We create new websites for our clients all the time, and two questions we often get asked are, “do I need to do SEO?” and “how long will I need to do it for?”
The simple answers to these questions are, “yes you do need to do SEO” and “indefinitely or until your business stops trading… whichever comes first!” We really do believe in a long-term relationship with SEO if you want your website to be successful. It’s a bit like going to the gym – you can’t expect to come first place in a marathon if you don’t bother training for it, can you?
If you stop doing SEO – improving key pages, publishing new content, and so on – there’s a good chance that the search engines will gradually lose interest in your website. Google’s algorithm in particular loves fresh content; if you’re not doing SEO any more, you’re giving your competitors a great opportunity to overtake you in the search results. But why does this happen? Let’s start by taking a look at the purpose of SEO is and the reason it’s important.
What is SEO & Why is it Important?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is the process of increasing the volume and quality of traffic to your website. Unlike paid advertising, SEO looks to improve the performance of your website organically so potential customers can find you easily when they’re looking for products or topics related to your business.
You can see our beginner’s guide to website optimisation if you want to take a closer look at some of the most common SEO strategies. Things like keyword analysis, blogging and link building are used by digital marketers to keep their clients’ websites at the front of the pack. Continually refreshing, updating and fixing things tells Google that you’re an active website worth showing in the search results, perhaps even in the number one spot!
If a client suggests taking a break from SEO or stopping altogether, it can be hard to predict the exact implications it will have for their site. It might not even have any effect at all… at first. But one thing is certain, giving up SEO for good, will inevitably damage your website and its position in the search results pages.
For example, this graph (taken from Google Analytics) shows you how one of our client’s websites was impacted when they decided to give up on their SEO strategy altogether. You can see the steady decline in organic sessions that’s been worsening ever since. This shows that while stopping SEO won’t immediately remove your website from the google rankings, it will have a long-lasting negative impact.
What happens when you stop creating new content?
When you decide to stop creating new content, you’re essentially hoping that the online presence you’ve built so far is going to be robust enough to keep things ticking over. Here are just a few things that can happen when you stop creating new content.
- You’ll stop ranking for new, highly-relevant keywords, limiting the number of people finding your website as they search for terms related to your industry.
- You’ll stop gaining links from websites with authority. If the information on your website is not up to date, no one will want to link to it. Having a strong backlink profile is important if you want your website to rank well.
- People will stop engaging with you on social media. Social media is all about the ‘here and now’ and puts you in contact with hundreds (if not thousands) of customers. If your website ceases to exist in this space, people may think your business has stopped trading altogether.
- You’ll drive away returning customers. If people visit your site more than once and just see the same boring content over and over again, they won’t bother coming back. New content makes people excited about your brand.
One of our clients decided to stop updating their blog on a regular basis and as you can see from the above graph (again taken from their Google Analytics), they started to see a noticeable decline in their organic traffic.
When we highlighted this dip in traffic, the client conceded that blogging was a necessity if you want to grow organic traffic and thus, we started blogging more frequently again.
Once we started publishing blogs regularly, they saw an increase in their organic traffic. In fact, their return to SEO drove more traffic to the site than they had before the dip!
What happens when you stop checking for technical SEO issues?
Besides keeping your website alive on the surface, there is a lot of technical SEO that goes on under the surface to keep your website working properly in the ever-changing search engine that is Google.
There are a few different ways you can keep track of technical SEO issues; for example, you could use an SEO software service like Moz to carry out site audits, check backlinks and keep track of your rankings. The most common tool used to track technical problems with your site is Google’s Search Console. You can read more about Google’s Search Console and how it works here.
Here at Designer Websites, our SEO team carry out weekly Search Console checks to make sure that our client’s websites are working as they should be.
Failure to keep on top of your website’s technical SEO can leave a myriad of problems including:
- Pages not being indexed correctly
- Server errors
- Problems with mobile usability
- Slow page speed
And much more! Google is constantly changing, updating its algorithm and introducing new features, that’s why regularly checking your website’s technical SEO health is so important.
It’s also important to periodically check that other businesses aren’t duplicating your content and publishing it on their own site. When Google sees two copies of the same page, it will only index one (and there’s no guarantee that it will choose yours). All the time and effort you spent optimising your pages to rank for certain keywords will be for nothing if you don’t spot the duplicate content and act on it quickly.
If you do find duplicate content, here’s what you can do:
- Contact the offending company and ask them to take the content down.
- Rewrite the content on your own website so that it’s unique.
So, as you can see, deciding to stop doing SEO is going to cause some serious problems later down the line. If you’re not currently doing SEO for your website, we highly recommend you consider it! Learn more about our SEO services here.