What happens to your ranking when you stop SEO?

February 18, 2014

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What happens when you stop SEO

In this edition of Basecamp, I cover what happens when you stop SEO.

I’m all too often asked; “James after we start SEO how long does it take to get on page one….beat our competition…reach the top spot…?” or any other variation of the same question about SEO. Far fewer people ask what happens when search engine optimization is stopped.

So what does happen? Do you drop off the results like a lemming from a cliff, do you stay steadfast in the same spot, or do you slide down the rankings like a skier on piste?

What happens to your ranking when you stop SEO

Well, let’s take a look, shall we….

I have an internet marketing blog I used to post to regularly. On that blog, I would write or podcast 2 or 3 times per month then drive traffic and links to those posts using social media and a well-architected SEO campaign. Through 2010 to 2012 I posted frequently. On 30th December 2012 I stopped.

Here’s what happened…..

For the first few months, the number of total new visitors and traffic from organic search (SEO) remained relatively constant. But from the fifth-month organic search traffic started to drop and continued to drop over the following months.

Over time if SEO is not maintained then rankings and traffic will slip. Competitors who do maintain SEO consistently will overtake or you’ll simply slide with the absence of fresh content and new links coming to your site. Google and other search engines consider the freshness (recency) of your content as an important ranking factor as well as the recency of sites linking to you. If you are not creating new content and you do not have new links coming to your site from other web pages, your site will be deemed (over time) increasingly less relevant.

Organic search traffic -85%
New visits -83%

In order to maintain and grow your search engine results, SEO should be maintained consistently. If you stop temporarily then unlike the lemming your site will not drop off the cliff, but leave SEO for too long and you’ll begin a slow slide back to the bottom.

So SEO is a lot like stopping anything;-

  • Gym
  • Running
  • Guitar practice

For the first sessions of missed activity, you’ll notice little difference. Skip a session or two and you’ll easily jump back in where you left off lifting the same weights, running the same distance or strumming the same difficult chords. But leave it longer and you’ll find it increasingly difficult to perform. Your arms get weak, your legs heavy and your fingers and mind slow. SEO is the same, miss a month or even two and your drop in results will be negligible. Stop for 6 months or more and it’s like you never got started. Avoid your return to square one and maintain your SEO campaign consistently.

Get started (then maintain) a high-performance SEO campaign today. View your choice of SEO package here.

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James Reynolds

About the author: James Reynolds is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines.

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