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During the Great Depression, there were two household names dominating the cereal shelf; Kellogg and Post. With uncertain market conditions and inflation, Post made the common decision many companies are making right now, to cut their budget on marketing. Kellogg decided to double their ad budget which resulted in almost 30% increase in profits. 

Many studies show the importance of consistent investment in marketing and research and development, even in difficult financial times. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for every company and especially for tech startups.

Research done by Sapio in June 2022, shared insights into how businesses across the US, UK, Japan, and Germany are preparing for the future. 84% of US respondents estimate that their business will feel the impact of the recession by Summer 2023. 72% of respondents in the UK, 64% in Japan, and 75% in Germany.

In light of this, the top mitigation activities across countries are canceling non-essential business contracts, decreasing sales and marketing activities, and restructuring. Sadly, not all marketing budgets are equal and SEO’s may get the short end of it. Across all four countries, social media and paid social media were their most valued channels.

This corresponds with Gartner’s Marketing and Budget Strategy Report for 2022 that stated more than 60% of digital spend is allocated to paid channels. 

Another study that surveyed SaaS companies shared that 64% of respondents had a budget cut, and out of those, 80% saw their marketing budgets cut. Respondents shared difficulty reaching marketing goals, specifically in outbound and organic & social. 

SEO may not have the same appeal to executives as TikTok or Paid but there is incredible value in building a resilient SEO strategy.

What is SEO Resiliency?

SEO resiliency is the ability of an SEO strategy to adapt to changes in its environment while maintaining profitability.

Inspired by sustainable economic development, this framework involves building a strategy that has the ability “to cope with external stresses and disturbances as a result of social, political, and environmental change” (Adger 2000) without “losing the capacity to allocate resources efficiently”(Perrings 2006). 

In times of changing algorithms and budgets, this sounds like exactly what an SEO strategy needs. This ensures that your strategy is flexible and adaptable. 

SEO resiliency is about weathering the storm. 

  • If a Google algorithm update drops will your site be hit?
  • Are you utilizing any “quick tricks” that may be frowned upon by search engines?
  • If your budget was cut by 50% tomorrow would you lose significant traffic?
  • How are you performing compared to your competitors?
  • Are users coming back to your website?

Creating an SEO strategy and process that includes risk assessment, monitoring, and adaptability are steps towards building SEO resiliency.

Building SEO Resiliency 

I believe that if you want to build SEO resiliency, there are six areas that can be evaluated through a series of questions that can be self-determined, but below I have offered some examples of what types of questions you may consider. 

Let’s go through an example of how this can be done. Ask your team, on a scale of 1 to 10, do you think our SEO strategy is collaborative and inclusive? Have them write down an answer. Then open up the floor to others by asking them how they determined their score and if there were any questions they considered. 

Make sure everyone is heard at this stage and ask any additional questions that you may have felt were not considered. After the conversation, ask everyone to score your SEO strategy for collaboration and inclusivity. 

Repeat this process through all six areas and average all the scores. You may be surprised at the results pre-discussion vs post-discussion and find gaps in your strategy that were simply overlooked. 

Is your SEO strategy…Questions to ask
Collaborative and Inclusive– Have we created opportunities for open dialogue and discussion to ensure that all voices are heard and considered in the development of our SEO strategy?
– Have we leveraged diverse perspectives and ideas to improve the accessibility and usability of our website for all users?
– Have we considered the search habits and needs of a diverse audience, and incorporated these insights into our keyword research and content creation?
Ethical– Are all workers compensated appropriately for their contributions?
– Does our content accurately reflect the product or service offering?
– Have we adhered to industry best practices and ethical guidelines in the development and implementation of our SEO strategy?
– Have we avoided the use of “black hat” SEO tactics, such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, or link schemes?
Sustainable– Does our strategy align with the organization’s overall sustainable goals and values?
– Have we optimized our website content to be evergreen and remain relevant over time, rather than focusing solely on short-term gains?
– How efficient is our content production process?
– How clean is the site architecture?
– Is there the potential for team burnout?
Adaptable– Have we identified potential changes in our operating environment, including market trends, technological advancements, and regulatory changes, that may impact our strategy?
– How easily can we make website changes?
– How easily can we pivot your strategy?
– Are all team members educated in the latest techniques?
– Are we monitoring metrics regularly?
Diverse– Is organic the only source of traffic?
– Have we sought input and feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders?
– Have we considered the needs and search habits of different audience segments, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures?
– Have we established partnerships or collaborations with other websites or organizations to broaden our reach and increase diversity in our SEO strategy?
Documented– Is there written documentation on the SEO process?
– Does everyone have access to this documentation?
– Are there set metrics and goals shared and documented?
– Have we identified the resources required to implement our strategy, including personnel, technology, and financial resources?
– Have we established a process for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of our strategy, including regular progress reports and updates?

SEO Resilience Through Consistency

Fortunately for us SEOs, consistency is a core tenant of our industry and by nature that makes what we do more resilient when compared to other distribution channels. Unfortunately, our budgets are not always as consistent. 

In spite of SEO’s shouting from the rooftops that consistent investments in SEO will lead to an increase in ROI overtime not every company has the ability to cope in difficult financial times. 

Creating a diverse and healthy SEO strategy that doesn’t need constant tweaking is more important than ever. Your strategy, content, and website should be able to breathe and survive during budget reductions. 

Understand and communicate with decision makers that the competitive nature of SEO means that you need to be consistent, as it will be more difficult and expensive to catch up later on if competitors are increasing SEO efforts.

Consistency is key. The investment can remain affordable, but continuing to update content, build links, and monitor performance needs to remain uninterrupted. 

Dropping off the radar completely, while your competitors dominate the search results can do far more harm than good to your brand recognition and reputation. Developing a long-term SEO strategy that takes into account market changes and evolving search algorithms.

In the B2B SaaS space, buying cycles can be incredibly long, especially in enterprise B2B, so continuing to invest in SEO will help nurture visitors at all stages of the funnel. 

SEO is a momentum game, pausing efforts risks your site to lose traction which compounds over time, making it difficult to compete and in turn, be seen in search.

SEO Strategies for the Interim

The budget was already cut, you are working on reduced resources, but still want to show the value SEO can bring to a website and brand. Now is the perfect time to run a content audit which can help set the stage for a year of activities to improve your search presence. 

Updating Published Content

After your content audit there are probably a handful of blog posts or pages with outdated content or content that can be refreshed to boost rankings. Start with pages that have their top ranking keyword falling between pages 2 and 3. After working your way through them, prioritize the remaining content based on brand alignment. 

For example, there may be a blog post written 5 years ago that covers a great topic and ideally you want to rank first page for it, but sadly the article is thin and outdated. Perfect time to slowly build out the content for this blog knowing that the URL is already indexed, so an update can boost rankings very quickly.

Pruning Blog Content

It is easy to allow your blog to be a host of content that doesn’t reflect your current offerings or brand identity. Pruning content that serves no purpose to readers will help boost the user experience. 

It can also help reduce crawl budget, cleaner architecture.

If after your content audit you realize there are 30 blog posts with minor product updates or random posts on any topic under the sun. These are perfect for culling. While it is easy to assume no one will go to those posts, believe me, they end up there somehow. It can be a random internal link or query you never anticipated and someone went 10 pages into the search and are now on your outdated and not helpful content. 

Remove this content. if you are attached to it, draft it and save it, but unpublish it from your site. There is no need for any customers to land in your laundry room. 

Image and Video Optimization

Optimize images and videos to help boost site speed, user experience, and SERP opportunities. With the landscape of a search results page changing, SEOs need to adapt outside of just written content. This is a great chance to optimize the visual elements around your site, including photo, video, and audio. 

Compressing images to reduce file size and improve website loading speed, using descriptive keyword-rich file names for images, adding alt text, and using image sitemaps can all help search engines understand on-page content better as well as improve user experience. 

One way to improve time on page and engage website visitors across media formats. Utilize existing videos on relevant blog posts to make them not only more engaging, but give them a boost in search results. For example, if you have a video on ‘setting up an email marketing campaign’ sitting on YouTube, either add it to an existing article on the same topic or create one! Be sure to add links to relevant content on your site from your video descriptions, too. 

Videos can greatly benefit from optimizations, which can happen even after they are filmed. A task as simple as applying structured data to a video can help boost organic visibility. Without structured data, embedded videos are not providing much SEO value to the page they are on.

Yoast Video SEO can automatically generate structured data and apply it to your videos with a modest yearly license. 

Laura James, Senior SEO Consultant at Flow recommends creating videos from existing case studies as they are the most effective and cheapest type of video to create. She shared

When done right, they can really showcase your products capabilities and encourage more visitors down the conversion funnel. They can also be embedded within email campaigns and are excellent at providing social proof. You don’t need a big production, simply get in touch with your favorite customers – those who are your biggest supporters – and see if they’d be willing to chat with you over video call about their challenges and how you’ve helped them. Make use of screenshots and demo snippets to illustrate points discussed, edit together and voila!

Content Repurposing

Recycling is not just for plastics, but content is easily recycled and thus a more sustainable and valuable use of your time. If a piece of content is already working why not expand on that idea or repurpose it into other mediums. 

Many software companies are producing original research relevant to their industry and audience. These types of pieces are used for lead generation to collect emails and provide a download to the report. Transforming this content into blog or social posts can provide original trustworthy content – exactly what search engines are looking for. Especially in light of content being generated by AI

Structured Data

Structured data is easy for any website to achieve and there are countless plugins and documentation across the internet on how to do this. If your site is using an SEO plugin such as Yoast or RankMath then you have the ability to set it up automatically. 

Implementing structured data across your website can help boost SERP features on key pages such as product pages or blog posts. For example, implementing software structured data along with aggregated ratings will appear in search results under the meta description.

This can also be done with videos, photos, and other elements to ensure your brand appears in search in a variety of mediums and placements. 

Benchmarking and Reporting SEO in Unstable Markets

SEOs are experiencing extraordinary circumstances as our budgets are being cut, so is our access to Google’s Universal Analytics. It is crucial that this is taken into consideration when preparing goals with clients and colleagues (especially for YoY data). 

From our experience at Flow, UA and GA4 data will not match, and it isn’t meant to. GA4 is an event-based measurement model, whereas UA is session-based. This means that new baseline metrics need to be established as you cannot compare data between UA and GA4. 

Set new expectations for those involved in the SEO process, in a time of economic uncertainty, growth is not always possible. A podcast episode posted on TechCrunch titled “Flat is the new up, down is the new flat, and dead is the new down” aimed at startup tech said it best. 

Be mindful of broad business objectives and capacity so as to not oversell your SEO outcomes. It is also useful to monitor not only traffic but search volumes, industry trends, and competitors to get deeper insights into what users are looking for and how the competition is (or is not) adapting. 

To complicate things further for SEOs, ongoing protections for data privacy will continue to challenge current marketing strategies and data collection methodology. First-party data will be of ever growing importance for personalization and connecting with users. 

Consider using interviews or surveys with sales teams and customers to gain unique insights into the customer experience which can then be transformed into content and social proof. 

SEO Resiliency for a More Sustainable Search

Building SEO resiliency creates a better environment for your business, brand, website, employees, and customers. This framework allows you to maintain and scale efforts with buy-in from all stakeholders in an equitable way. It helps ensure alignment on strategies and consistency in brand voice.

In addition to these benefits, SEO resiliency also contributes to a more sustainable search ecosystem. By prioritizing ethical and sustainable SEO practices, businesses can reduce their environmental impact, support diversity and inclusion, and build long-term value for their stakeholders. By taking a proactive approach to SEO resiliency, businesses can also adapt more effectively to changing market conditions and emerging trends, and remain competitive over the long-term. Ultimately, investing in SEO resiliency is an investment in the future success and sustainability of your business.


Helene Jelenc
Helene is one of our SEO specialists with a background in anthropology. When she isn’t writing about the interplay of culture and search, you can find her traveling to old cities and hanging out with her chickens.
Flow Blog

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