In times of recession one of two scenarios play out – either the number of shonky operators increase, or there is a culling of operators as the weak fall away. SEO is one industry where the former may try to rear its head, but in the longer term the later will prevail leaving only the strong honest and reliable operators. That is one of the few positives in any economic downturn.
For you the customer it can only be good news. In fact current customers may well hold the future of SEO in their hands. In an offline world word-of-mouth advertising is pure gold; in the online world it’s pure titanium. Word-of-mouth has so many more outlets, and ears, and that is where the good and the bad will get filtered.
The process of SEO will also change with an emphasis being placed on visitors rather than search engines. Keywords will still play a part as will many of the current ranking factors. However factors like inbound links will slowly lose their influence.
Like word of mouth advertising, your visitors will be the influence on how good your site is and whether or not it is an authority for those keywords. If they stay and interact, you are meeting their need, if your visitor hits the back button straight away, then your not meeting that need and you will be ranked accordingly.
SEO will get stronger and become dominated by larger more professional entities. The shonks will slowly disappear and quality of those left behind will be reliable. The process will be longer but more effective with searchers finding what they want first time. It’s good for them and it will be good for you and ultimately, it’s good for SEO as well.