While the debate is still out there, depending on who you talk to, SEO is one of the most important aspects of any online marketing campaign. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most misunderstood.
There’s a common misconception that once you start search engine optimization, you can ramp up traction and leave it at that. Some prefer to take the stance that you can stop your campaign, and sit back while leads and traffic flood in.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In order to maintain your visibility on search engines and the traffic you're getting as a result, you need to continuously work on your SEO strategy. That means sticking with it long-term and remaining patient.
We frequently hear people asking how long it takes to see results for this type of search marketing, but the truth is that it can take at least three to six months to see any tangible performance from a well-strategized campaign. That’s because there are a lot of moving parts to set it all up and build credibility on search engines like Google.
So, after this period, imagine you pulled the pin because you had seen some rankings and traffic spikes, but you felt it wasn’t enough for the amount of work already put in. This is typical because the best is still yet to come.
Deciding to quit prematurely means you miss out on all of the good stuff in the pipeline, or you’ll lose any of the goodies you’ve already received.
What happens when you stop your SEO efforts?
If you’re erring on the side of stopping your SEO strategy, please hear us out.
Hitting the big, red button on your search engine optimization is never good news, and if you do decide to take this route, two things are likely to happen:
You’ll stop getting traffic from search engines.
You’ll lose keyword growth momentum.
And it’s what these two losses spiral into that really matters, and that will influence your online success the most. We’ll dive into this a bit further into this article, but to start, let’s examine why you’ll even take a hit in the first place.
Google’s algorithms demand consistency.
Google uses a variety of factors to determine a website's ranking, including the number and quality of links to a site, the relevance of the site's content to the keywords being searched, and the overall authority of the domain.
If you decide to ditch all of these efforts, as well as pull the plug on correcting dire technical issues, there’s a lot at stake for your business.
That’s because Google is a business, and with 500 to 600 algorithm changes rolled out each year, the moment you stop aligning your website with these, the moment you’re no longer in Google’s best interests. And from there, there’s no going back.
In addition to losing traffic from this search giant, you'll also start losing traffic from other ones, too, even if their user base isn’t as large.
For example, other search engines, like Yahoo and Bing, still account for 7% of online searches traffic.
Stopping SEO means you fall behind this activity, losing out to competitors who are choosing to continue publishing new content, targeting keywords, fixing tech issues, and remaining authoritative.
Unfortunately, a lot of business owners assume an SEO strategy is a one-time investment. All you have to do is spend time and money optimizing your website and then move on, confident that your platform will continue to rank well in search results. Right?
By stopping SEO, you instantly have a massive impact on your visibility on Google and the traffic you get as a result. In some cases, you may even fall behind your competitors – and quickly.
When you do decide to take the leap and abandon your campaign, you can expect these four consequences:
1. You'll lose visibility on Google.
As we’ve already said a few times, Google is constantly changing its search algorithm, and if you're not keeping up with them, you’re already behind. Without relevancy and value, you’re of no interest to search engines or your target audience.
2. You'll lose traffic.
If your website isn't ranking as high as it once was, you'll rapidly see a decline in your traffic. In some cases, you’ll lose it all.
3. You'll lose leads.
Once that traffic is gone, leads go out the window, too. Essentially, this is a major blow to your business, especially if you've invested in SEO and seen good results previously. Why change what’s working?
4. Your competitors will overtake you.
If you stop SEO and your competitors continue to invest in it, they will take advantage of this shift and dominate the space you were once in, in search engine results pages (SERPs). That means losing your market share and revenue for your business.
In the sections below, we’ll look into what specifically causes each of these issues, and why you should opt to avoid them.
What happens when you stop optimizing your content?
Ultimately, you’ll have your own reasons for stopping your SEO, and while we can’t make your mind up for you, we can try to persuade you not to do it!
Whether you’re not seeing the results you envisioned or you don’t want to wait for traction, the choice is yours to make. But before you do, we encourage you to read into what can really happen if you ditch your SEO efforts.
Content creation is often the first thing that gets pulled when a website owner considers ditching their efforts. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most important parts of search engine optimization.
Choosing to stop optimizing your site for engaging content means you’ll quickly see a decline in rankings. Your site will fall further and further down the search engine results pages, your Google Analytics will become a sad place, and you'll slip into the dark oblivion that is the hidden web.
No really. This is a thing – 90.53% of websites get zero traffic at all. Why? Because they’re not investing in an ongoing SEO strategy. until you eventually disappear entirely.
Like it or not, without fresh, new content, users have no reason to visit your site, which means Google’s crawlers don’t either. You're no longer targeting specific keywords, or providing helpful content. And once you lose out on these potential customers, your site will have an increasingly difficult time reeling in audiences elsewhere.
While your users are still out there looking for products and services you specialize in, your competitors will be taking advantage of this search activity and using website content to capture the traffic you’ve chosen to abandon.
Beyond this, straying away from looking into your website material also means you may accidentally participate in negative SEO by letting your pages become plagued with duplicate content. This happens over time, especially when other sources scrape your own material, so it needs consistent, careful monitoring.
What happens when you stop link building for SEO?
At the end of the day, SEO is an ongoing process, and there’s no escaping the amount of effort, time, and resources you need to put into it.
While we’d all love to do it for a month, stop and then reap the rewards, it’s just not how it works. Other marketing options – like paid search – are built for quicker, short-term traffic and conversions, while SEO is designed for longevity that lasts the ages. The only catch is that you need to stick with it.
So, when you decide to quit your SEO efforts, you’ll also stop building links that tell Google your website is a credible, reliable source. Once these links deteriorate, the search engine fails to see you as trustworthy, so even if you think you can get by with SEO services, the links alone will cause you to fall far behind.
The fewer links your site gets, the lower it ranks - it’s as simple as that. But in contrast, bad links received by your site, with no one addressing them, can put you in an even worse position.
To put it into another perspective, would you choose to buy from an unknown brand with no word-of-mouth to back them up and zero reviews to show you they’re trustworthy? Probably not. So, by that notion, Google’s not likely to recommend your site if others don’t, either (via links pointing to your pages).
What happens when you stop fixing technical SEO issues?
When you stop doing SEO altogether and decide to venture off on another way to attract your audience, there’s more than just traffic to be lost.
Your site is a machine that features many different cogs and moving parts. When it’s no longer getting the love and attention it needs, it can quickly fall into a heap of coding nightmares that can become extremely hard to navigate.
Algorithms from search engines, as well as cybersecurity threats, site speed issues, and CMS updates, meaning your site will never stay up-to-date for long. Links break, redirects occur when they shouldn’t, users land on weird URLs, and themes start malfunctioning; it’s all a part of running a website.
Stopping your SEO means you no longer have your eye on the ball when it comes to these technical failures. There’s no one looking over these aspects and ensuring preventative measures are in place.
From there, it gets worse. Google will rank you lower because your site doesn’t function correctly, users become frustrated and you lose leads. In some cases, you may even end up with a penalization from the search engine itself, resulting in an extremely difficult situation to get out of.
Why is it important to avoid stopping SEO?
If we haven’t persuaded you enough, consider this: an SEO campaign has the potential to increase your revenue by 400%. Four hundred percent.
The moment you decide to walk away from your campaign, you’ll fall behind. There is no sugar-coating it. And although it may seem like an easy way to save money or reduce efforts, stopping your SEO campaign can ultimately make or break your business online.
Once you do take this step, be prepared to experience:
No competitive advantage: Without your search engine rankings in action, your competitors can take center stage and dominate traffic that you’re no longer capitalizing on. You won’t be the first website users see in search results – they will be.
Declining in rankings: As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, your search rankings will slide away into the cyberworld, destined for other businesses in your space and location. That means less website traffic, fewer users, fewer conversions, and very little profitability.
Outdated website: After your site has taken a landslide in rankings and organic search traffic, it will start to fail in functionality. Users will quickly become frustrated with their on-page experience on your platform and choose to go elsewhere, where their visit is pleasant. Your business will also become vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, due to outdated CMS updates and technical issues, and your website may even break overall.
Do you really want to take that kind of risk?
The bottom line: Why you should NOT stop doing search engine optimization
We get it. SEO is no easy feat. There’s a lot that goes into it and it’s probably one of the trickiest marketing techniques out there to master.
But choosing to walk away from your website’s SEO potential is a massive opportunity lost for your business.
More than ever before, users are consuming relevant content, shopping, and working online. Without your site appealing to all of this activity, there’s no way for you to tap into it. More importantly, there will be competitors that do choose to stick with their strategy and see it out. And they’re the ones that will win the game.
Instead of pausing or eliminating your campaign, let us show you why it’s the most important part of your digital marketing strategy overall. If you feel like it’s overwhelming or you’re having trouble getting the results you need, we can provide you with guidance and peace of mind that changes your perspective.
Have a chat with our helpful consultants now to see why the SEO industry still has the potential to change the way you do business online. All it takes is the right agency to help you drive it.
Contact Online Marketing Gurus now by calling us on (855) 871-5474 and get a free audit to see how your digital marketing strategy is tracking.