In short, yes
The thing with SEO is that it doesn’t have an end date. It’s a long term commitment that lasts as long as the life of your business. When you close your business, you can stop doing SEO.
So, when our clients ask if they can take a break from SEO, we tell them exactly what is likely to happen.
These are the consequences of stopping SEO.
Rankings and Traffic Decline
If you stop updating your website with fresh content, Google will take that as a sign that your website is no longer active. The consequences are usually fairly swift. Your site will experience a slide in organic search engine rankings which will have a flow on effect to the amount of traffic coming to your site.
Neil Patel, Forbes Top 10 Marketer and NY Times Best Selling Author, gives an example on Quora of a website that stopped posting content for 251 days (8 months and 7 days).
Here’s what happened when SEO was stopped.
Overall traffic to the site fell by 32 percent.
Organic traffic dropped by 42 percent.
Traffic to the contact page down by 15 percent.
Overall site conversions fell by 28 percent
The Game Changes
While not a whole lot is known about Google’s algorithms, one thing that is certain is it changes all the time. Already in 2020 there have been two major updates. In 2019 there were 12 major updates and according to Moz, in 2018, Google reported an astonishing 3,234 updates.
And Google isn’t the only one changing. Users are also changing the way they search for what they want. Take for example the explosion in the number of voice searches in recent years.
What does this mean for SEO?
While many of Google’s updates are minor and designed to fix glitches or improve delivery, the major algorithm updates can have serious implications for your SEO strategy. The techniques you were using before the update to help your website rank may no longer work, and in some cases your site may even be penalised.
Therefore, if you stop doing SEO for 6 months or a year, Google will have changed the way it delivers search results and you will have to re-learn what methods will work best for your website.
Stopping SEO: The Good News
The good news is that it’s never too late to restart SEO. It may take time to gain back any lost momentum, but with a clear focus and consistent effort you will see results again.
Would you like to know more about SEO? Talk to one of our SEO analysts about the health of your website and its organic search performance.