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Disadvantages of SEO – 8 Drawbacks of Higher SERP Rankings

Disadvantages of SEO - Bundle Digital


It’s no secret that SEO is a powerful digital marketing tool that can drive amazing results for SMEs. We’re certainly big fans of it here at Bundle!

However, there’s no avenue within digital marketing without its flaws. And once you’ve started to find success with your SEO campaigns, there are still things to worry about. 

While some might call these “champagne problems”, they’re still worth addressing so that you can stay on top of your SEO game. This is exactly what today’s article will cover, so without further ado, here are eight disadvantages of SEO success.


1. Algorithm updates can undo years of work

Search engines like Google are on a constant quest to provide increasingly relevant search results to their users. This means their algorithms change frequently. Most of the time, these updates are small and don’t require you to change your SEO strategy too much.

However, there have been times where an algorithm update has more or less changed the whole SEO field overnight. 

Updates like Panda and Hummingbird saw years of work from SEO experts rendered useless overnight. Websites that had first page results would suddenly be penalised for the same techniques that got them there in the first place. 

Plus, there’s no crystal ball that can tell you what kind of changes to expect to the algorithm and when they’ll take effect. It’s truly scary stuff. All you can do is keep on top of the latest trends in SEO and revise your campaigns accordingly.


2. Your competition may (and will) copy you

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But knowing this doesn’t make it sting any less when you find out your competitors are starting to rank for the same keywords you’ve found success with.

The thing is, some of the best SEO happens when you find a gap in the content in your niche online and create something great to fill it. 

But once you start ranking higher thanks to your original thinking, it’s easy for your competitors to recognise your newfound success, find this content and create something similar, or even better. 

This is why monitoring your competition and regularly optimising your SEO content is so valuable. Our SEO clients’ rankings are constantly changing as their competitors watch and imitate our content and strategies.

This can be very frustrating, especially if the competitor has a higher domain authority than our client. More than likely, this means the competitor will take the top spot on Google back and we have to adapt to beat them once again.


3. More spammy requests

With newfound success come the stragglers looking to profit off of it as well. Enter the cold emails. So many cold emails.

These can vary from pretty legit organisations to downright harmful spam, all in order to try and work with you or to sell you something. These requests can clog up your inbox and, if you’re not careful, lead you to some less than ideal situations and working relationships.

Worst case scenario, you could even fall prey to a disastrous phishing scam, so you and your team need to be able to distinguish between real and fake requests.


4. It can be hard to keep on top of new leads

Now this one’s the biggest champagne problem of them all when it comes to the disadvantages of SEO: having too many leads to know what to do with! However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be overwhelming to suddenly get lots of new leads if you don’t have the proper resources to deal with them.

This could affect your brand reputation: we’ve seen people get negative Google My Business and Trustpilot reviews as their sales team couldn’t respond to all requests and so prioritised.

It does take a good while for your SEO campaign to start to bear fruit, but once they do, you must be prepared. SEO isn’t like PPC where you can pause or cancel campaigns at any time to stop the influx of traffic, which can be a positive or a negative thing depending on how you slice it. 

It might also be the case that a good number of these new leads aren’t very high quality. This is why it’s so important to be purposeful when choosing keywords and writing SEO content – as the next item on this list showcases.


5. Ranking for the wrong keywords

If your house is built on shaky foundations, it doesn’t matter how pretty you make it – it’s still an unlivable house. The same goes for SEO: if you fail to do your initial research properly, you risk building campaigns on the wrong assumptions.

You might work on keywords that are no longer relevant to your business by the time you start ranking for them. Alternatively, you might misunderstand the search intent associated with certain keywords and target them in the wrong way. This might include keywords that are navigational and that you didn’t realise were branded.

You might also choose keywords without enough monthly searches to have much impact on your organic traffic.

Whatever the case, in the end, you may have sunk in weeks, even months of work to rank for search terms that aren’t relevant to you. As a result, your bounce rate may start to go up or you’ll have to start turning away lots of unqualified leads.


6. Falling prey to black hat SEO services

There are plenty of SEO companies out there willing to promise you the moon in order to secure your business. This includes companies willing to use shady techniques to artificially boost your website’s ranking.

Referred to as black hat SEO, these methods go against Google’s terms of service and, if your website is found using them, you’ll be penalised.

So be careful about the SEO packages you invest in. Keep in mind that no one can promise you first page results – there are simply too many variables to success for that to hold true. Promising first page results is a telltale sign that the SEO agency in question isn’t worth their salt.


7. Creating quality SEO content takes time and expertise

High-quality, SEO-friendly copywriting is a skill that takes time to master. Most small businesses simply don’t have the internal resources to create lots of SEO-friendly content on a regular basis.

On top of that, the way people use search engines is constantly evolving. For example, right now, we’re seeing a shift to search terms that are longer and more conversational. 

This is partly due to the popularisation of voice search and partly because with such an influx of new online content being published daily, people want to be as specific as possible to cut through the noise.

The way you write your website copy and blog posts has to reflect these trends and all of the other ones that emerge in this fast-changing field. That’s why getting some support from professional SEO copywriters can prove so valuable.


8. Increased bounce rate & lower conversion rate

In general, it’s easier to rank for informational queries than search terms that are purchase-oriented ones. What this means is that once you start ranking for informational keywords, you may see your bounce rate going up. 

This is because your website visitors aren’t far enough in their buyer’s journey to make a purchase quite yet as they’re still researching their options. For the same reason, your conversion rate can also take a hit temporarily.

In order to combat this, make sure your content is good enough for people to come back to you again and again. PPC retargeting campaigns can help your leads to remember you once they’re ready to make a purchase.


What we do as an SEO agency

While all of the above is true, SEO is still one of the best ways for SMEs to raise their profile online and capture new leads. You just have to make sure you have the right support by your side.

Enter Bundle Digital. Our highly customisable SEO packages help you to shine brighter online. And with our complementing SEO copywriting service, you can drive lasting change to not only your SEO but also the way people perceive your brand.