We’re an SEO agency, of course we want you to take advantage of the opportunity that SEO can provide for your website and your business. But through our blog, we also want to help you understand the ins and outs of SEO. We’ve been in the business for a long time and we’ve seen it all.
One of the most frequent and important questions we get is about the actual SEO process. What happens when you start a campaign, what are the steps. Can you stop it, or put a pause on it for a while. And even though an official answer depends on each individual campaign, the keywords, the marketing competition, and location, we’ve definitely seen some trends over the years.
We’ve got several mental visuals for you, so stick with me.
Unless you own a nice sports car, it’s very hard to go from zero to 60 in just a few seconds. So too with SEO. It takes some time to gradually get it up to speed where all optimizations will help a website grow in the rankings. But also like a car, you can’t just stop immediately. Even slamming on your brakes will take a few seconds and some distance before you come to a stop. If you decide to stop an SEO campaign, your website doesn’t immediately fall off the proverbial cliff. It takes a little time as other websites go after the same keywords you currently rank for and eventually overtake your site in the rankings because they’re actively working to optimize.
Here’s another example. Think of your SEO campaign as a game of Monopoly. At first you’re just earning little wins here and there. You might get a couple railroads, or in SEO, you earn a couple good backlinks and start building your keywords through quality content. But as the game goes on, it might not seem so exciting. All the properties are gone and you’re just going around the board collecting and paying out money. The ultimate goal of Monopoly is to knock your competition out of the top so you can claim all the big earnings, properties, hotels, and more. Same with SEO. You want that top spot in the rankings, in the maps, in the knowledge cards. You want to claim the top, and good SEO is how you force the competition out. They go down in the rankings if you are able to run a better campaign, better optimize for keywords, get more links, and have a more user-friendly website. Of course you’re not going to bankrupt your competition because of SEO. But it will bring you more traffic, and hopefully more customers and resulting revenue. In the end, like Monopoly, one wrong roll and you can lose everything. If you stop your campaign and your competition starts going after your same keywords, you will start to drop and they start to rise.
What Happens to Your Website When You Stop doing SEO
Traffic and rankings will drop
Like my two examples above, slowly your rankings and traffic to your website will drop. It’s not an all at once effort. But like it takes six months or more to get ranking, it will also take some time to de-accelerate and drop down the page. That’s a good thing if you feel like pressing pause or taking a break from SEO. You won’t drop immediately. But at the same time, it’s hard to get it rolling again.
You’re not going after competitive keywords and constantly adding new ones.
In an SEO campaign, you have both targeted and halo keywords that rise as a result of the work you’re putting into your site. The targeted keywords are the ones you’re going after on purpose through your content. The halo keywords are the ones that also rise as a result of your hard work. When you stop SEO, or essentially stop optimizing and updating your website, you slowly start to lose some of those halo keywords at first. Then the main targeted keywords start to drop after that. It happens when others are targeting those same keywords. They will rise in the rankings and you will slowly start dropping as others overtake your site.
You aren’t building new pages, thus losing the chance for new backlinks
Whether it be new product pages, new blogs, or other pages for your site, when you stop SEO, you likely aren’t creating any new pages. This means you don’t have new pages and posts you can share through social media. It means you’re not curating new traffic through well-optimized pages that people find organically. New pages and new content send signals to Google that your site is updated and relevant. Plus, having no new pages also doesn’t give anyone a chance to link back to your site for that new content.
Why You Should Always Maintain SEO Efforts
Google’s Algorithm Changes Frequently
Google changes its algorithm literally every single day. And I’m not even being dramatic. They have thousands of updates each year, which comes down to a few every day. Of course, most of these go unnoticed. A few big updates, like the one we saw in May of this year make a big difference. But over time, these updates can make a difference to an un-updated website. You need to work on SEO, preferably with an agency that knows what to watch for with the algorithm, in order to stay relevant and trustworthy to Google.
You have competition
This is probably the biggest reason you need to stay up with SEO, you have competition that wants those same top rankings you’ve worked hard to earn. If you stop, they likely haven’t stopped their efforts and those keywords you worked hard for will start to go to the competition. You don’t want your customers and the potential customers to go to your competition. You want them to go to you! That’s basically the whole point of an SEO campaign is to bring in new traffic and new customers.
Build and they will come (but they might not stay)
Just like the legendary field of dreams, you build a good website and people will come. You optimize it well, you’ll get more traffic. It’s just that simple. But if you stop, they won’t stay. You’ll likely keep your loyal customers. But you won’t attract the new ones. People these days are very tech savvy. They want to see that you want their business. Site visitors want user-friendliness. They want to see that you can make your website easy to navigate and easy to understand. People want to know if you can help them before they ever pick up the phone and call. Old content doesn’t convert. A site that hasn’t seen new content in months won’t impress anyone and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
And now that we’re at the end of telling you all the bad things that can happen when you stop an SEO campaign, we don’t want you to think we’re just selling you on our product. That’s just the opposite. We want you to know the stages of a campaign and what happens at different points. We’ve done this for over a decade and know what happens.
We honestly know that SEO has helped millions of SEO clients. And we know it makes a difference for their website and their business. If you’re interested in learning more about SEO and how we make it affordable for small businesses, give us a call! 800-261-1537.