The current outlook on world economy isn’t too good. Is it time to stop SEO altogether? If you asked me, my answer is ‘No’. Here’s why.
“We want to stop relying on SEO for traffic. It’s too moody.”
“Stop looking at our competitors? What’s it going to tell you, anyway?”
“SEO is so old-school. It’s all about social media now.”
“Google does what it likes, whenever, however, for whatever reason. I hate it.”
“Google wants you to pay for their ads, that’s the bottom line.”
“Nobody reads on the internet anymore, Marsha. Nobody.”
Even before we were hit by Covid, there are multiple reasons why corporations, large and small alike, wanted to scale back on their SEO work and content marketing. The most common reasons people want to stop doing SEO are:
- We’ve achieved the ranking we want
- We want to focus on social media
- The market is bad (like now)
- SEO is dying
- Lack of competition
- We set out to do six months. It’s been six months
I’ve heard all of these lines before and some of the reasons above were mentioned to me. Many times, I’ve tried to convince the corporation that this is not how SEO is played and they should scale back and not stop. Sometimes I am heard, other times, not so much.
To me, SEO is a lot like Wall Street.
Can you predict exactly what’s going to happen tomorrow? Are the stocks going to tank by the end of the year? Did anyone predict this whole pandemic and how it is affecting us now? Did anyone see how a viral problem could rattle the entire world economy?
I’ve been trying to understand SEO behaviors, changes, algorithms, and implement tactics that would win me favors with them since 2000. It’s like being married to a different person every other week or month.
You sometimes have to start all over again. Dig your heels in, delete your entire history, take out (lovingly crafted) content that is no longer serving its purpose, and audit the entire site’s structure.
It’s painful work. One of my least favorite.
Keeping your Eyes on the Ball
Unlike playing competitive games, there’s one ball in the court. Everyone has their eyes on that ONE ball. Except this – the rules keep changing.
There’s the search engine you want to always stay on top of. You also need to keep an eagle eye on your competitors and what they’re doing right…and wrong. Sometimes, something new pops up and you think you want to get on that train too but nobody else understands how to get it done.
We’re always figuring things out.
As a content writer, my main job is to write to impress and convert.
But I have to also balance things out with good copy for landing pages because…you know, we have to place ads to get any traction at all with Google these days. And then there’s eCommerce, space where my main purpose is to balance everything well enough so that my writing ranks and sells.
It’s like an online survivor’s game. Watching out for the latest SEO best practices, copywriting techniques, and what your competitors are doing is the job of a copywriter and SEO strategist. It’s a very thin tightrope.
Becoming Better Than Our Competitors
Yes, using the right keywords in the para, Meta and Description tags, web content, landing pages…they’re still important. But I think we’re forgetting something else.
SEO is a game.
We’ve got to perform better than our competitors every day. Every time something changes, we’ve got to get into gear instantly, answering the bid as quickly and efficiently as we can.
But that’s the nature of the game. If we want to win it, we’ve got to do it better than others who are also freewheeling their way in the same game.
One good example is this – I can help my clients achieve their goals easily for their desired keywords and PPC campaigns. If they’re selling forklifts, I’ll help them outperform other forklift sellers in the market with the right metadata, web content, social media marketing, and advertising campaigns.
But I can’t do that for myself because of who I am competing against…other copywriters and digital marketers who also know the game but they already have a head start. The gun went off long before I started this website.
My only remaining strategy is to keep at it long enough to convince the algorithms that I am better, have more staying power, and am determined to beat the others down because I am committed to this.
Because honestly, Google’s no longer looking for perfect websites and copy. It’s looking for accurate and consistent people, businesses, website owners, writers, marketers, sellers, affiliate marketers, etc.
It adjusts its algorithms based on what other web surfers like and people are not looking for perfection. There’s no such thing.
They’re looking for accurate and real.
There’s no ‘On’ and ‘Off’ Switch for SEO
I can’t emphasize this enough – there’s no on and off switch for SEO. As detailed by Dr. Peter J. Meyers of MOZ during their Whiteboard Friday online broadcast, amid this pandemic, people are worried about their budgets. They’re cutting back where they can.
But SEO should not one of them.
I think that you can ‘scale back’ or ‘slow down’ or ‘re-strategize’ your SEO marketing, but switching it off altogether can cost you a lot in the future when things change.
Some businesses may want to hop into the Paid Search immediately now since it brings in the dosh faster and the effect is immediate. But I contend that SEM and SEO are completely different monsters and we should not treat it the same.
Paid Search is simple – you pay, you get the traffic. You stop, traffic stops flowing in. Organic traffic, which is the result of SEO, is distinctive! It’s for the long haul.
The mechanics of SEO is a methodology that is slow to gain speed. When you get there, you stay there. But since it is a long haul game, you might stay there as long as your website is there and you’re still relevant in the industry.
What happens when you stop working on your SEO is that the slow decline begins when search engines detect a lack of updates or when your competitors are still working their asses off on climbing the ranks. It goes without saying…you’ll start losing ground slowly.
Like everything SEO, it’s gradual.
So, when the market and economy pick up again and you have the budget to hire freelance writers or your SEO team is ready for action again, you will likely have to start from the beginning. There’s going to be a lag.
And the danger lies in the fact that the very people who relied and counted on you will think that you’re no longer active…or worse yet, you’re gone forever.
The better idea is to think of how you want to work with others with pull marketing.
Stopping SEO Work is a Big Mistake
Ignoring SEO is one of the biggest mistakes you can make online.
Sure, Google ultimately wants your money. It wants you to pay for traffic and the more you pay, the more eyeballs you get, the better your chances of closing sales.
But SEO is not going to ‘die-off’ soon. As long as people continue to rely on the internet for information, search engines will continue to be an important component for your online marketing strategy and you should continue working your website to stay in the game.
Things will change up once in a while and we might see new stuff coming up in the future. We don’t know anything for sure unless we’re working for the search engines.
Back then, SEO was as simple as plucking a few keywords, stuffing up the website with them, producing a relatively coherent article/video/infographic/ebook and you watch the SEO ranking like a hawk.
But SEO has changed and so have I. There’s not much of a choice.
Today, there’s personalization, machine learning, E-A-T, localization, branding, competitor scouting, RankBrain, and much, much more. You’ve always got to keep your ear to the ground because this changes too often.
If you choose to focus on Paid Search, that’s fine.
But my advice is to continue working on your SEO because when things change (they’ve changed so much this year, partly due to the pandemic, I have whiplash), you’re going to have to start all over again.
And we also have to take into consideration the fact that the USERS of the internet change. The words they search up on the internet changed so much over this year alone is mind-boggling.
We can’t stay in our retro bliss of being top for keywords we want because the types of keywords our users (and competitors) are ranking for will change too.
This year (2020), consumers all around the world seem to want to have a punch in on topics related to social networks, shopping, news, and coronavirus. It backlines the kind of topic for people whose worlds are struck by a global pandemic.
That explains why some sites are throttling their way into either Google Shopping, GMB, Mobile Marketing, or Google News.
So, don’t stop doing the SEO stuff. Instead:
- Backtrack and start working on the current content
- Rework your strategy based on your industry
- Scout out your competitors (because if you stop and they don’t, they’ll overtake you in time)
- Rework the way you produce content
If you’re not convinced, here’s what happens when you stop SEO.
Your competitors will overtake you, that’s the bottom line if you stop SEO. Do it only if you don’t mind that happening.
Have a pleasant Sunday,
Stay safe, keep healthy, 👍💪😷❤️
wash your hands and sending you XOXO,