Can you take a break from SEO?

Clients often approach us after taking a ‘break’ from SEO, wondering why their site isn’t ranking or getting as much traffic as it used to. If a site is indeed sent to Coventry in terms of SEO, it is highly likely to develop issues or “gremlins” in the system that can hamper SEO efforts over time. Second, even if this is not the case (which is highly unlikely by the way), a site left untouched is still at the mercy of competitors who steal its limelight.

Here we address some of the major issues that we commonly deal with when companies stop or pause search engine optimization.


Search engines rank results based on which websites they believe offer the best results based on the search query. One of the checks they undertake is to ensure that the site providing the result has momentum, i.e., it is alive and active. Therefore, if a site hasn’t had an update or new content uploaded in a while, search engines may start to doubt that it’s still a reliable source and the number of impressions may start to drop. decrease, which in turn will affect traffic.

Momentum of competitors

As mentioned above, competitors may not be “on break” and if they start to progress, it may be harder to catch up, not impossible, but harder work. Frustratingly, SEO is sometimes slow, so missing months or even years can take a while before results show up, especially against competition.

Maintain keyword relevance

If a site is not regularly updated, it will not respond to changes in customer searches, target new words and phrases, or respond to the market in any way. It is essential to continue to produce new content to ensure keyword relevance to the customer’s language and to reflect all new products and services.

Link building potential

Creating new content also gives other people, organizations, and websites a link to connect to. Evergreen content is good for rankings, but links tend to come from timely content. Therefore, ensuring a site is full of great new ideas can help improve a site’s domain authority. Links are created and deleted every day, but unless a site is active, it is unlikely to maintain its current DA.

It is also important to watch out for bad links which can also negatively affect a site’s DA. Spam links or poor quality links can occur naturally and should be controlled, but they can also be the result of negative SEO when a competitor uses black hat techniques to steal rankings and traffic.

social media

It’s good practice to rework and reuse existing social media content (especially blog posts that aren’t dated), but there comes a time when it can start to feel a little tired. Refreshed content means a business has something new for their social channels, but without it, social engagement might also start to dwindle, which means fewer clicks and less traffic.

Gremlins aka technical issues

Every site has gremlins in the system at some point. Things can break without rhyme or reason (or due to human error!) and in any case, they must be fixed. Unchecked leaderboards will bomb. Search Console does a pretty decent job of highlighting some of the more obvious issues and other software scans can dig deeper into the issues, but more often than not it takes a human to piece the puzzle together to get to the root of the issues. .


Organizations that are on an SEO break are also less likely to check Google Analytics in depth. Reporting an increase in traffic is risky without fully understanding historical traffic levels. A detailed look at visitors and sessions might reveal that an increase is actually largely due to spam traffic or a drop might, in fact, be in line with seasonality.

Algorithm updates

Most algorithm changes are non-seismic, which means that as long as best practices are followed, a site will not see any immediate issues. However, every once in a while an update occurs that has a material impact on a site and a response is required – mobile usability and page experience being two such historical examples. An SEO outage could mean that a site is unprepared for these changes and could suffer.

Competition analysis

Although most SEO happens on and around an organization’s own site, the processes involved mean that one eye is firmly on competitors and their digital activities. Ceasing SEO activity generally goes hand in hand with less knowledge of competing sites. In fact, knowing exactly who to watch online can vary over time, and an organization can be less aware of new entrants to a market.

Very little, if any good, can come from taking a break from SEO. At best, it’s akin to treading water, but in the majority of cases, a site and its contribution to an organization’s overall marketing efforts will go backwards. You were warned!

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