in Local SEO.

In many cases, you will likely spend $10,000, on average for 4 to 6 months of local SEO services. Your results will increase in months 7 and 8, 9 and 10, the first year and into the second… AND even the third!

For a 6 month digital paid advertising campaign, you could see results on day one, will see them after the first month with all of the data and they will end after 6 months. Remember, if the person cannot see the ad, they cannot click the ad.

With SEO, there is a value in the method of people finding you as well.

Think about this…

How many people that you know have Facebook on their phone? How many have YouTube? How many have LinkedIn? Twitter? TikTok? Instagram?

Some people have them all, others only have a few, sometimes one and in rare circumstances, none.

But, how many people that you know run searches on their phone? 100%?

And there is a huge value over social media platforms.

Google, because it is linked as the ‘search engine’, people use it all the time. There isn’t a social media platform that is like that. Facebook is pretty close. For professionals, LinkedIn is close. But they are nothing like Google and Google Search.

Once again, this all comes down to value.

Final thoughts on Local SEO, the recession and what your business can do (better)

Today we looked at the core value of SEO and local SEO – specifically at how it’s “evergreen” nature of lasting a long, long time can help longer than a recession’s lifespan. Compared to other forms of marketing, digital marketing and advertising, local SEO can really insulate your marketing dollars no matter what economic events present themselves to hurt you.

One last tip: starting NOW means that you will have that staying power over the next year or two (or even three, four or five). For any businesses in and doing business in New Castle, Butler, Sharon, Erie and even Pittsburgh, this means a lot.

Local SEO can help small businesses really supercharge their marketing dollars and it can last a long-ass time!

If you are ready to get started with some recession-proof marketing in the form of SEO and Local SEO, you can claim a free consultation today! We can talk about your brand, about your history, your employees and who you serve. You will walk away with a lot of knowledge, a game-plan on how to accomplish it all and, hopefully, a partner helping you succeed.