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 Knowledge Base 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

Will Hitchmough


Our founder, Will Hitchmough, worked at a number of high profile Sheffield Digital Agencies before founding Wildcat Digital in 2018. He brings an extensive knowledge of all things related to SEO, PPC and Paid Social, as well as an expert knowledge of digital strategy.

Digital Marketing can be a minefield for many businesses, with many agencies ready to take your money without knowing how to deliver results. I founded Wildcat Digital to deliver digital success to businesses with smaller budgets in a transparent way.

Chloe Robinson

Content Strategist Team Lead

With a degree in Marketing and a background in more traditional, offline marketing, Chloe joined Wildcat in 2021 after deciding to move into the digital marketing industry. She joined us as a Content Specialist and quickly moved up the ranks, becoming a Content Strategist and later an SEO Team Leader.

Outside of work, Chloe is an avid creative. If she’s not knitting, you’ll likely find her behind a sewing machine or in the kitchen trying (and often failing!) to make sourdough.

Paul Pennington

SEO Account Director

Paul has a strong background in SEO, having previously founded and ran a successful eCommerce business, as well as running a personal blog that achieves an average of 17K users per month. Paul’s knowledge of SEO is extensive, with a strong emphasis on client handling and technical SEO.

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his family and staying active with weight lifting and combat sports.

Nadea van der Merwe

Head of Operations

Nadea joined Wildcat in 2021 and has since overhauled the way we work. She has a background in various administrative, operations and HR roles, which gave her the experience and skills needed to lead and organise a growing business. 

Outside of work, Nadea loves anything that keeps her active, but she especially enjoys hiking, camping and mountain biking.

Molly Sturgeon

SEO Account Manager

With a background in sales, Molly is a natural Account Manager, brilliantly handling any issues that come her way. Having joined us as a Digital Marketing Executive, and working part-time through her final year of University, Molly is a shining example of how hard work pays off. She is now an SEO Account Manager with a particular interest in Content and Client Management. 

In her spare time, Molly loves to get out in nature, hiking and exploring the Peak District. She also loves cooking and likes to unwind with a bit of yoga.

Libby Oldale

Senior PPC Account Manager

Libby joined Wildcat in 2021 as our first PPC hire. With a degree in Digital Media Production, a Master’s in Digital Media Management and previous experience in Social Media Management, Libby hit the ground running and has since climbed the ranks to Senior PPC Account Manager and has a particular interest in the eCommerce sector.

Outside of work, Libby likes gaming, and cooking and likes to keep active by lifting weights.

Jasmine Savery

SEO Team Leader

Jasmine joined Wildcat in 2022 with a strong background in SEO and Account Management. At the time, she was finishing up a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and has since worked her way up to SEO Team Leader. Jasmine excels at content writing and promotion, and particularly enjoys finding creative ways to join the dots on multi-channel campaigns.

In her spare time, Jasmine volunteers at a charity, helping combat loneliness & social isolation experienced by older neighbours. Outside of Wildcat, she owns a catering company, Savery Grazing, creating delicious grazing tables & platters for a range of events. She also loves skiing and exploring the Peak District.

Braden Godley

Senior PPC Executive

Prior to joining Wildcat, Braden founded and ran his own Social Media Management agency where he gained valuable skills in growing brands’ online presence, which has since proven invaluable in his role at Wildcat. 

Outside of work, Braden is a big football fan, regularly travelling to Pride Park to support Derby County. He also enjoys watching and playing snooker, hiking in the Peak District, and attending air and car shows.

Jon Herdman

SEO Executive

After spending ten years managing businesses, restaurants, cafes and event spaces across Sheffield, Jon decided to change careers and joined Wildcat as an SEO Executive in 2022. He especially enjoys the client management side of the job, helping them to understand digital marketing and ways in which they can build their business’s presence online. 

Outside of work, Jon likes to keep fit with running, badminton and football, and also loves music. 

Rachel Davies

SEO Executive

Rachel joined us as a graduate, having recently graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in English Literature. Since joining, Rachel has proven herself to be a Content Queen, and particularly enjoys getting stuck into projects that allow her to explore her creative side. 

Outside of work, Rachel enjoys a wide range of hobbies, including rugby, singing, reading, and spending time with her family and three labradors.

Carl Atterbury

PPC Team Leader

Carl joined Wildcat in 2023 with a wealth of experience in PPC. He has experience working with a wide range of clients, industries and budgets, from small local businesses all the way to international e-commerce businesses. Carl has a particular interest in strategic planning and forecasting. He is passionate about data analysis and creating sustainable long-term cross-channel strategies.

In his spare time, Carl enjoys keeping fit by lifting weights, bouldering and running. He’s also a keen musician, having played the double bass and bass guitar for 20 years.

Dariusz Baczyk

Team Lead & Technical SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Computer Science and SEO experience dating back to 2017, Dariusz has a wide range of SEO skills and knowledge. His specialist knowledge of Technical SEO has firmly landed him the title of Wildcat’s Technical Wizard, and he has recently taken on the responsibility of Team Leader for the Panthers Team.

In his spare time, Dariusz loves hiking, experimenting and trying new coffees and loves learning new things. He is currently learning more about CRO and AI and how this could benefit our clients.

Jamie Stowe

SEO Account Manager

With a degree in Film and TV production, and a varied career history, Jamie made the move to marketing with a Masters degree in Digital Media Management. He has since worked in SEO at Agencies across Sheffield, before joining Wildcat and working his way up to SEO Account Manager. Jamie has a particular interest in backlinks and Digital PR and has recently gained a client a valuable backlink from Forbes!

In his spare time, Jamie is an avid foodie and loves trying new restaurants and cuisines. He also loves to travel and spent a year travelling to Australia after university.

Andy Blanchard

SEO Executive

Andy joined Wildcat in 2023 after starting his digital marketing career in-house for a local Sheffield company. Since joining, he has developed a strong interest in Technical SEO and has strong skills in Account Management. 

Outside of work, Andy loves music and plays in a couple of bands. He also enjoys rock climbing, cycling, photography and good food.

Siena Russell

Client Success Coordinator

Siena joined us in 2023 with a background in sales and digital marketing. She leads on client relationships across the company, ensuring that our customers are happy throughout their journey with us, from their initial consultation through to onboarding and beyond. 

Outside of work, Siena enjoys travelling and getting stuck into the local culture. She likes to make the most of her experiences and particularly enjoys watching sunrises and sunsets from beautiful locations around the world.

Thea Chapman

Senior SEO Executive

Thea has a wealth of experience in SEO, having previously worked for other Digital Marketing Agencies in Sheffield. She has a particular interest and skills in Technical SEO, but is more than willing to get stuck in and give anything a go. 

Outside of work, Thea spends most of her time with her children, but also loves reading, photography and gardening. 

Tom Brookes

PPC Executive

Before joining Wildcat, Tom worked across different industries, building skills in sales and customer service. He later developed a passion for digital marketing whilst working on personal marketing projects and freelance ventures, and gained numerous certifications in PPC and Social Media. 

Outside of work, Tom enjoys staying active by going to the gym and hiking. He also loves travelling and motorbiking.

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