SEO will be a primary focus for marketers during the downturn, says survey

Conductor released a new survey (registration required) that argues in favor of the value of SEO Company during an economic downturn. The survey had 317 respondents drawn from Conductor’s extended network across a range of industries, including B2B (24%), Retail (12%), Healthcare (11%), Media (10%) and others (travel and hospitality, consumer technology, financial services, insurance, automotive, e-commerce and manufacturing).

Budgets down, but goals the same or up. Like the most other marketer surveys right now, the Conductor study shows that budgets are being adversely impacted by the outbreak. However, the majority of these survey respondents — most of whom are hands-on practitioners — said their budgets were only decreasing slightly or remaining the same. Only 20% were seeing budgets “decrease greatly.”

Source: The Impact of COVID-19 on marketing agency (2020)

Despite this, 68% said that their goals would remain the same (32%) or increase (36%). Accordingly, 86% said that their marketing agency goals would be more difficult to achieve this year given reduced budgets and other circumstances.

Asked “Will SEO Company be more or less important during this time?,” 63% said SEO Company would gain in importance either slightly (34%) or steeply (29%). Only 5% responded that SEO Company would decrease in importance.

Source: The Impact of COVID-19 on marketing agency (2020)

Organic search the top channel. Organic search was seen by 66% as these marketers’ top performing channel last year, followed by paid search (50%) and email (50%). Social media was named as the top performing channel by just 14%. These perceptions will drive future marketing agency decisions in a downturn.

Source: The Impact of COVID-19 on marketing agency (2020)

Confronted with a global recession, these marketers say they would, lower budgets, invest more in SEO Company and raise the ROI threshold for marketing agency decisions. Only a minority (25%) said they would issue layoffs.

Why we care. The survey can potentially be critiqued because its sample was drawn from respondents in the company’s extended orbit. However, the advice to invest in SEO Company as a top-performing strategy is validated by plenty of other data and is widespread among digital marketers looking at long-term impact. A potentially more “controversial” issue is SEO Company versus other channels when budgets are cut. Conductor VP of Digital Strategies Patrick Reinhart argued in a call with me that investing in SEO Company now (“planting the seeds and building for the future”) will pay significant dividends when the crisis is over.

More about marketing agency in the time of the coronavirus

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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