July 19, 2023

What Happens If You Stop Doing SEO On Your Website?

Times are trying for many business owners across the UK, with many trying to cut back on non-essential spending. Unfortunately, marketing is usually the first to go – but it shouldn’t be. In this article, we delve into the reasons why you shouldn’t stop investing in SEO, and why the current climate will give you an advantage against competitors.

What happens if you stop doing SEO? If you stop doing SEO on your website, you won’t see an instant drop in results. However, over the coming weeks and months, you may lose rankings, which would stop you from reaching as many users online. If you lose traffic to your site, your sales and leads will likely be impacted, which in turn will lead to less revenue for your business.

Read on to find out what will happen to your website if you stop SEO, as well as steps to take if you simply can’t afford it anymore.

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What Happens if You Stop Doing SEO On Your Website?

You might not see the effects of stopping SEO instantly, however, you will see a major difference in your organic traffic and conversions over the coming months. We deep dive into several things you may experience if you stop doing SEO on your website below:

Poor Technical Performance

When you work with an SEO team, they’ll continually assess the technical aspects of your site, alongside creating and optimising content regularly. Most business owners won’t continue to make technical fixes after stopping SEO, so bigger issues could go unnoticed. 

This is likely to include 404 errors, but indexing issues, site speed and, in turn, the general performance of your site will decline over time. Unfortunately, if left unfixed, this will have a major impact on rankings as well as the number of conversions that you’ll receive on your site.

Screenshot of PageSpeed Insights by Google
An example of good and site speed performance as a result of ongoing SEO.

New Content Will Take Longer To Rank

When you don’t continually update your site or add new content, Google will soon realise that it doesn’t have to keep crawling your pages regularly. So, because of this, over time your crawl budget (how many pages Google will crawl on your site in a day) will decrease, so any new content that you do add to your site will take a long time to get recognised by Google and therefore rank on search engines.

If you’d like to learn more about how Google crawls your site, read our recent blog: What Does Google See When it Crawls Your Site?

Decreased Rankings

Your hard-earned Google rankings won’t drop overnight, but they will eventually. When you stop optimising your pages to maintain your top positions, a competitor will quickly take the top spot, particularly if they are investing in SEO whilst you take a break. Rankings will continue to decline until you’ll eventually have no visibility on the SERPs.

Decreased Organic Traffic

As we mentioned above, when you stop doing SEO on your website, you will almost certainly lose search rankings over time, which will impact how much organic traffic your website receives. 

You might not realise it but organic traffic is essential to almost all business owners. If you go on Google Analytics right now (go onwe’ll wait!), you’ll likely see a large proportion of your traffic coming from search engines alone. In fact, on average, over 51% of website traffic is driven by organic search, whilst social media drives only 5%! If your website traffic decreases by such a large percentage it will likely impact your business’s bottom line.

Man on laptop showing Google Analytics

Fewer Leads & Sales

When you work with an SEO agency, they’ll optimise for keywords with a conversion intent. But what does this mean exactly? Transactional and commercial keywords target users that are more likely to convert to your site, whether that be buying a product or booking a call with you. 

When you lose rankings for keywords with commercial or transactional intent, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach the same number of users that are ready to purchase – lowering your conversion rate in the long term.

Why Shouldn’t You Stop SEO?

There are several reasons why you should continue with SEO, even in a tough economic climate. We’ve outlined the reasons below:

Advantages in the Current Climate

In 2023, we’ve seen many businesses, both small and large, cut non-essential budgets – with marketing often being the first to go. What many business owners don’t recognise is that there is currently a benefit to continue investing, even during economic uncertainty. Many of your competitors have potentially already cut back spend which means they likely aren’t marketing at the moment!

Because of this, competition may currently be less fierce in your market, allowing you to shine on the SERPs, social media, or in your customer’s inbox. Consider taking the leap and maintaining (or even better, increasing!) your marketing spend to gain market share whilst your competitors shy away.

SEO Doesn’t Cost As Much As You Think

Even if you don’t have thousands of pounds a month to spend developing and implementing a comprehensive search strategy, great results can be achieved and maintained with a small budget.

Only pay for what you need. If you want to rank in your area, consider a local SEO package, which will likely be cheaper than international & multi-language campaigns. A great SEO agency will offer several packages, each to suit different budgets.

For more information about the types of search engine marketing, read one of our recent blogs – What are the Different Types of SEO Services? Your Complete Guide

It Makes Sense For PPC & Social – But Not SEO

Many marketing channels, like pay-per-click ads and social media, are quick wins – you could very easily pause for a few months and pick up right where you left off. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for SEO. 

As we mentioned earlier, high-ranking positions don’t come quickly, even when you work with SEO experts. If you lose rankings in those valuable 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions you may struggle to get them back as soon as you invest in SEO again, particularly if a strong competitor has taken the top spot.

Person using social media on an iPhone

Short-Term Problems Ruining Long-Term Results

High-ranking positions take months, and sometimes even years to gain, but they can be lost almost instantly if Google identifies a different website with better content, backlinks, or domain authority. 

It can take months to get these positions back, which means you’ll have to wait a few months (or years – depending on how long you stop SEO) to get back to where you were previously. This will equate to a lot of waiting and spending when you do decide to reinvest in SEO. 

What Now?

If you’re considering stopping SEO, think again. If you haven’t seen immediate results with SEO, don’t worry. It typically takes at least 6 months to start seeing results, and stopping your campaign prematurely may end up being a complete waste of your marketing spend to date.

If budgets are tight and you are trying to cut back on non-essential spending, consider a reduced retainer, or pausing your campaign for no more than three months. However, remember that a small SEO budget is better than no budget at all. 

Flexible SEO Services From Wildcat Digital

We work with businesses that don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on SEO each month. Even if your budget is small, we can work with you to make sure that you continuously see results and maintain organic visibility. 

Get honest and reliable advice from an award-winning agency; we offer free 30-minute consultations, where we can discuss your current situation and work with you to create an SEO package that suits you. Get in touch with one of our experts today. Or if you’re looking for an answer to your SEO questions, why not take a look at our You Ask, We Answer pages where we answer a wide range of real client questions?

Can a Business Survive Without SEO?

If most of your sales as a business come from organic traffic (which is the case for many e-commerce shops), then your business would struggle without SEO. As mentioned previously, stopping SEO could result in a decline in rankings, which would limit your online visibility.

If you sell your products or services elsewhere, such as in a physical store or on social media for example, then it is possible to survive without SEO as you could rely on other types of marketing to make sales.

Does SEO Have a Future?

Yes, SEO is still relevant and will continue to be relevant in the future. Google’s algorithms are changing all the time due to advancements in technology, user behaviours, and several other factors. SEO will likely look completely different in five years, but SEOs will adapt to this and continue to optimise websites to meet Google’s latest ranking factors.

Post by

Jasmine Savery

SEO Account Manager & Team Leader

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