You know that SEO helps your site rank well in search engine results, and that search engines help bring new visitors to your website. But is investing in SEO necessary for your business? You may be wondering what happens when you stop SEO.
Can you stop after you’ve reached the number one spot on Google for your most important keywords? Can you pause your SEO efforts for a while without seeing negative consequences? In this post, we’ll dive into these questions.
We’ll explore what happens when you stop SEO and help you decide whether you should continue your SEO efforts. Wondering about the current state of your SEO strategy? Use our SEO checker to get a free report!
To learn what happens when you stop SEO, just keep reading!
What happens when you stop SEO?
If you stop doing SEO, you’ll eventually start seeing lower rankings in search results.
Over time, this will lead to less organic traffic to your site and less visibility online. Your rankings will continue to decline until you use SEO strategies to increase them again. That’s not to say that your rankings will drastically drop off overnight.
You’ll likely see little change for several weeks to months after stopping SEO. Eventually, though, your rankings will start to slip. Then, they’ll continue downward until you start using SEO to bring them back up.
Your rankings will drop especially fast if your competitors continue doing SEO while you take a break, enabling them to outrank you. When your search rankings start to decline, so will your organic traffic — the number of users who come to your site from organic listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). You can expect to see numbers such as those shown in the following graph from Google Analytics, which shows the number of organic users remaining steady and then starting to drop.
Organic traffic is crucial to online businesses and website owners.
It drives more than half of all website traffic and can drive more than 40 percent of a company’s revenue. Even a relatively small decrease in rankings can have a significant impact, since about 75 percent of users stay on the first page of search results. If you drop to the second page of results, you could see a significant decrease in traffic.
While the rate at which rankings and organic traffic decrease will vary from site to site, you can expect that your online visibility will eventually take a hit.
Why is it important to avoid stopping SEO?
SEO isn’t a one-time project with a clear end-date. It’s a long-term strategy, and keeping your site performing well in search requires continual effort. So, why is it important to avoid stopping SEO?
Here are some of the top reasons:
1. SEO is a constant competition
Thinking about stopping SEO? Keep in mind that your competitors won’t. If you’re not doing SEO, your competition has an excellent opportunity to outrank you.
If they continue working on their SEO, while your site remains static, their site will likely eventually rise above yours in search results.
2. Google may change its ranking criteria
Google is constantly tweaking the algorithm it uses to rank search results, and it occasionally rolls out larger updates. These changes mean that you have to regularly update your strategy to keep up. Something that worked well last month won’t necessarily work this month.
That’s why it’s essential to keep up with these updates and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
3. Google values regular updates
Regularly updating your site may also help boost your rankings directly. “Freshness” may be a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. If a discontinued SEO campaign means you don’t regularly update your site in ways that are beneficial to users, your rankings may suffer.
4. You’ll miss opportunities
Not doing SEO means you’ll miss out on lots of opportunities to earn traffic and leads. Some of these opportunities include:
- Additional chances to rank: Every new piece of content is another chance to rank well in search engines. Fresh content also gives you the opportunity to rank for new keywords that can bring more leads to your site.
- Earned links: Links from other sites are an important ranking factor.
They show Google that your site is trustworthy and provides valuable information. When you stop creating and sharing new content, you reduce your chances of earning new links.
- Returning visitors: Without new or updated content, people have fewer reasons to return to your site. You also won’t have fresh content to share via social media and email to drive traffic to your site.
- SEO-friendly site updates: Even if you’re not doing SEO, you’ll still likely need to complete regular site maintenance and updates, such as implementing web design tweaks or adding a new product listing.
All of these updates are chances to boost your SEO. If you don’t consider SEO when doing these updates, they could also hurt your rankings.
5. You leave risks to go unnoticed
A discontinued SEO campaign means you’re not paying attention to potential risks or problems with your SEO. If you don’t attend to these issues, you will potentially miss out on leads and sales for your business. Some potential risks include:
- Technical SEO issues that go unnoticed: Sometimes, things break on a website.
- Harmful links: It’s important to keep an eye on your backlink profile to ensure you don’t have too many low-quality links to your site. If a lot of spammy sites link to yours, Google may think your site is spammy too. You need to regularly disavow these links, or they can hurt your SEO.
- Stolen content: Sometimes, people take others’ content on the web and use it as their own.
If someone copies your content onto their own site, you could get penalized for having duplicate content, resulting in lower rankings. To protect your rankings, you need to regularly check for stolen content.
Should you stop SEO?
So, is it a good idea to stop doing SEO for your website? If you want to get the maximum benefit from your SEO, it’s important to keep investing in it consistently.
You know now what happens when you stop SEO. While you won’t lose all of your traffic overnight, over time, you will most likely experience a decrease in rankings and organic traffic. Even if you’ve already gained the number one spot for several keywords, you can lose that spot after some time away from SEO.
To ensure your site performs reliably well in search and make your site visible to the 1 billion people that use Google every month, consistent SEO work is essential.
Let WebFX help you maintain your SEO
If you’re stopping SEO because you don’t have the time to dedicate to it, we’re here to tell you there are other options. At WebFX, we have more than 25years of experience and a team of more than 450 digital marketing experts. We’ve also driven more than $3 billion in revenue for our clients through our digital marketing campaigns.