The initial goal of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is to improve rankings in search engines’ results pages, usually targeting the first page of results. However, the job of SEO isn’t done once a site is listed on the first page or in the first spot. In fact, there are several negative implications to stopping an SEO campaign once you achieve the desired result of appearing on the first page.

The Importance of SEO

Don’t focus on going 0 to 100. Focus on going 0 to 10. Then go from 10 to 20, 20 to 30, and so on until you get to 100. SEO is about building sustainable habits through gradual progression. It takes time to gradually get up to speed where all of your effort and optimizations will help grow your website in rankings. However, like any moving vehicle, you can’t just stop immediately. Slamming on the brakes will take a few seconds and some distance before you come to a complete stop. If you decide to stop an SEO campaign, your website will not immediately fall off a cliff. It will take time as other websites eventually overtake your site because they are actively optimizing. But, doing so will have other negative effects. 

Missing Other Opportunities

Stopping an SEO campaign will cause you to miss out on other opportunities. Even though your main pages might rank well, there are likely tertiary pages that aren’t doing as well as they could be.

Continuing SEO both on your main and tertiary pages will help those secondary pages rank better. These will bring in long-tail keywords, which can supplement your main keyword SEO. Even if the volume for any one long-tail phrase is low, the continued SEO efforts will mushroom as all pages are boosted by the ongoing work.

(If you don’t have tertiary pages for long-tail keywords, that should be the next step in your continued SEO campaign.)

Losing Traffic as Rankings Decrease

Your main pages are unlikely to keep their top-ranking places if you stop your SEO efforts. Your pages won’t immediately fall off of the first page, but you can expect to see a precipitous decrease in rankings as time goes on. Search engines simply don’t reward pages and sites that are dormant and lack ongoing SEO.

As your rankings decrease, your organic search traffic will also decrease. This decrease can be a much sharper drop-off because click-throughs are vastly lower when rankings go down just a few spots.

Falling Behind Competitors

Your competitors will quickly overtake you as your site languishes into low rankings. Your competitors won’t cease their campaigns just because you stopped conducting SEO. They may even invest more in SEO as they see a larger ROI due to your lack of competition. This will result in them ranking higher than you, and they’ll take the traffic that you’ve once worked so hard to attract.

Once a competitor overtakes you, it may not be easy to recover so quickly. Even if you restart SEO later on, your competitor will have built a sizable advantage since they continued their efforts. You’ll thus have to work even harder to overtake them, which often means spending more money overall on campaigns to catch up.

Failing To Adjust for Algorithm Updates

Google alone updates its algorithm between 500 and 600 times each year — more than once per day, on average. Some of these updates are minor ones, but others are quite major. So, if you’ve paused your SEO efforts, that means you’re no longer adjusting for algorithm ranks. Whether your site succumbs to lost rankings by a thousand updates or one major update that kills your site, you’ll continue to fall behind as new updates come out.

Although these particular update numbers are specific to Google, the issue is not. All search engines update their algorithms frequently, and your site won’t keep up if you aren’t working on its SEO.

Keeping Your Site’s SEO Going

No matter how successful your SEO campaign has been thus far, don’t get too comfortable and shut down SEO campaigns. Continually make efforts to further establish and improve your pages’ rankings, and your site should maintain its solid position in the search results. Build a good website and people will come. If you optimize well, additional traffic will follow. It’s that simple. But if you stop, the traffic will not stay. You may keep loyal visitors, but you won’t attract a new audience. The Xcite Group’s goal isn’t to sell you a product. SEO is only about getting results. We want you to know the stages of an SEO campaign and what happens at different points. For us this means looking at your company as a whole and creating a digital marketing plan based on how people actually engage with your company, as well as where and how your products or services fit within your market. We can help you achieve long-term success by staying current and focusing on what matters most — your business.