SEO is a long-term strategy that doesn’t deliver immediate ROI, making it hard to compare it to other digital tactics like pay per click advertising or email marketing. Over time, the benefits of SEO become clear, with higher rankings for relevant queries that deliver qualified traffic to your website. Once you reach the top spot, are you done? Can you stop doing SEO?
Not really. Google’s job is to deliver the best answer to a searcher’s query. Just because your website offers the best answer right now, it doesn’t mean you’ll offer the best answer a few weeks, months or years from now. When you stop investing in SEO, you lose rankings and traffic over time for a lot of different reasons. Just like the journey up the search engine results page, the journey back down is different for every business. These four factors can impact your website after you stop doing SEO, no matter how long you’ve been doing it or what industry you’re in.
1. Search engines think your business is no longer active.
If Google sees a sudden, permanent drop in the activity on your website, the search engine assumes your business is no longer active. Without new blog posts, updated product pages or additional internal links, Google no longer has a reason to crawl your website.
In reality, this won’t happen overnight. It took Google a while to learn that your website was an authority, so it will take a while to forget as well. When you do create new content, perhaps as part of a short-term campaign, it will no longer benefit from the trust you built with Google and users over time.
2. The information you’re sharing is no longer relevant.
No matter what purpose the information on your website serves, it doesn’t go away when you stop SEO. Outdated blog posts, inaccurate hours and expired deals can all slip through the cracks without a team dedicated to keeping your website up to date. Google doesn’t want to share the wrong information, so your outdated website will lose visibility in the search results over time.
3. No one is actively monitoring for SEO issues.
SEO isn’t just about adding new pages, posts and links. We also remove things that may be hurting your website’s performance. Stopping SEO also means opting not to disavow spammy backlinks, correct negative SEO, identify duplicate content or correct design elements that impact search performance.
4. Your competitors are still doing SEO.
In fact, there are a lot of other people who want your top rankings and the traffic that comes with them. Any optimizations your competitors make will be more effective because you’re no longer actively maintaining your relationship with search engines or searchers.