Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What is outsourcing SEO?
- 3 Pro’s of outsourcing SEO
- 4 Con’s of outsourcing SEO
- 5 Bonus – 6 crucial questions to ask before outsourcing SEO
- 5.1 1. How do you measure the performance of your SEO work?
- 5.2 2. How do you decide which keywords/ search query to focus on?
- 5.3 3. How do you integrate the SEO with other marketing strategies/ campaigns?
- 5.4 4. How do you create content for the search optimisation?
- 5.5 5. What is your approach to getting more backlinks?
- 5.6 6. After the initial setup – what is included in your your month-to-month service?
- 6 Final thoughts
If you run a small to medium sized business you might spend a lot of time and money on online marketing and SEO. Because of the size of the business the budgets can be tight, compared to big corporations and companies. Whether you run an e-commerce store, physical store / shop, a SAAS business, an agency or anything else, you might have heard about SEO (search engine optimisation).
Depending on your skills, expertise and experience you might know a lot about SEO or you might know only a little, but either way you know that SEO take a lot of time. When you’re considering to outsource the SEO of your business there are some things you need to keep in mind before taking a decision.
SEO can be time consuming, confusing to understand, takes a lot of effort to keep up-to-date with the algorithms and can cost you a lot of money (for backlinks, technical optimisation etc).
I’ve compiled 8 tips divided into pro’s and con’s of outsourcing SEO below, I hope this can help you to make the right decision for your company or future company.
What is outsourcing SEO?
Outsourcing SEO is when you have decided to pay another business / agency to do all of your SEO work both On-page and off-page. This could also be a freelancer, but for the most businesses this would be an agency doing the SEO work. If don’t want to do the SEO yourself and doesn’t want to hire someone in-house, this is your what you need to think about.
Generally speaking you have 2 options for outsourcing:
- Finding a solo freelancer
- Finding a good agency
Pro’s of outsourcing SEO
1. Opportunity cost
Whether you run a newly started business, a small-medium sized or big company, you always want to compare your tasks and work-flow with your opportunity-cost. The cost of doing something else in your business.
Let’s say you spend 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week on SEO work only. What would you be able to do instead of SEO, if you had 5 more hours a week to do other important things in your business (sales, marketing, customer service, strategic thoughts etc).
SEO has a steep learning curve, and need a lot of attention if you want to do it right. This means that if you aren’t good at SEO, you will also waste your time, which could potentially have big negative impact on your business.
When outsourcing you don’t have to care about anything of the things mentioned above, and you and your employees have time to other tasks in the business.
Always think about the workflow and tasks you do, and try to prioritise these so you only spend time on the things that actually matters. Also, for most small business it’s about sales and revenue, that’s often the most crucial part.
When you’re hiring an agency you will be able to get instant expertise and knowhow. They’re up-2-date with the latest changes within the SEO world (hopefully) and will be able to get results a lot faster than yourself. You don’t have to worry about if you’re doing it right, how to do backlinks etc. SEO is a sophisticated, quickly developing profession.
Also most agencies can also incorporate their work with your other marketing campaigns so everything will be work together. If you have a lot of engagement and traffic from social media channels, you might be able to provide a lot of social signals to your content and website to increase your SEO even more.
Have a strategy talk with the agencies you’re thinking to work with and compare their skills, references, their proposal, how they want to implement the changes in your business and of course the price.
3. Solid long-term solution
If you choose to hire an external agency to do your search engine marketing, and you find the right partner, you’ll often be able to get a solid long-term relationship. Sometimes you’ll be able to grow organically just because of the increase rankings on Google and Bing, and therefore have everything regarded search engines handled by the agency.
Once the solution is setup and you’re happy about the solution you won’t have to do anything or spend any more time on the contract. You’ll just have to keep up with the monthly/ weekly updates from the agency, where they often show you increase/decrease in rankings and whatever else changed.
4. Frees up more time to other tasks
When you’re hiring an agency you’ll frees up a lot time for yourself or your employee who work with SEO. You will now have time to do a lot of other important or even more important stuff, and also do what you’re good at, and not what you’re forced to do (for some people and businesses at least).
Con’s of outsourcing SEO
1. Might be expensive
When you outsource your SEO it can sometimes be expensive. However keep in mind, when I write “outsource” i’m not talking about finding a Fiverr gig to do your SEO, but a real, solid, legit agency who works with SEO and digital marketing and know what they’re doing. I’m not saying Fiverr, Konker or similar services can’t be good, but I won’t recommend any of them, if we’re talking serious SEO.
I’m just honest, and I know their strategies and how they work with their “clients”, and you won’t get any good results. They use blackhat methods (methods trying to trick Google, and you’ll then get a big penalty by Google later on) instead of doing real, long-term and legit SEO on-page and off-page SEO work.
We only do white-hat SEO ourself and we know that search engine marketing and search engine optimisation requires a lot of time, energy and skills in order to get the right results.
Even though an agency might be expensive, this can be a good fit for you, as long as they can deliver more value than they cost you. Just remember that SEO is a long-term game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Try to get in contact with 2-5 different companies and find someone you like and trust, and make a solid plan that will fit your company. Both in terms of skills, personal match and pricing.
However it will always be more pricy to pay someone else to do the job, than doing it in-house. You’ll have to decide if they can match their price with their skills and knowhow.
2. You don’t have full control
If you decide to outsource you won’t be able to have full control of the work. This is maybe obvious to also important to keep in mind. When outsourcing anything in your business you won’t have full control of their work, what they do, how they do it etc. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you won’t be able to check on daily basis what the team is doing.
This means you have to pick a company that you trust, which can work on behalf of your business, and the goals and objectives you have agreed to.
3. Not all SEO companies got the expertise and finesse
Unfortunately not all SEO companies have the right skill-level to do SEO. Some of them just have a fancy website or a good salesman but aren’t really good at search engine marketing. The problem with this is that you need to differentiate between them yourself. There are 1000’s of companies doing this, both in India, Europe, North America and basically all other continents as well.
This is also the reason why we don’t recommend outsourcing this kind of work to cheap solutions. It can actually be difficult to differentiate the horrible ones from the decent and good ones, because they might be good at telling you what you want to hear.
Of course there are bigger agencies who master the SEO skills fully, but the big companies are also very expensive and might not have the solution you’re looking for. Therefore try to find a small to medium sized company, that also understand that you might be on a budget, and need to get some value for your money.
4. Cultural barriers
Cultural barriers is mostly just a problem if you outsource overseas. Even though the globalisation of the internet have done wonders for most businesses, this also means that a lot of new countries will be able to work together. Unfortunately, differences in cultures can lead to certain problems. SEO businesses aren’t any different.
Despite the SEO industry is more high-tech than a lot of other industries, this may still lead to additional tension.
Nonetheless over time, we expect this difference in understanding, expectation, language etc. will get smaller and smaller and leave less domestic traces. This is important to consider if you choose to outsource your SEO to foreign countries.
Bonus – 6 crucial questions to ask before outsourcing SEO
1. How do you measure the performance of your SEO work?
You want to both measure the difference in organic rankings, but also the metrics that really matters, which is often amount of leads, sales, phone calls etc. When you get your monthly/ weekly report, make sure they focus on both getting your some good rankings but also rankings that will actually generate some revenue for your business.
2. How do you decide which keywords/ search query to focus on?
For this part you’re looking for an agency that are doing a serious and throughout analysis of both your website and your competitors as well as the industry in order to evaluate and select the right keywords. Companies that mention testing terms to determine which will generate best results get extra credit.
3. How do you integrate the SEO with other marketing strategies/ campaigns?
You want to work with a company that know, what SEO is a part of online marketing, but not the only thing. It has to be a natural part of your marketing strategy and not work in a isolated vacuum. You want to work with a company that understand that understand your business and the other marketing initiatives you do.
4. How do you create content for the search optimisation?
Make sure the SEO agency you’re working with creates good, solid, human-made content that are correctly optimised for both title-tags, meta-description etc. If the agency have dedicated copywriters for this task, that will get extra credit. Also make sure they include multimedia (photos, screenshots, video, infographics etc) to maximise the SEO performance of the content.
This is a crucial part of the SEO strategy for the company. Many companies market themselves as the best SEO agency because they can give you X amount of backlinks for only X amount of money. If they write or talk about such things, changes are they aren’t good at providing solid backlinks, but rather provide something spammy, low quality backlinks.
6. After the initial setup – what is included in your your month-to-month service?
Many SEO companies invest a lot of effort into creating a good-looking 60 days schedule for their SEO services, so it’s look like they’re going to do work hard on your site. Just bare in mind that a lot these things might be 1-time setups such as keywords research, establish reports, setup tracking etc. Once this is done you don’t have to spend time on these things the months to come.
Some firms might work very little after the initial setup and content created, but still charge you the full price. Make sure to know what they do to improve the campaign on an on-going basis, month by month. If they can’t report exactly what they do to acquire new backlinks, improve your on-page etc. then they aren’t good enough and you shouldn’t bother working with them.
Proficient SEO experts can be a great long-term investment if done right and can definitely also save you a lot of headaches. At this point you know that SEO is important for your business and you know it’s time consuming, but make sure you hire the right guy to do it, if you decide not to outsource it. This also depends on your own know-how of search engine marketing and if you’re able to monitor and measure it correctly.
If you’re going to outsource everything regarding SEO, and follow the step and tips mentioned above, you’ll be ready to go. This is what we recommend to everyone we know, and everyone we work with regarding SEO and digital marketing.
I hope you find this post helpful and that we can helpful making the right decision. We’ll appreciate if you share this with anyone you think could benefit from this information.
You can learn more about search engine optimisation on our blog here.