What Happens When You Stop Doing SEO in 2023?

Business owners are often concerned about their investment in digital marketing. The common questions I used to hear from clients are “How long more we should invest in SEO?” and “Is it ok if we stop investing in SEO?

I would ask them “How long will you run your business?” and “do you have any plan in shutting down your business?”. It may sound rude. But if you want to grow and generate results, you need to consistently work on your site’s SEO.

SEO is for the long-term. If you stop doing it, your competitors going to do it and divert all your potential customers to their sites.

These are some of the examples of sites that stopped SEO 

I’ve worked with a lot of websites over the years. Some of the business owners stopped doing SEO after 3-4 months as they did not see the results they wanted. I’ve advised them not to stop as it might take somewhere between 6 to 12 months to see positive results.

Although I managed to rank them for keywords they were not convinced and stopped investing in SEO. Due to the SEO strategies implemented in the first 4 months, they did see positive results after the 6th month. As they were not updating the sites with new content, their search traffic started to decline and they started to lose their rankings on SERPs.

The following screenshot was taken from SEMRush :

Note** These results do not represent every website that stops SEO. However, it shows a clear indication of what happens when you stop publishing fresh content to your site or update your old content.

The image below is a screenshot from SEMRush. Other than SEMRush, Google Search Console (GSC) provide better representation. ( I don’t have access to the client’s Google Search Console).

You can see that the screenshot shows that the traffic increased from April 2017 till July 2017. The traffic started to decline in August 2017 as the client stopped doing any SEO for their website.

Why Search Traffic Declines After Stopping SEO?

The decline in search traffic does not happen instantly. In most cases, you can see a steady increase in search traffic and rankings for a few months upon stopping SEO.

Once the previously implemented SEO activities effect starts to wear off, the search traffic will start to decline.

The decline occurs when the key factors of SEO are affected.

You stop making improvements to your website

When you actively optimizing your site and publish quality content, you’ll be inviting search engine bots to continuously crawl your website. The changes to your titles, contents and meta descriptions will be shown on the search result pages only when the search engine bots crawl your site.

If you stop doing any SEO tasks, search engine bots will slowly stop crawling your website. Your site will look outdated in the eyes of both search engines and people.

You stop building the trust factor

Once you stop doing SEO for your website, the trust factor will start to fade away. When you start losing your rankings, people will start to lose trust in your company and search for companies that are ranking higher on the search engines. Trust and loyalty is not built overnight. In this digital age, you need to be there at the top in front of your potential customers.

Your competitors are actively doing SEO.

Don’t underestimate your competitors. You might stop your SEO efforts as you’re not patient enough to enjoy the long-term results of SEO. Your competitors on the 2nd or 3rd page might consistently work hard on getting their site to the first page. This will not happen instantly but it will definitely happen in the long run.

Some sites can stop their SEO activities

Top brands can stop SEO due to several factors. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Apple are recognized by people and they don’t have huge competitors online.

However, these brands are actively publishing new content and making changes to their website.

Nevertheless, if you’re a small or medium business owner SEO is not something you can stop halfway. If you want to dominate your industry for the long term, SEO is one of the most important digital marketing elements that you don’t want to ignore or STOP.

Is it too late to start with SEO again?

It is never too late to start over with SEO again. Even if you stopped SEO for years and not ranking in the top spots, you can still make it to the top. When you start implementing the right SEO strategies, you can see your site improve its rankings and search traffic.

But, why do you want to start from scratch again?

Avoid starting over and maintain your SEO campaign consistently for years to come.

Did you stop doing SEO for your website?

Do you regret your decision?

Please share your experience by commenting below.

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