The most unfortunate thing about SEO is that it is unpredictable, fickle and frustrating as hell…
First time around not everyone will have a good experience. Their taste for SEO will bitter and, understandably, they swear off SEO forever.
SEO can also take one heck of a long time, with noticeable changes being sporadic and unpredictable. I was about to start telling you about a client who, after 4 months, was getting frustrated with a lack of improvements. As luck would have it, a quick rank check showed that all of a sudden rankings have improved drastically across the board.
I guess good news tells the story just as well as bad news, the point being that things can appear to be entirely stagnant, and all of a sudden something will change….
If somebody bails from SEO before the sudden, seemingly random positive results, they may never see those improvements. The reason being, if you stop SEO at any point, there is a generally slow but definite negative trend in rankings and traffic.
In other cases on a relatively new SEO campaign (less than 18 months old) stopping SEO can cause your rankings and traffic to absolutely plummet. This depends somewhat on the SEO techniques employed, but the only difference this will have is the rate of decline. Often the fastest methods for being ranked, are also the methods which fall the hardest if discontinued.
A prime example is that of self proclaimed "SEO Expert" Mark Attwood and the story behind his apparent success (which ended in administration to the tune of over -£1mil) who’s company "TopSkips", a brokerage model business run on 50% SEO traffic, 50% PPC traffic (unprofitably) used to be #1 in the UK for the popular term "Skip Hire" – when I left the company, the rankings of "TopSkips" and associated companies slowly fell. The volume and quality of the SEO on Mark’s companies decreased so drastically that is was no longer sufficient to keep up with the competition and positions were lost, including the #1 for "Skip Hire".
The number of indexed pages on "TopSkips" fell to 10% (from approx 100,000 to about 10,000) within a few months and an absurdly large number of SEO rankings have been lost.
I’ve seen it too often where a company invests in SEO for a short period of time (less than 18 months) and decides (prematurely) not to continue. Instead of continual improvement the initial SEO is lost to the wind within a few months.
Possibly the single biggest key to SEO success is continual improvement, both of a website, and of the backlink profile to the website. If instead of improving you are regressing, this will be reflected in the search rankings, traffic and profitability.
SEO is a long hard road, stick with it and don’t give up.